Matcha lovers unite!
“If matcha tastes like grass, then I am simply a cow.”, is a quote from a TikTok audio that I relate to a little too much. Matcha, to me, is essentially coffee. My love for the drink has gotten to a point where my drink order is almost becoming habitual, and I find myself subconsciously scanning cafe menus for that specific word: Matcha. Something about that vivid green liquid in a cup, the beautiful separation between the matcha and the milk just before mixing it, brings joy to my mundane life. Hence, to all matcha lovers, let me introduce my top 5 favourite spots where I like to get my (not daily) matcha fix!
With multiple outlets across the island, the homegrown brand is most famous for its artisanal matcha and teas. There is a list of selections, ranging from green teas to ceremonial matcha. The one that I usually go for is the Iced Matcha Milk ($6.50). An exciting option is that you get to choose your preferred sweetness level, and I typically opt for reduced since I prefer a stronger tea taste. One thing I like about their matchas is how smooth it is! Every sip has a slight aftertaste of the earthy green tea flavour. However, the matcha taste is not the most robust, and it does get watered down, especially after a while.
Known for its minimalist interiors and quality tea leaves, Hvala is another popular matcha spot for matcha lovers. The brand specialises in tea lattes, and its dessert menu also follows the tea theme. When visiting, I usually order the Tsuki Matcha ($5.90), a popular item on the menu. The tea lattes at Hvala are known for their smoothness, and I like how strong tasting their matcha flavours are, being not overpoweringly sweet. The drink itself is also thick and on the creamier side, which is something I look for in a good matcha. Another personal favourite here is the Hojicha Latte! It has a dark and toasty flavour profile since the tea leaves have been roasted beforehand, and it is worth a shot if you want to try something new. Fun fact: the “straws” in the drinks are chopsticks! I learned that the hard way the first time I went there.
KYŌ KOHEE | Location
This humble shop near the CBD district blew up on TikTok for its matcha lattes. The vibrant green of the matcha in the videos caught my attention, and I immediately added this cafe to my list of places to visit. It took a bit of navigation to find the shop, which is situated in a quaint area. As the videos suggested, the first thing I noticed that differed from the other matchas I have tried was how bright green the latte was. I ordered the Okumidori Matcha Latte ($6.90), which did not disappoint! They used matcha of premium grades with a deep flavour profile, and the finish of the latte was smooth and did not have a bitter aftertaste. The
drink is creamy without being too overpoweringly thick, suitable for those who are not huge lovers of matcha but still want a quick drink. The only downside of this place was the space; it was much smaller than I anticipated, and since it is a takeaway store, it was a bummer that I could not sit down to enjoy my drink.
Tsujiri is a brand from Kyoto, Japan; another cafe on this list specialising mainly in matcha drinks and desserts. I ordered the standard Iced Matcha Latte ($6.50) and opted for less sweet. I would say that this is your average standard matcha taste-wise, and I will recommend this place to those who are not crazy matcha lovers. I could taste the matcha in each sip, and there was no bitter aftertaste, which was a plus point. A slight downside is that there wasn’t a very profound matcha taste, leaning more towards the milkier side instead, but that’s just a personal preference! Tsujiri has been highly raved on TikTok and Lemon8 for their soft-serve and desserts; however, I have yet to try them, and it will be something I want to try the next time I stumble across their outlets!
Claiming the title of the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, I was curious to find out how Starbucks’s matcha lattes would fare. Since there is so much to offer on the menu, and it isn’t a place that sells explicitly matcha, I was pretty surprised by how pleasant the drink is! Their Pure Matcha Latte ($7.20) was incredibly creamy and grainless, considering how the drink is blended compared to whisk. The matcha has a subtle taste; surprisingly, it is not sweet or bitter. However, a con is that their lattes can get quite pricey for a place that does not explicitly sell matcha products (the most expensive one out of all 5 locations).
Matcha brings a whole community together, and we always look for the best matcha that suits our tastebuds. Overall, my top spot to satisfy my cravings is Hvala! It checks all my boxes: a cosy space where I enjoy my drink at my own pace, the variety of drinks and desserts I can pick from and, of course, the flavour of their drinks! With so many more matcha houses to explore, however, who knows when I will find my next favourite spot?