This post is in collaboration with MatchaBar.
Last week, I was invited to MatchaBar in Chelsea for a tasting of their new spring 2016 signature menu. The weather’s been kind of crummy lately, but mother nature was kind enough to grace us with a beautiful spring day for this occasion.
Owned by brothers Graham and Max Fortgang, MatchaBar first opened in Williamsburg in 2014. The second location in Chelsea opened about six months ago. Both locations serve their own brand of ceremonial grade matcha sourced from a family farm in Japan. There aren’t that many dedicated matcha cafes in NYC yet, but I’m sure the matcha love is catching on as we all know that New Yorkers sure do love their caffeine.
MatchaBar is located in Chelsea, but the street its on and the cafe itself has such a charming and quaint West Village feel. My architecture days are long behind me, but I was swooning over the decor as soon as I stepped inside. Exposed brick, rustic wood, industrial accents, and vintage wallpaper! Max explained that the wallpaper was vintage, second hand wallpaper that had been painted by hand. He even pointed out the artist’s color swatches in one of the corners.
At MatchaBar, they’ve got the classics like matcha shots and matcha lattes covered, but the seasonal items are what sets them apart from other places. They also sell matcha-based desserts and pastries, as well as everything you need to play matcha cafe at home. Yes, they also have coffee if you want to be that guy who goes to a matcha cafe and doesn’t order matcha.
I’m not a coffee drinker, and drinking black tea gets old after a while. That’s where matcha comes in. You don’t need much of it, just 2 grams is a solid serving. It provides a pleasant boost of caffeine without making you feel jittery. Calm alert is the best way to describe it. By the end of this tasting, I was feeling very alert and focused. Here’s what I tasted…
The iced watermelon basil matcha and iced coconut chai matcha latte are the most visually stunning drinks on the spring menu. Made with freshly pressed watermelon juice, the former is light and refreshing like a lemonade. However, I fell in love with the latter, which is made with organic coconut milk and organic chai tea. Sweet and spicy with a light creaminess from the coconut and a backdrop of matcha. P.S. The layers are pretty and Insta-worthy, but you should give it a stir to enjoy it properly.
I also tasted the iced white pear matcha, which is an unsweetened herbal infusion. The flavors are very complementary. However, if you’re hoping for a pear flavored beverage, this is probably isn’t for you as it’s matcha-focused with light notes of pear. Another good option for warm weather.
One thing I should point out is that the electric green color of the matcha reveals the quality of the matcha. This is “ceremonial” grade matcha, which indicates that this is meant for tea ceremony, as opposed to “ingredient” grade matcha that is intended for cooking. That explains a lot about the not so electric green stuff I’ve got at home.
At this tasting, MatchaBar also debuted their matcha white chocolate coconut crunch popsicle collaboration with Chloe’s Fruit. It always amazes me how tasty frozen bananas are. You can try one of these at Governors Ball in a few weeks!
Note: This post is in collaboration with MatchaBar. I was invited as a guest to this establishment and received a complimentary meal. This was not in exchange for a positive review and all opinions expressed here are my own.