The Master Matcha Guide: How This Powerful Green Powder Gained Its Grassy Roots In Bay Area Food
When I was first introduced to the world of matcha green tea, I was taken aback. A caffeinated beverage that didn't stir up my overly active heart and made me feel incredibly zen—it was a whole new world for sure.
Enter Wenter Shyu: co-founder of Bay Area's favorite Mochi Muffin and Third Culture Bakery. A savant in his own right, Wenter feels deeply for the topic of matcha. From sourcing, to whisking, to serving—he takes the proper steps to ensure knowledge and execution across the board. In fact, he instilled these qualities onto me when I guest barista'd at the brand's first dedicated San Francisco pop-up. So when I approached Wenter about this guide, he was thrilled to pass along the knowledge to our progressive and highly educated readers. So without further ado, take it away Wenter.
Matcha. You’ve either heard about it or you’re obsessed with it. It’s gained momentum in the food (and now beauty) world in recent times for its bright green hue in food and drinks and got all the insta-fluencers ga-ga/gagged/clawing for likes.
But matcha goes way beyond its color—It’s super rich in antioxidants (137 times more, to be exact, than regular green tea), it will give you a nice caffeine kick but not the jitters, and it’s even got an amino acid called L-Theanine that gives you a sense of calm and stillness. Calm and stillness? I’ll take a few gallons to-go, please.
Whether you like yours as a latte with milk, with a shot of espresso, or straight up, here’s a round of up 30 matcha spots, things, and eats you need to visit.
A well-curated store on Guerrero, the team over at Dolores Outpost are keeping the curated Japanese feel very tight and not too contrived. Lead mixologist Ali Haji has brought together classic cocktails into the matcha realm. Try and experience the Matcha Colada—with a coconut lychee syrup, Matcha Mule—with a ginger shiso syrup, garnished with candied ginger, and the Matcha Sunset—a play on the tequila sunset with sparkling pineapple! // 698 Guerrero St, Mission, facebook.com. —WS
Their matcha plover drink is the sparkling fizzy matcha cream soda you didn’t know you were missing. Andytown has been a fireball coffee roaster slowly taking over the caffeinated scene in San Francisco. // 3655 Lawton St, Outer Sunset, andytownsf.com. —WS
BOBA GUYS FILLMORE
Matcha soft serve, guys did you hear us? Matcha soft serve, though this is only served at their Fillmore location. It comes with (or swapped with) charcoal bits, strawberry sauce, or boba itself. Get swirly. // 1522 Fillmore St, Western Addition, bobaguys.com. —WS
A legend in the SF natural skincare scene, Cocokind's MyMatcha stick has taken the beauty enthusiasts by storm. The MYMATCHA All-Over Moisture Stick helps rejuvenate dry spots, protect skin from free radical damage, and moisturize skin all day long. Best for those on the go. // cocokind.com. —AR
When you can’t make it to out to the sunset, this tiny little gem serves Andytown’s famous Matcha Plover alongside Japanese goodies and treats, also same owners as Dolores Outpost. // 499 Douglass St, Noe Valley, neighborscornersf.com. —WS
Their Matcha Americano is for matcha purists to enjoy hot or on the rocks. Those who want to avoid milk at all costs should move in their direction. // 329 W Portal Ave, West Portal, ballastcoffee.com —WS
Their matcha gold ice cream is bomb.com and locally-made daily, you can patiently wait in their line to snag yourself a cone, bowl, or a churro. // 3566 20th St, Mission, gardencreamery.com. —WS
Their matcha strawberry toast is good for your soul and your Insta. Well, everything they have you, could possibly eat, is Instagrammable. Boasting two locations with the most picturesque eats, you will be satiated. Period. // 1222 Noriega St, Sunset, home-cafe.cafes-city.com. —WS
A rare place to get a traditional bowl of ceremonial matcha straight up or on the rocks! Owner Ali is an overall bad-ass tea cultivator that rides motorcycles from tea farm to tea farm all over Asia and tends to her chickens Goldie Hen and Hen Solo. // 1200 Tenth Street, Berkeley, bluewillowtea.com. —WS
ASHA TEA HOUSE
Their matcha lattes are a staple and even their matcha affagato has gotten the East Bay peeps are riled up. Their Berkeley location is also a staple in a sense of homebaseness and where the roots began. // 2086 University Ave, Berkeley, ashateahouse.com. —WS
Matcha egg-waffle and ice cream combos in this adorably tiny shop have campus students clamoring for more. The team is committed to bring egg waffles originated from Hong Kong to the Berkeley community with a modern twist, while using their authentic recipes. // 139 Berkeley Square, Berkeley, gadanicafe.com. —WS
THIRD CULTURE BAKERY
The mavens of matcha and also Bob Cut's close judys, TCB originates deliciously photo ready treats to a number of SF, East Bay, South Bay eaters. The TCB crew have quietly opened a matcha tasting room in Berkeley, open only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.—3 p.m., with grab and go pastries and matcha drinks. // 2701 Eighth street #101, Berkeley, thirdculturebakery.com. —WS & AR
The only cannabis brand infusing matcha into their story, a trailblazer to cannabis, Get Sava has taken new heights with their KIVA PETRA MINTS. At 2.5 MG THC per mint, Petra gives you the ability to titrate your dose in precise increments. This accuracy allow you to integrate Petra more easily into your active lifestyle. // getsava.com
A classic juice shop that trancended just the liquid gold, Urban Remedy has adopted all parts of a well-rounded diet into ones life. Their Matcha Energy Bar: a Paleo, plant-based protein bar that doubles as a Matcha green tea energy boost to keep you going throughout the day. // urbanremedy.com
THE TASTE OF TEA
Operating as both a spa and tea house, the Taste of Tea team combines the nutritional facts with the science to back it up. And let us tell you, their matcha list for both spa and tea house are heavily filled with all our matcha needs. Ranging from ailments to cleanses, you can easy tailor your lifestyle with the Healdsburg location. // 109 North Street, Healdsburg, thetasteoftea.com. —AR
A north bay institution, Acre Coffee serves a calming, warm cup of matcha in latte form. You can easily adjust your sweetness with the honey they have at their self-serve bar so no need to feel boxed in. // Multiple locations, acrecoffee.com. —AR
RETROGRADE COFFEE ROASTERS
Serving up their version of a matcha latte, expect to drink a Japanese stone-ground green tea powder, served with steamed milk and optional sweetener. The couple of the small roaster have been working in the specialty coffee industry for over 12 years, perfecting their craft by learning from flagship companies and other small local cafes and coffee shops. // 130 South Main Street, 103, Sebastopol, retrograderoasters.com. —AR
The Key Tea team has always been excited to bring kava, local herbs, raw and vegan treats, and weekly community gatherings to the lovely people of Marin County. Their own matcha latte is the industry standard but offered with their OWN almond milk made in-house. Now that's pretty freaking sweet. // 921 C St, San Rafael, keyteahouse.com. —AR
Wanted to reinvent the way you do toast at home? SHED Cafe, of course, has the answer. Their collab with Craftsmen and Wolves' Matcha Milk Jam is the new wave of Avocado Toasts past. Spread on a toasted baguette with a pinch of salt, you have the go-to sweet fix of Craftsman & Wolves’ own chef. Each batch is made from local Strauss milk, cooked together with pure sugar and best-quality matcha tea until thick and creamy. // healdsburgshed.com. —AR
Now that the warmer days are coming forth in the South Bay, cold sweet treats are definitely in order. Creme Brewlee's matcha gelato is seriously one for the books. Imagine the Italian way of making gelato mixed with patience of whisking Japanese matcha. Go get your yum. // 2948 S Norfolk St, San Mateo, cremebrewlee.com. —AR
MINTS & HONEY
If aesthetics could kill, Mints & Honey would be on point. For drinks, aside from the coffee definitely go with the cold matcha mango, it's the perfect combo and of course aesthetically beautiful. Like Instagram worthy. // 1524 El Camino Real, San Carlos, mintsandhoney.com. —LN
The popularity of rolled ice cream is sincerely a treat. A true statement to deliciousness and the ICICLES team nailed it with their humbly named Gotcha' Matcha rolled ice cream. "A organic matcha green tea flavor with a touch of cream & sugar for that afternoon zen you need," so they say. // 222 E 3rd Ave, San Mateo, iciclescreamroll.com. —AR
A chain staple that has most of its customers agreeing across the board on their "A+ boba," we tend to lean towards their version of the matcha smoothie. A creamy and frosty drink that is jam packed with the good stuff. // Multiple locations, bambusanmateo.com. —AR
TOUS LES JOURS
Now how do you fuse matcha with baked goods, easy: the Matcha Croffin. The matcha croffin has nice layers of fluffy croissant and a creamy layer of matcha cream inside. The matcha flavor is strong but not too bitter like some matcha desserts floating around the Bay Area. // 1849 El Camino Real, Burlingame, tljus.com. —AC
Another sweet treat to sip on while you're in Burlingame would have to be Search Tea's Cheese Mousse Matcha Green Tea. The cheese mousse generally is pretty thick, so it's really filling when you're running to collect your matcha goodies. Pro tip: it has a good combination of sweet and salty. // 105 Park Blvd, Millbrae, search-tea.business.site. —CL
OMG OH MMMY GOODIES
Want to spice up the matcha enthusiasts day? Well hold the birthdays and the anniversaries, OMG Og Mmmy Goodies has a Matcha Green Tea cake ready. Picture: a matcha green tea cake topped with a matcha buttercream frosting, heaven does actually exist. // ohmmmygoodies.yolasite.com. —AR
MOO MOO YOGURT
Continuing on the sweet matcha trend in South Bay, Moo Moo Yogurt has recently debuted their version of the matcha yogurt. The insides are atypical of an Asian boba or ice cream spot but the taste of their batches are pretty incredible. Though we might add, multiple community members say that the space is overpriced for what it is BUT how can you compare a mom-and-pop to a Froyo corporation? Seems a little unfair to support local. // 969F Edgewater Blvd, Foster City. —AR
IT'S-IT ICE CREAM
HOW COULD WE NOT MENTION THIS. When It's-It launched their matcha flavor Bay Area-wide, the cities went NUTS. LOCO. CRAY. It became the most sold out ice cream in nearly a decade. Still (sorta) elusive to this day, we know that most Bi-Rite's restock the flavor post-haste. // itsiticecream.com. —AR
MACARONS A GO-GO
Another fabulous wholesaler and online ordering bakery from South Bay, Macarons A Go-Go have stepped up the Macaron game with their take on the matcha green tea macaron. Interested? We thought so. Their uncompromising commitment to quality means they use only pure, natural ingredients resulting in an explosion of gastronomically, flavorful macarons that are always gluten-free and are always without artificial flavors, colors (with the exception of special orders or specialty-shaped macarons) or preservatives. // macaronsagogo.com. —AR
// Header photo and video by Anthony Rogers, other photography sourced from Yelp. Some guide additions without photography did not have good imagery to start with. The statements by Wenter Shyu are of his own and do not reflect the opinions of Third Culture Bakery as a whole. This post was partnered 50/50 and was not sponsored by Third Culture Bakery. All opinions stated are just that, opinions.