Matcha lattes aren't exactly new. But in 2018, at least while we're all gung ho on our resolutions, this healthy green drink is the new coffee.
And the new ice cream. And scone. And croissant. And frappe.
Unless you've been hiding in some South American cave system, you're probably aware of matcha tea's recent rocket into the cultural mainstream. Its pretty green hue makes it a no-brainer for style-y Instagramers, but matcha is also damn tasty and good for you, too. Who can turn down a refreshing beverage that's also packed with antioxidants, boosts metabolism, detoxifies, and helps you feel more calm and concentrated?
So ditch the brown stuff and add a pop of color to your day with one of our favorite matcha tea concoctions in San Francisco.
Matcha Café Maiko
Serving green-hued soft serve, frappes, as well as a selection of more traditional teas, Matcha Café Maiko is the city's first café dedicated to the powdered green tea. But a trip to Japantown's newest IG hot spot isn't complete without ordering its signature dish: a matcha soft serve parfait, layered with basically everything you could ever want—choose from plant-based jelly, Japanese brown sugar syrup, corn flakes, red beans, homemade matcha chiffon cake, mochi balls, and chestnuts. // 1581 Webster St., Unit #175 (Japantown), matchacafe-maiko.com
It hasn't even opened its Valencia Street doors, but Stonemill Matcha is already stirring up a buzz on Instagram. Soon to be SF's second matcha specialty shop, Stonemill plans to serve "elevated Japanese comfort food" (like a katsu sandwich) and pastries—including matcha scones and, if @tartinebaker doesn't lie, special Tartine matcha croissants—to pair with a plethora of matcha drinks, from traditional whisked matcha to sparkling matcha and cold-brew Genmaicha on tap. The café will also double as a retail store, selling ceramics from Japanese and San Francisco artists and matcha-related products to take home. // Opening in May 2018; 561 Valencia St. (Mission), stonemillmatcha.com
Asha Tea House
Asha Tea House is a meeting point of east and west, adamant on steeping the tea drinking culture of East Asia into the souls of San Franciscans. Their stone-ground matcha is sourced straight from the nitrogen-rich plantations of coastal Japan and is offered as a latte, a Matchaspresso and, deliciously, as an affogato with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. // 17 Kearny St. (FiDi), ashateahouse.com
The patios and sipping rooms of the city's Samovar Tea Lounges are ever among our happy places. And while many of us frequently default to the spicy organic chais and peppery turmeric lattes, the shade-grown matcha latte is smoother than some of the more robust sun-grown varietals out there. Order it up with steamed almond milk for a mellow, dairy-free treat. // 411 Valencia St. (SoMa) and 730 Howard St. (Mission), samavortea.com
This unassuming tea house is favorite among those who know it, with a minimalist white interior and a tea-slash-coffee menu. Matcha enthusiasts with a taste for flair can order up an iced matcha latte with tapioca, which is similar to your beloved boba but has a texture and flavor all of its own. // 3157 Geary Blvd. (Inner Richmond), fiftyfiftysf.com
Where soothing Wine Country meets the city, Farm:Table offers an ever-changing chalkboard of menu selections. The matcha chai tea latte is a house regular, combining the strong Indian spices of masala chai with the singular flavor notes of matcha to create a crossover drink that'll have you buzzing till dinner. // 754 Post St. (TenderNob), farmtablesf.com
You know it, you love it, and you just can't get enough—at least that's the message we get when the line wraps around the corner at Boba Guys. Here, the organic matcha teas are combined with Straus Family Creamery milk (or you can go crazy and ask for oat milk), housemade syrup and, of course, boba. Boba Guys also serves a matcha affogato at its Hayes Valley and Union Square stores. // Various Bay Area locations, bobaguys.com
*This article has been updated since it was originally published in January 2018.