City Guide: The Best Matcha Latte in NYC

 
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To be honest, writing that title has me cringing a little. And not because I don’t love a good matcha latte. But because, I fear, The Matcha Latte as we know it may be edging into Pumpkin Spice Latte/Peppermint Mocha territory. A place where once you’ve gone, you can’t really come back from.

I imagine a double line graph. As a product enters PSL-level popularity, its chances of being picked up by Starbucks skyrocket (line 1) while its odds of being taken seriously by the foodie community exponentially decrease (line 2).

A while back I saw a sidewalk sign by Pret A Manger (lovingly referred to as “Pret” for us New Yorkers who can’t pronounce anything in French…don’t even get me started on Le Pain Quotidien) advertising their matcha lattes and my heart sank a little. I’m no Malcom Gladwell, but I could tell you right then and there, The Matcha Latte had reached its tipping point

So, in honor of its newfound attention and in mourning of its no-longer-niche-status, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite places in the city to find a solid matcha latte. And for anyone who knows me well, you should know that I take this list very seriously. I’ve wasted $6 on a subpar latte one too many times that I hope to not lead you astray.

1. Chalait

This cafe holds a special place in my heart. Before I moved to NYC, I used to frequent their old West Village location quite often on my trips in town to visit my boyfriend. Their cafe was on a corner that is only a few blocks from where I live now. When I moved to the city, they had to close shop in the West Village—thanks CVS for taking over what used to be the cutest cafe in the neighborhood. *shakes fist at The Man*—and opened a smaller location in NoMad—only a few blocks from my old office (but also far enough away that I would never run into coworkers there, AKA the perfect cafe escape). I’ve befriended some of the baristas + managers and it has definitely become my place.

And aside from my personal nostalgia towards the establishment, they also happen to serve amazing matcha that they source directly from Japan. Fun fact: they actually sell their own branded matcha to other cafes around the city! Recommended order: Matcha latte with their homemade almond cashew milk.

2. Matchaful

This cafe has a great spot in DUMBO, Brooklyn and recently opened a teeny cafe in SoHo up the street from my two favorites: Jack’s Wife Freda + Cafe Select. Like Chalait, they also take their matcha sourcing very seriously, which you can read more of on their site. This place is a bit more highbrow about their matcha than some of the other cafes I’ve frequented, and they have creative matcha drinks with extras like MCT oil, cardamom, turmeric and more. Recommended order: the “Coco Vanilla Zen” (a little sweet, but delicious).


3. Saltwater Coffee

Now that Matcha Cafe Wabi is closed—RIP local business, *shakes fist again*—my new favorite spot to find matcha in the East Village is Saltwater Coffee. Like all good Australian cafes, their shop has a welcoming vibe and is filled with bright beach imagery—because in the throws of winter we all need some aspirational photos of Bondi Beach to remind us that somewhere in the world…people are warm and happy. Overall a solid matcha latte (+they use my favorite “Barista Blend” almond milk) and atmosphere.

4. MAMAN

If a pretty spring flower were to turn into a cafe, it would be Maman. Poetic, right? They’ve got locations all over the city, and some of their cafes even double as mini boutiques. The matcha lattes are pretty good (not amazing, but solid) and to my knowledge they use Pantea Matcha for their drinks. Great spot to catch up with friends or stop to finish a little work while hopping around the city.

5. My apartment

When I don’t feel like spending my hard-earned money on a $6 cup of tea + almond milk, I’ve gotten in the healthy habit of actually making my own matcha at home. While I’m no latte artist, I have created a makeshift matcha latte kit with my current kitchen supplies—I’ve been using a mini metal whisk to mix my matcha powder…don’t tell the Matcha Gods. I’d highly recommend buying a tin of Chalait’s own matcha (available on Amazon) and pairing it with Califa Farms’ Barista Blend Almond Milk (available here). Add a half teaspoon of matcha powder with ~1/4 cup of near-boiling water, wisk until frothy, add in warmed almond milk on top, and wisk again. Simple, cost efficient, and great for a morning energy boost without the afternoon crash.

6. Honorable Mention(s)

I couldn’t write a blurb for everyone but these other cafes still deserve a visit! Toby’s Estate Brooklyn (note: their Flatiron location does not serve matcha), Daily Provisions, Gotan and Bluestone Lane.

Shop Matcha + MORE:

Rose petal details at Matchaful in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Rose petal details at Matchaful in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

If you read all the way to the end, thank you for indulging in my 800 word rant about a very specific form of green tea. I hope you found this round-up helpful and maybe even starred a few spots on Google Maps for your next matcha fix.

Until next time,

-M


To read more city tips, explore my other NYC City Guide posts here.

 
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