While matcha mania hasn’t quite reached saturation point, it’s cropping up on an increasing list of menus across Cape Town, and can be found in everything from your favourite latte to ice-cream and even croissants. Keen to get in with the green? This is what you need to know.
What exactly is matcha?
‘Matcha’ literally means powdered tea and that’s exactly what it is. The luminous green substance is made from stone ground 100% green tea, and has been used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries. Matcha is grown under a shade cloth before being hand-picked, steamed and aged — a process that develops its earthy flavour and chlorophyll levels.
Why should we drink it?
Because one consumes the whole, undiluted leaf, it’s claimed that one portion of matcha is equivalent to 10 cups of green tea and contains 137 times more antioxidants. The polyphenols have been lauded for their ability to lower blood pressure, boost metabolism and even reduce the risk of cancer. While it does still contain caffeine, matcha connoisseurs also claim that the ‘buzz’ is more of a calm uptick without the jitters associated with coffee.
Where can I find it?
Substitute your flat white or enjoy matcha in meal form at one of these spots in Cape Town:
Bootleggers Coffee: Bootleggers does a gently-flavoured matcha flat white or latte that’s quite milky. It’s a good place to start your foray into the green beverage, which you could always chase down with an enticing brownie should it prove unpalatable.
Wellness Cafe: The Wellness Warehouse Café offers two options of matcha from which to imbibe. The first is a matcha ice tea, the second a more traditional matcha latte. They’re not shy about heaping loads of powder into both choices, resulting in a rather intense and bitter flavour.
Superlatte: The ladies at Superlatte have their finger on the pulse of all the alternative lattes. Enjoy their iced matcha latte, made with coconut ice cream, almond milk and coco blossom sugar at the Oranjezicht City Farm on Saturdays.
Unframed Ice Cream: The vegan matcha ice-cream from Unframed is silky and rich, the grassy flavour balanced by a natural sweetener. It’s very palatable, but hard to choose when faced with a burnt vanilla or sea salt caramel alternative.
Nü Health Food Café: Nü serves a matcha smoothie bowl. For R68 you can enjoy a blend of matcha, kale and coconut milk topped with raspberries, toasted almonds, banana and hemp seeds. The combo of crunch, fruit and smoothie is both filling and delicious.
Scheckter’s Raw: If you’re looking for something a little more solid, give the organic matcha flapjacks at Scheckter’s Raw in Sea Point a whirl. They’re made with a combo of chickpea and rice flour and served with strawberries, banana, agave syrup and coconut cream — indulgence without the guilt.