Green tea is a resident drink in many Asian countries. It is as ubiquitous as a can of Coca-Cola in America, with many opting for it instead of their morning cup of coffee. Pure brewed forms of green tea are seen to be far more beneficial to one’s health, but none top the nutritionally valuable chart like matcha. A cup of matcha is said to have the same health advantages as 10 cups of regular green tea.
Matcha green tea is a powdered version of the tea leaf, and is unique to Japan. Formerly associated with ceremonial practices, matcha green tea embodies a quintessentially Japanese approach to life, given the cultural significance of preparing a bowl of tea. Today, matcha has grown in popularity across the world, exploding as a dessert staple and caffeine replacement in many a café.
A number of dedicated matcha haunts have also popped up around Singapore, offering quality grade tea imported from some of the finest matcha makers in Japan. If you consider yourself a fan of the antioxidant-rich beverage, here are some of the best cafés where you can get your matcha green tea fix.
This clean, minimalist wood shop oozes Japanese charm, and so does its menu. It isn’t purely dedicated to the green tea, despite the suggestion in the shop’s name, but Matchaya boasts an array of Japanese teas and desserts made from houjicha, royal milk tea and kuromitsu. Its matcha, sourced from Kyoto, comes as hot or cold lattes, or prepared with ceremonial-grade tea in “espresso” form — the way it is traditionally enjoyed.
Matchaya, Icon Village, 12 Gopeng Street, #01-72, Singapore 078877, +65 9837 3187
Matcha purists, this six-seater nook is for you. The Matcha Project utilises classic equipment like the chasen, a bamboo whisk, to make the drink frothy, before adding milk or water if you order either latte or Americano renditions. Those who like their green tea neat can opt for the Premium Matcha Shot, which utilises powder ground from hand-picked leaves, giving the tea a rich savoury taste instead of the usual bitterness. It also sells coffees, soft serves and houjicha.
The Matcha Project, 2 Marina Boulevard, #B1-08C, Singapore 018987, +65 9223 0245
Tsujiri is one of the oldest Japanese tea houses in the world, having been around since 1860. It was one of the pioneering matcha cafés in Singapore, specialising in drinks and desserts. It’s less of a place to explore the intricacies of different matcha grades than to enjoy the versatility of matcha as an ingredient. The establishment’s matcha comes from Uji in Kyoto, and finds itself made into anything from a cappuccino to a frappuccino, or even mixed latte-style with yuzu syrup. Tsujiru also has genmaicha, houjicha, and kuromitsu on the menu.
Tsujiri, 100 AM, 100 Tras Street, #01-14, Singapore 079027, +65 6543 6110
Newly-opened Kurasu is an artisanal Japanese coffee spot that serves up a darn good matcha latte. Its offerings are slim, catering to the order-and-go business crowd, so don’t expect a variety of Japanese teas. Instead, it offers hot or cold matcha lattes made with tea powder from Morihan, one of the longest-standing green tea makers in Kyoto. It’s perfect for a morning or post-lunch pick-me-up if you work in the area. Coffee enthusiasts can also visit Kurasu to purchase bags of beans curated and roasted by artisanal Japan coffeemakers.
Kurasu, 331 North Bridge Road, Odeon Towers #02-01, Singapore 188720
Old Hen’s a café best known for its housemade cold brew coffees that come in beer bottles. Its matcha milk is one of the most popular, with a rich and creamy profile that tapers off into the signature green bitterness one associates with the green tea. Come here and enjoy a bottle or two of the beverage while tucking into its all-day breakfast fare. This is definitely the place to be for a relaxed Sunday brunch.
Old Hen Coffee Bar, 88 Rangoon Rd, Singapore 218374, +65 6341 5458