Over three months ago I began regularly replacing my caffè latte intake with matcha lattes. No, matcha is not made in the USA ;( Many have asked me what is so great about the matcha latte, and where to buy a cup in NYC.
Matcha itself is a special variety of green tea that is grown in the shade in Japan. Once picked, the leaves are pulverized so you ingest 100% of the tea leaf's nutrients. A matcha latte is a mixture of matcha tea along with foamed milk, or milk substitute.
The biggest difference in matcha versus coffee is the content and reaction of caffeine. Coffee is known to give people a big burst of energy and also spike in adrenaline glucose and insulin levels, which can cause the jitters, nervousness, and hunger pains for some. The leftover feeling is known as a 'coffee crash'. In a matcha, there is 1/2 the amount of caffeine, but the release is slow, lasting about three hours. Matcha gives you a sense of calm, alertness and also satiates you. When caffeine from a matcha exits your body, it calmly does so.
EGCG is a natural occurring compound that acts as an antioxidant. Green tea, and matcha in particular, is so high in EGCG it has been deemed an antioxidant powerhouse. Antioxidants are the body's defense agents and the more you have, the better your body is able to fight infection, fight disease, prevent chronic diseases and prevent aging. Researchers continue to study the antioxidants inside matcha, which they believe provide cancer-fighting properties, lower the risk of cancer, help to restore the effects of free radicals from: pollution; UV rays; radiation; and chemicals, which can lead to cell and DNA damage. (Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) Is the Most Effective Cancer Chemopreventive Polyphenol in Green Tea from National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine).
In addition to the health benefits above, matcha:
- Boosts metabolism and burns calories
- Detoxifies effectively and naturally
- Calms the mind and relaxes the body
- Is rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins
- Enhances mood and aids in concentration
- Provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium
- Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
- Doesn't stain teeth; in fact stops plaque causing bacteria
The only issue with drinking matcha instead of coffee is that it isn't as ubiquitous as coffee. Coffee is not something that you need to PLAN to drink. Coffee is spontaneous, "want to grab a coffee?". Matcha requires planning and potentially a slight detour so you won't be stuck caffeine-less.
Interested in making the swap? Know of a great place to get a matcha latte? Either way, check out the list below and tell us what you think of any you've tried or if we need to add someplace the list! In order of location: Northern to Southern Manhattan, onto Brooklyn:
Where: Bibble and Sip
Location: Midtown West, Manhattan: 253 W 51st Street at 8th Ave
Hours: Weekdays, 7:30a-8p and Weekends, 10a-8p
Why: Wow, The perfect Matcha Latte! Zero tea sludge, beautiful foam, pretty drink and overall clean, delicious taste that is not sweet. Seating lines the cafe so you may thoroughly enjoy your Matcha experience along with freshly made bakery treats.
Location: Midtown, Manhattan: 8 E 41st St between 5th and Madison
Hours: Monday-Friday 7a-7p, Saturday, 9a-7p, Sunday, Closed
Why: Pretty matcha served in a minimalist clean, zenlike, modern cafe. Not sweet, good foam. This place is like a sanctuary in the middle of the busiest parts of town.
Where: Perpetuum Cafe
Location: Chelsea, Manhattan: 124 W 25th Street, between 6th + 7th
Hours: Weekdays: 7a-7p and Weekends: 9a-6p
Why: This off the beaten track coffee shop makes a decent Matcha Latte! The first few sips are a bit powdery, but get past that and it's smooth sailing. Drinks are served with pretty foam toppings and the coffee shop itself has a line of tables for a comfortable stay.
Location: Midtown, Manhattan: 1216 Broadway, between 29th and 30th
Hours: Weekdays, 7:30am-6pm and Weekends 9am-4pm
Why: Maybe CHALAIT's original West Village location was influencing my ranking here, but their newly opened Nomad location didn't live up to their original space. The matcha was great and worthy of a return, but I am eagerly awaiting their Chelsea Market opening. As an aside, yummy gluten-free, vegan, unsulfured, organic and raw treats available.
Where: MatchaBar Chelsea
Location: Chelsea, Manhattan: 256 W 15th Street between 7th Ave and 8th Ave
Hours: Weekdays, 8a-7p Weekends, 10a-7p
Why: This is a delicious matcha served in a quaint little cafe space, serious about their matcha! No sweetness and very little foam. You can expect ZERO sludge. It's almost a shame to order a matcha here to go; this space was created to worship the matcha you are drinking!
Where: Le Cafe Coffee
Location: Flatiron, Manhattan: 7 e 14th Street, University Pl + 5th Ave
Hours: Monday-Friday 7-8:30p, Saturday 8a-9p and Sunday 8a-8p
Why: A great place to get a matcha to go, with the added benefit of having a few seats in the case you'd prefer to sit down...which is recommended since they make such a pretty latte ;)
Where: O Cafe
Location: West Village, Manhattan: 482 6th Ave between 11th and 12th
Hours: Daily, 7a-8:30p
Why: Charming cafe makes a nice matcha poured carefully by busy staff. Baked goods and light fare are organic and sustainably. We have a special place in our heart for O Cafe because they go out of their way to buy local and support small farms.
Where: Cha Cha Matcha
Location: Nolita, Manhattan: 377 Broome Street, between Mulberry and Mott
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8a-7p and Saturday-Sunday, 9a-8p
Why: If you want to feel like you are drinking matcha while partying on the beach, this is your destination. Personally, I like a more low-key ambiance, but it is definitely fun people watching here. The matcha is of good quality and you can even have a soft serve ice cream here!
Where: Smile Cafe
Location: Tribeca, Manhattan: 177 Franklin St between Greenwich St + Hudson St
Hours: Monday-Friday, 7a-7p, Saturday 8a-7p + Sunday 8a-6p
Why: Smile Cafe is located inside, at the entrance of, the Shinola store. The ambiance feels like that of a cozy lobby to an old men's saloon. The food is top-notch and their matcha latte is not half bad. Better on some days than others, depending on the barista.
Where: Bluestone Lane
Location: West Village, Manhattan: 30 Carmine St between Bedford St and Bleecker St
Hours: Daily, 8a-6p
Why: The matcha is delicious and the space pretty, but it's not the type of place to only order a drink and pastry. Come here when you are hungry for brekkie! This Australian run cafe perfectly combines a sense of modern aesthetics and green living.
Location: East Village, Manhattan: 233 E 4th Street, between Ave A + Ave B
Hours: Weekdays, 7:30a-7p Saturday 8:30a-7p + Sunday 9a-6p
Why: Feel like you've walked into a bygone teahouse in Japan's countryside. This charming little hole in the wall serves up a heck of a matcha. If you are indeed going out of your way for this carefully brewed matcha, beware that there is nowhere to sit inside.
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn: 45 S. 3rd Street between Wyethe and Kent
Hours: Thursday-Saturday: 7a-4a and Sunday-Wednesday: 7a-2a
Why: This place has a hard time getting anything wrong and when they added matcha latte to the list, they made sure to do it RIGHT. Perfect consistency, not sweet, and beautifully served. It can have a bit of tea powder at the beginning of the drink and sludge at the tail end, for the eight.
Where: MatchaBar, Williamsburg
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn: 93 Wythe Ave between N 10 + N 11
Hours: Weekdays, 8a-7p and Weekends, 10a-7p
Why: Beautiful space, beautiful drinks, friendly quick service, lots of variety, delicious taste...all to perfection. Cold, hot, espresso, lattes, green cappuccinos, macchiato, even a flat green! Again, this place was made to sit and thoroughly enjoy your matcha.
Where: Serita Coffee
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 189 Roebling ar S. 1st
Hours: Daily, 8a-6p
Why: Sweet, gem of a coffee bar, which should really be called a matcha bar. Cozy little space, with standing room only at the bar. For those who prefer it pre-sweetened, Serita makes Matcha to perfection. There is zero sludge and a delicious, high quality matcha taste. It would be lovely if Serita added a couple of barstools for cold or wet patrons.
Where: Black Star Cafe
Location: East Williamsburg, Brooklyn: 595 Metropolitan Av, between Lorimer + Leonard
Hours: Monday-Friday 7a-8p + Saturday-Sunday 8a-8p
Why: A solid matcha latte here in a pretty bright space. Baked goods and light fare available in a comfortable sit-down cafe.
Where: Brooklyn Ball Factory
Location: East Williamsburg, Brooklyn: 95 Montrose Ave between Leonard + Manhattan
Hours: Daily, 8a-5p
Why: Brooklyn Ball Factory has a nice space, although they removed their back room, much to our chagrin. The outdoor roof is still available during warm weather. Another authentic Japanese establishment where you can rely on beautiful foam, a bit on the sweet side...which i have sort of grown accustomed as something different. Baked treats and Japanese eats are available here too.
Where: Mountain Province
Location: East Williamsburg, Brooklyn: 9 Meserole St between Union and Lorimer
Hours: Weekdays, 7a-7p and Weekends 8a-6p
Why: This tiny cafe reminiscent of your grandmother's kitchen, makes a slightly sweet matcha latte. There are small tables, which are often filled with laptop workers. As an aside, coffee is organic and fair trade.
Where: Dun-Well Doughnuts
Location: Bushwick, Brooklyn: 222 Montrose Ave between Humboldt and Bushwick Ave
Hours: Weekdays, 7a-7p and Weekends 8a-7p
Why: The taste of this matcha is is okay, but it can be very clumpy! The low-key interior is large and open for sitting and enjoying your food and drink, but bottom line, stick to the doughnuts!
Where: Littleneck Outpost
Location: Greenpoint, Brooklyn: 128 Franklin Street at Milton Street
Hours: Every day: 8a-7p
Why: Can't say matcha is the specialty at this sweet little cafe and clam shack in progressive Greenpoint. It will satisfy the craving and at this point there aren't many other choices if you're in the area.
Where: Maison May Vanderbilt
Location: Clinton Hill, Brooklyn: 270 Vanderbilt Ave between Dekalb and Lafayette
Hours: Every day, 8a-6p
Why: The matcha latte in-house can be delicious, but is not always consistent. To go, as is often the case, it has been just okay. The space itself is beautiful and Maison May is one of the pioneers of inclusive tipping in NYC.
Bonus: Ogawa Coffeehouse is not in NYC, but they make a top rated matcha latte! If you are in Boston, take a detour you won't regret to 10 Milk Street to this Japanese Cafe for a delicious, beautiful matcha latte.
And for Matcha Tea at home, there is only one choice: Harney and Sons of course. If you are in NYC, visit their showroom and teahouse at 433 Broome Street.
wallpaper at MatchaBar, Williamsburg