Drinking your Greens: Demand for Matcha is on the Rise in Houston
I have been drinking coffee since I was about four years old. In order to get me to drink my milk, my parents would actually pour a few drops from their own freshly brewed pot into my sippy cup. This gradually grew to me downing a thermos on sleepy school mornings when I had an important test until I was fully indoctrinated. I became accustomed to at least one cup a day until about two and a half years ago when I was diagnosed with GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease. I had been experiencing horrific heartburn for several months and had gone entire nights without sleeping so I was prepared to do anything to quell the symptoms. At least I thought I was, until my doctor told me I would have to eliminate everything acidic from my diet, including the magical substance I’d grown to rely on daily for making me a pleasant person: coffee.
I cycled through a bunch of caffeinated alternatives, from chai to straight black tea until I found my perfect match: matcha. Matcha is alkaline, meaning it can help neutralize stomach acid, so for those who have trouble with heartburn, it works to counteract the acidity of other foods you consume. However, matcha is not merely a coffee substitute. It has its own rich history dating all the way back to the Tang Dynasty (618–907) in China and has been strongly associated with Japanese culture for over 800 years, refining the process of growing and harvesting the tea plant Camellia sinensis. The tea leaves are then ground up into the powder known as matcha.
Due to many health benefits associated with drinking matcha, including lowering cholesterol, it has become increasingly popular on an international scale in the past decade, particularly in the United States. There are many companies from which you can purchase matcha powder and make the drink at home. Everyone’s taste varies, but I typically follow Moya Matcha’s recipe ratio of 3.5 tablespoons of water to 1 teaspoon of matcha powder. If you do not own a chasen (bamboo whisk) or a milk frother, as this recipe calls for, you can instead boil the water before adding and mixing in the tea leaves. Many experts also recommend sifting the powder before adding it to the hot water (it generally makes for a smoother drink) and mixing the tea leaves in really well.
Matcha has been available in Houston predominantly at tea houses, but coffee shops here have also recently begun to add this power drink to their menus. As such, I have been keeping track of the many coffee and tea places that provide something for myself and the coffee fiends in my life out of the hope that I will be able to convert them to the green side.
Here are a few wonderful places where coffee fanatics and devoted matcha fans can caffeinate together.
2400 Mid Ln. #110
Located just past Highland Village, this tea house offers several different matcha drinks, including the incredible matcha red bean smoothie which is blended with ice cream. My go-to is the iced matcha latte with almond milk because it’s not too sweet and packs the caffeine punch I need when I’m working on a deadline.
2531 University Blvd.
Purple Kow offers 10 different matcha based drinks, some of which incorporate matcha pudding while others are more creme based. This bubble tea cafe is also really popular with high school students because it’s smack dab in the middle of Rice Village and has extensive offerings of different teas.
115 W 19th St.
I actually tried this Australian inspired coffee shop during my sophomore year at George Washington University in D.C. It quickly became my roommates’ and my favorite weekend pick me up, so when I heard Houston was getting a location in the Heights, I was ecstatic! This coffee shop takes their matcha latte particularly seriously, using only ceremonial grade matcha green tea powder, and it pays off in the earthy yet sweet undertones.
2523 Quenby St.
At Christo Mio, patrons have the choice between a ceremonial grade matcha, meaning the matcha is of a high enough quality that it can be drunk just mixed with water, or their specialty matcha chai latte mix.
3773 Richmond Ave. & 2617 Bissonnet St #101
Both locations of this classic coffee shop with a dark academia vibe offer a particularly earthy matcha latte, which I recommend ordering with a splash of vanilla.
La La Land Kind Cafe
600 N Shepherd Dr., Suite 140
After originally opening in Dallas as a cafe where people who had aged out of the foster system could get work experience and support, this wholesome coffee bar has made its way to Houston and is offering a wide variety of specialty matcha drinks. Although I am partial to the classic la la matcha latte with a splash of vanilla, their butterfly matcha latte, which is made with blue butterfly pea flower, literally looks out of this world with its green to turquoise ombre.
Badolina Bakery & Cafe
5555 Morningside Dr., #110
Located in Rice Village, this Israeli bakery and cafe makes a strong matcha perfect for jump starting your day. I really enjoy sipping an iced matcha latte on their outdoor patio while people watching.
1318 Telephone Rd., #3
In addition to offering a delicious classic matcha latte, this cafe has a library of board games for customers to play in between sips. Get together with the coffee fiends in your life and challenge them to a meeting of the minds and caffeine.
2604 Dunlavy St.
Get an iced matcha latte (or a hot one if you want to test your limits) at this Montrose staple and enjoy it either outside on their shaded patio or inside and gaze upon their eclectic art.
Want more buzz like this? Sign up for our Morning Buzz emails.
To leave a comment, please log in or create an account with The Buzz Magazines, Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Or you may post as a guest.