The green tea powder has been used for centuries in Japan thanks to its health benefits and unique grassy flavor, and Bay Area restaurants, bars and pastry shops are taking notice.
Thanks to excellent roasting companies like Blue Bottle and Sightglass, the artisanal coffee movement isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But teahouses, like the beautiful Samovar Tea (with four locations and counting), are bringing tea back into the Bay Area consciousness–particularly the Japanese green tea powder matcha. Sold in bright green powdered form, matcha is rich in antioxidants and fiber and is traditionally whisked with hot water to make a rich, satisfying tea. Chefs and mixologists are taking note of matcha's herbal, umami-packed flavor, and using it as an ingredient in pastries and cocktails. We rounded up best places to try matcha in the Bay:
1. Matcha Latte at Samovar Tea: try with almond milk for a super creamy alternative to your morning coffee.
2. Green Tea Ice Cream at Cream Nation: stick with a traditional cone, or make an ice cream sandwich with nine different types of cookies (we like white chocolate and macadamia nut.)
3. Matcha Snickerdoodle at Craftsman & Wolves: perfect with a cup of tea for an afternoon snack.
4. BK Cocktail at Chino: this new dumpling-centric restaurant from the owners of Tacolicious also happens to have a great bar program–the refreshing BK Cocktail includes shiso-infused gin, matcha and lime.
5. The Matcha Russian at Ginto: the newly-opened izakaya has an extensive menu of sushi, yakitori and noodles, but the well-balanced cocktails (like this riff on the classic White Russian) make it worth stopping in just for drinks.
6. Matcha Cream Puff at Sweetmue: a classically-trained pastry chefs turns out stunning French pastries with an Asian twist, like perfectly cooked pâte au choux with matcha pastry cream.
7. Grass Cutter at Ramen Shop: though cocktails are a recent addition to this Oakland gem, bartender Chris Lane is already making waves with his excellent highballs–this one includes St. George Spirits shochu, gin, lemon, vanilla, orgeat and matcha.