If the latest technicolor pick-me-up from Starbucks isn’t doing it for you, maybe you should meet matcha: the Japanese-style finely-ground green tea powder with the same ability to punch up your Instagram feed.
Matcha green tea is a fragrant and appealingly verdant drink prized for its EGCG antioxidant capacity, which has been linked to fighting cancer, viruses, and heart disease. Made from whole green tea leaves, matcha carries significantly greater levels of antioxidants per serving than typical green tea. Because matcha is partially shade-grown, the Camellia sinensis plant produces more theanine and caffeine, which many believe account for the calm energy people often feel from drinking matcha, making it the perfect transition from coffee.
Though many of the health benefits are diluted when matcha is prepared as a latte or ice cream as opposed to a properly-brewed tea, its distinctive flavor adds a depth to everything from scones to cream puffs. Want to try the vibrant drink? Check out the hottest matcha spots in the tristate area below.
Cha Cha Matcha – New York, NY
This Nolita-based matcha-themed cafe is the perfect gateway into the world. While its trendy pink decor will draw you in, its treats ranging from soft serve to doughssants will keep you coming. Other highlights include matcha lemonade, iced matcha coconut lattes, and hot drinks like matcha red bean lattes.
Ippodo Tea Co. – New York, NY
With a history spanning three centuries, the Ippodo Tea Company of Kyoto is a renowned purveyor of high quality green tea, and New Yorkers are lucky to have their first international shop within reach. At Ippodo, tea (sencha, gyokuro, and thick matcha, among others) isn’t just a beverage, but an experience to be cherished and enjoyed.
MatchaBar – New York, NY
Owners Max and Graham Fortgang were really ahead of the curve when they opened New York’s first matcha-themed cafe. Their imported matcha is perfect for iced drinks and lattes and now they’ve dedicated themselves to making the drink available on-the-go with its bottled matcha line available online and at Whole Foods.
Mitsuwa – Edgewater, NJ
While you’re on the hunt for matcha, why not make a trip of it and head to the Japanese supermarket? You can check out Matcha Love or any of the authentic culinary and ceremony-grade matcha Mitsuwa stocks on its shelves so you can experiment with the flavor yourself. And since you’re already there, be sure to grab a bowl of ramen, browse the impressive candy selection, or pick up a pastry from Kobe Fugetsudo or Minamoto Kitchoan almost too beautiful to eat.
Featured image via MatchaBar Facebook; ChaChaMatcha.com