Tuesday, 11 October 2016

My Ultimate London Matcha Guide

Anyone that knows me will understand that matcha is to me are what coffee is to others - I can't go more than a couple of days without one. Don't get me wrong, I love coffee and it will always be a booming industry (as well as my staple pre-workout), but with new emerging health trends and the incredible benefits of matcha powder, IMO matcha is giving coffee a very good run for its money!

Amanzi Tea, Marylebone - this place shut in 2018 but was one of the OG matcha hotspots in LDN. RIP Amanzi - miss u xx

 I first started getting into matcha a few years ago and found that:
1. It was really difficult to come by places that sold dairy-free options and that didn't then add a ridiculous amount of sugar to them
2. When I actually tried to google places that sold them, my search pretty much hit a dead end and there were no good reviews or recommendations to go off

I still experience the latter... Therefore, I've tried to put together my top matcha latte finds across London for you. As I tend to stick more to west London, these are where the coffee shops below are predominantly based but I know there are also loads of places in north and east London.. Perhaps that's a venture for another day and a blog post for the future!

I first wrote this in 2016, but as new places pop up and some places sadly close, I'll try and keep this post updated and add in any good (or bad) finds! As always, my Instagram @jesssriv is where you'll see all my current London favs..!



1. TAB X TAB, WESTBOURNE GROVE
https://www.tabxtab.com
Mind. Blown. TAB x TAB oat mylk matcha latte
This has been my local for over a year now and I'm obsessed for several reasons - matcha obviously being one of them. I'm lucky enough to have this hidden gem right on my doorstep. However, even if you aren't in west London, I'd get yourself here ASAP.

It's no secret that Lalani & Co is my all time favourite tea company. So when I discovered that TabxTab stock a variety of their teas and matcha, I was literally over the moon! 

What to order: 

  • nitro matcha for the matcha lovers 
  • matcha latte for everyone else.. lol
They also do a huge range of dairy free mylks including almond, coconut, soya and my personal fav - Oatly oat mylk.

Not only is the latte art beautiful but the interior is pretty much hashtag goals too. The staff are some of the most welcoming people you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting aaand I'm even obsessed with the mugs. They're just the most gorgeous works of art. This place has become my go-to destination whenever I find myself stuck procrastinating at home and knee deep in a bag of corn cakes instead of doing my work.


Rating 10/10 - literally can't fault this place even if I tried



2. MATCHA & BEYOND 

https://matchaandbeyond.com
Spiced matcha latte = ultimate comfort food in drink form
This dedicated matcha cafe opened in November 2018 and was definitely a warm welcome to the matcha scene. 

When I first visited, I was lucky enough to meet the founder and owner, Olivia, who told me all about her journey from not liking matcha to now owning her own matcha cafe! 

I thought this was the most incredible story and demonstrates something I've tried to explain for a long time - matcha quality bloody matters! It wasn't until Olivia tried a high-quality matcha from Japan that she fell in love with it. And so began her journey to where she is today - proud owner of the most beautiful matcha cafe on the King's Road. 

The matcha used here is one that Olivia sourced from Japan herself. The cafe offers the widest range of matcha drinks that I've seen in any cafe across London. From matcha cortados, flat greens and spiced matcha lattes, they really do cater for all. 

The matcha food menu was one I was particularly interested in trying. Their sweet treats all contain matcha (obvs). However, sadly, at the moment they all (bar some of the breakfast bowls and bliss balls) contain dairy, which I actively avoid in my diet. Therefore, as beautiful as this green velvet cake looks, I'm catfishing in the photo below and have no idea what it actually tastes like, sadly. From what I could gather from the table next to me though, it was a damn good cake!

Praying that one day this green velvet will be vegan..!
I spoke to Olivia about the fact that many of the treats aren't vegan or DF and as a French chef, she said eggs and dairy are, of course, something that comes as part of her traditional French baking. However, they have recently employed a vegan chef, who has devised some of the savoury menu and has plans to help create some vegan matcha treats. Needless to say, I will be back to try this menu ASAP!

As for the savoury menu, it didn't contain any matcha, and this, as the name suggests is the 'beyond' part of 'Matcha & Beyond'! I see what they did there. I like it. We had the vegan rice rolls with sweet potato and aubergine, as well as the lentil and kale salads. I have to say, they were absolutely delicious. 

So on the whole, I adored this cafe but will be back to try some other options when the vegan range expands. Oh, and did I mention the super instagrammable faux leaf back wall?! So beautiful..!

Rating 10/10 - we are rating matcha after all, not the availability of vegan matcha treats lol. So for the matcha and huge range of drink options, it's definitely a 10


3. TOMBO MATCHA BAR, SOHO or SOUTH KEN
http://tombocafe.com/#home
Tombo feast, South Ken ft matcha frappe (LHS) and matcha latte (RHS)
With their award winning matcha and green tea, this place is literally a matcha lovers dream. It has the biggest matcha specific menu of all the places I've visited and you can even have a matcha orientated afternoon tea!

There are two branches, one in Soho and one in South Ken. Both stock all the matcha you could want as well as a selection of Japanese cuisine, but the Soho branch also serves amazing poké sushi bowls (my second foodie love!)

Matcha drinks range from a matcha macchiato to matcha lemonade and you can also add almond mylk as an extra. The only drawback was that even after enquiring, the almond mylk was sweetened. As the drinks are so large (obv a good thing), it meant that for those that don't like sweetened drinks (me), you then had about half a pint of it to finish (not such a good thing). This doesn't detract from the fact that the matcha itself was of incredible quality and very well blended.


Tombo pop up at Liberty: unsweetened almond mylk matcha



I also tried the Tombo pop up in Liberty department store and here they used unsweetened almond mylk. This gave me a chance to re-assess the matcha, for want of a better phrase, and it didn't disappoint. So maybe next time I go back to the Tombo store, I will enquire about unsweetened almond mylk a bit more carefully. But on the whole and judging the matcha itself, it's definitely up there with the best.

Rating 8/10 - because size isn't everything...




4. C PRESS, FULHAM
http://cpressjuice.com
C Press: matcha lattes and acai bowls
C Press is predominantly renowned for its juices but their homemade almond mylk matcha lattes are a little hidden secret IMO! They have also opened a branch in TriYoga Chelsea, TriYoga Shoreditch and apparently in Canary Wharf. However, the ones in the yoga studios are much smaller. I'm unsure about the CW branch - I'm yet to visit...

The homemade almond mylk is delicately flavoured with fresh dates and a hint of vanilla bean. As someone who doesn't like things too sweet (I'm sure you've gathered this by now), it is such a subtle sweetness that it actually perfectly balances the matcha.

I also have to mention the acai bowls here too - again some of the best acai I've had in London. Between these bowls and the matcha - hats off to you C Press. Well played.

Rating 9/10



5. TIMBERYARD, SOHO or SEVEN DIALS 
https://tyuk.com
So Timberyard is a pretty cool place. Not only can you rent a workspace but you'll also find some beautiful matcha lattes, cakes and crodoughs (croissant x doughnut and yes, they have a PB&J flavour!) Timberyard has branches in Soho and Seven Dials, which is just on the outskirts of Covent Garden. Again, there's also one in East London but allow travelling that far when there's two in West!

Won't lie, their website is pretty useless unless you want to book a room to rent, so you'll just have to trust me on this one.

Rating 7/10



6. HALLY'S & LITTLE H, PARSON'S GREEN
http://www.hallyslondon.com
http://www.littlehlondon.com
Pre brunch almond milk matcha lattes at Hally's
Inspired by California and Cape Town, Hally's and Little H are two separate cafes owned by the same husband and wife team so needless to say, their matcha is pretty similar! They are a stone's throw away from each other in Parson's Green and both are little gems in their own way.

They are decked out like Californian beach houses and pride themselves on their 'farm-to-table' approach. Therefore, on visiting these two cafes, you can expect fresh, natural produce served in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

The two main differences between each cafe:
If you're looking for a brunch or lunch spot, I'd recommend the bigger sister, Hally's - just be prepared to queue for a table, especially if it's a weekend. Trust me, it's worth it!
Little H: almond and coconut matcha latte take outs 




However, if you're in a rush, cba to queue or want a quick take out, then Little H is your gal. A matcha take out is the perfect winter warmer, especially when paired with a stroll around Parson's Green.

The other great thing about these two cafes is that as strange as I find it that people don't like almond mylk, they have coconut mylk available for you coconutters.

Rating 8/10





7. THE PARLOUR @ SKETCH, MAYFAIR
https://sketch.london/venue_Parlour.php?menu=1#gsc.tab=0
Matcha supreme at The Parlour in Sketch
Not actually a matcha latte but the 'matcha supreme' in the Parlour made it into the list because each visit to Sketch is always an experience to remember. Sometimes it's not just about the food or the drink but the atmosphere too. Spanning two floors of a converted 18th Century building, the elaborate decor and magical yet incredibly delicious food and drink has definitely put Sketch on the map.

The Parlour itself is the most relaxed room in Sketch and serves breakfast, afternoon tea and all your favourite comfort foods. At 6pm it transforms into a member's only cocktail bar but before then us normal people get to enjoy it for the cakes and of course, more importantly, the matcha.

If they ever started doing matcha lattes instead of the matcha supreme, which is essentially just matcha powder mixed with hot water (you have to really love your matcha to stomach that), then its rating from me would increase dramatically.

Rating 7/10 for now...



8. FRIENDS OF OURS, HOXTON
http://www.friendsofourscafe.com/#homepage
Pretty oat milk matcha latte at Friends of Ours
One of the only East London venues I've ventured to and of course it was predominantly for brunch... But as well as having a great brunch menu, Friends of Ours has a ridiculously good oat mylk matcha latte.

When I visited Sweden in 2016, all the matcha over there was made with oat mylk and it was just beautiful! Therefore, as I'm sure you've gathered, any time there is oat mylk available, it's always my preference. Oat mylk provides the perfect creamy texture and natural sweetness from the oats (without the need for added sugar, yay). What's more, it came with some decent latte art (but nothing to rival TabxTab..) One downside to this matcha is that I wish it was bigger - gone in 30 seconds!

Rating 8/10 - double the size next time pls




9. FARM GIRL, NOTTING HILL
http://www.thefarmgirl.co.uk
Almond milk matcha and chai latte ft cinnamon pitbull
A popular venue for any health conscious foodie, Farm Girl doesn't need much of an introduction. Hidden away just off Portobello Road is the cutest cafe serving delicious brews - from the most beautiful rose lattes dusted in rose petals to my fav almond mylk matcha.

They use Rude Health's 'almond drink', which I have always thought was sweetened and could not understand how it tasted so sweet yet didn't have sugar additives. After researching it and realising it's not actually almond mylk but an almond drink composed of almonds (obv), water, salt, rice and sunflower oil, all became a little clearer! Rice is very sweet in milks so this will be what sweetens it up.

Therefore, if you struggle to drink your matcha without sugar or sweetener, I'd definitely recommend trying it with this 'milk' as you may find you're suddenly able to cut out the added sugar completely (sorry, that's the dentist in me shining through).

So I guess the only drawback to Farm Girl I could think of was that every other latte is amazingly presented apart from the matcha?! (even the lavender latte comes surrounded by dried lavender!) Pfffft.

Rating 9/10 - could be more beautiful please - I'm getting jealous of the other lattes




10. MONOCLE, MARYLEBONE
https://cafe.monocle.com
Monocle: soya matcha lattes & free chocolate too, winning
This Japanese inspired cafe on Chiltern Street is definitely one to try and bag an outdoor seat at, especially when the weather is good! Inside is rather small but if there's only two of you, there is actually plenty of space - I'm just being greedy.

Biggest downside - the only milk options are cow's milk or soya. But to be fair to Monocle, they did it extremely well and it's probably one of the best soya matcha lattes I've had in London.

Next time, however, I'm going back for the matcha hot chocolate! Dreamy.

Rating 7/10 when compared to an almond matcha but if comparing it to other soya matchas, it's a solid 8/10 (generous or what)




11. ELAN CAFE

http://www.elancafe.co.uk
One of the most beautiful cafe chains in London, hands down! Elan Cafe first opened on Brompton Road and has now opened in Oxford Circus Market Place, Selfridges and Park Lane. 


They used to stock Lalani and Co teas but I have a feeling this has changed since I last visited. Obviously, I can vouch for Lalani, but if it's changed, I'm a little stuck with what to suggest..

The one downside of these cafes is that they're so bloody beautiful that they're either rammed with bloggers or tourists trying to take an 'au naturel' shot for the 'gram. Highly annoying (unless you're one of said annoying people) then you just do you boo. 

Rating 9/10 bc sometimes I want to slap people's camera out of their hand, tell them to sit down and just enjoy their damn beverage (and if the matcha isn't Lalani then I apologise in advance!)



12. BEANY GREEN, PADDINGTON or BROADGATE CIRCLE or EUSTON or MARYLEBONE or SOHO - basically everywhere
http://www.daisygreenfood.com
Beany Green, Paddington
Tbh I get a bit confused with this chain of cafes - some are called Beany Green, some are called Daisy Green and there is a Timmy Green in Victoria!

There are now seven cafes across London so you have no excuse not to try it! Obviously the locations therefore span more than what I've listed above, so if you click on the link, you can search for the one that is closest to you.

I do really like these Australian cafes though - the brunch (especially those involving the charcoal bread) is delicious and again, their matcha is very good. Drawback - they only have sweetened soya or sweetened almond mylk.

I did also experience a very lumpy matcha (ew) from the Paddington cafe. However, I think that was the barista... I hate solely blaming one person but every other time they have been smooth tbf.

Rating 5/10 - a little too sweet for me aaand nobody has time for lumps, even if it was just the once



13. CURATORS COFFEE, FITZROVIA or CITY
http://www.curatorscoffee.com
Curators Coffee: lukewarm and weak AF - less than ideal
Given that Curators serves oat mylk matcha lattes, you'd think I'd be instantly sold.

However, although it was good, it just wasn't strong enough and it wasn't hot enough. With an extra 1/2 tsp of matcha and a couple more seconds to boil, I think it would be spot on.

Rating 6/10 - attractive, bland and looks stronger than it actually is - kinda reminds me of an ex boyfriend...










14. NOTES COFFEE, LEICESTER SQUARE or BOND ST or CANARY WHARF
http://notes-uk.co.uk
Notes Coffee: matcha take 1...
Not sure where to start with this one... So what you see in the photo is the first matcha lattes we ordered and I feel like the barista had read my above note to Curators Coffee because I have never had such a strong matcha latte in my life!

I mean, we both picked them up, took a sip and pulled the most horrendous faces at each other in disgust before asking them to remake them as they were completely undrinkable.

To be fair to Notes, they did then heat up some more almond milk and transfer our matchas into larger cups, so I guess we got a huge matcha for the price of a regular. Can't argue with that!

The bizarre thing was that even for a large matcha, they were still bloody strong. I guess all the more convincing that asking them to change it was the right thing to do.

Positive points on the other hand - good temperature and they used Rude Health almond drink (idk why I'm plugging Rude Health so much but I do just genuinely love it. I should get commission for this)

Rating take one 3/10 - like seriously wtf are u playing at hun
Rating take two 6/10 - can't dismiss take one completely but thanks for sorting us with a large matcha



15. SOHO GRIND, SOHO (obviously)
http://grind.co.uk/sohogrind/
Soho Grind: colour poppin' with matcha and beetroot lattes 
'Grind' is a chain of six coffee shops across London. Their first store was the Shoreditch branch and their newest location is Soho Grind, which I recently visited.

At the end of August 2016 they launched their range of colourful lattes - matcha, beetroot and turmeric. As tempted as I always am to get the beautiful Barbie pink latte, I can't stray away from my fav matcha (although everyone does say the beetroot is pretty good too).

They serve almond mylk, albeit sweetened but for somewhere that is used to serving up espressos, it is pretty good.

Maybe one day I'll branch out and try the beetroot, it's too pretty not to.

Rating 6/10



16. RETREAT CAFE @ TRIYOGA, SOHO
https://www.triyoga.co.uk/caf
Retreat Cafe: basic bitch almond matchas
The cafe itself is quite small as the main focus of this place is the yoga. However, they do serve their matcha with the Rude Health almond drink (sorry, I'm even annoying myself with the amount of times I've mentioned this now).

Decent matcha but I mean look at it - I definitely could have just whipped that up in my kitchen at home (especially the top one!)

Worth the visit? Maybe... but I wouldn't go out of my way for it and would definitely just get it to take away in future if I went back.

Rating 6/10 - good but nothing special







17. STARBUCKS, nationwide (duh)
http://www.starbucks.co.uk
Starbucks: possibly the most comforting but naughty matcha you'll find
I've included this in the list not because I'd recommend it but because I have a lot to say about Starbucks matcha...

Summer of 2016 (I say this like it's years ago lol) they started doing Teapigs matcha lattes, which I absolutely loved! However, they were sadly only available for a couple of months.

That winter they brought matcha lattes but are using Teavana matcha powder with a ridiculous amount of added sugar in it - I mean my teeth actually hurt afterwards. As the sugar is already in the powder, you can't ask for it sugar free either.

The other drawback is that their dairy free options are sweetened and full of additives. I would therefore always opt for soya here..

Don't get me wrong, it's fabulous if you want a sugar hit and I hate to admit that it was the frothiest and creamiest matcha I've actually ever had..! Equally, it still doesn't reach the ludicrous sugar highs of other chains such as EAT, whose small matcha lattes contain over 30g sugar?! w t f  HUN.

But on the whole, given I personally don't like sweet things and the dentist in me is holding up a red flag, it won't be a regular for me. Practice what I preach, right?!

Rating 4/10 - delicious but I may as well consume a bag of Haribo and book in for my fillings now


18. GOOD LIFE EATERY, CHELSEA or BELGRAVIA or MARYLEBONE 
http://www.goodlifeeatery.com/#about
The institution that is the Good Life Eatery obviously does very good matcha too. Great quality, well made and a choice of milks. Not much more to say tbh.

Rating 9/10



19. JUICEBABY, CHELSEA or NOTTING HILL
http://www.juicebaby.co.uk/index/
Juicebaby, Chelsea: the writing's on the wall - it's good 
This vegan cafe is one of my fav spots to go for dessert as their acai bowls are incredible! As for the matcha, it could be better.

They serve it with cashew mylk, which for me I don't mind and actually quite enjoy. However, it does mean the texture isn't as smooth compared to other dairy free alternatives.

In addition, it is not sweet in the slightest so you may find yourself having to add some form of sugar if you prefer your matcha a little sweeter.

Rating 6/10






20. PALM VAULTS, SOHO or HACKNEY
http://palmvaults.com
Pink coconut matcha latte. Need I say more?
Again, the website for this is pretty shit BUT you can take my word that the pink coconut matcha latte is AMAZING.

It's unsweetened but the natural sweetness of the coconut pairs so well with the matcha and beetroot powder (the pink part, obv). I don't know how they create the wizardry that is the pink and green layers but I've stopped trying to work it out.

I visited the one in Soho, which is inside the Fiorucci store. I'm yet to visit the original branch in Hackney as it's so damn far away.. However, I've heard nothing but positive feedback from there.

The drinks list is SO extensive and their food looks just as dreamy. I'll definitely be back to explore this again!

Rating 9/10 - not sure how I feel about sipping matcha in a clothes store tbh





Other matcha finds that didn't make the cut:

1. Wild Food Cafe, Neal's Yard - they serve an adaptogenic coconut matcha latte (idk what difference adaptogenic makes) but it was slightly watery, a bit lumpy, had no froth and tbh I missed my oat or almond mylk. I think it's clear why it didn't make it into the above list!

2. Clean and Lean Cafe (Bodyism), Notting Hill - the almond matcha here is actually okay but lumpy. The coconut matcha here legit tastes like dishwater. If you visit, stay away from the coconut mylk and just be prepared for a few lumps in your almond matcha. 

3. Mae Deli, Marylebone - probably a surprise that this one didn't make it but for me it was sickeningly sweet. I first visited when there was only one branch at it was fairly new. They made their matcha with rice mylk and it was genuinely so sweet I couldn't finish it. I've since been told they have other mylks available such as almond and oat but tbh one overpriced, bad experience for me and I'm done.

4. Wired, West Hampstead - the almond mylk was sweetened so I opted for cashew. You know how I feel about cashew mylk - the texture just isn't right. As if that wasn't bad enough, the number of lumps was ridiculous. I wouldn't go back, but if I did I'd take my own whisk as they clearly don't have one.

5. Store Street Espresso, Fitzrovia - they use Lalani & Co matcha (brilliant) but their almond mylk is homemade and is bizarre tasting to say the least. Literally tasted like grass and I actually struggled to finish it. They do serve matcha cookies though so maybe next time I'll sack off the latte and go in for the cookie.


Mae Deli: sack off the matcha and just get the cake...

If you do have any more matcha suggestions that I haven't mentioned above (likely if they're anywhere but west London) then do let me know below as I'd love to check them out.

Jess x


Disclaimer:
No matcha visits were sponsored (unfortunately - jk) and all opinions are my own

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4 comments

  1. How do you feel about an iced matcha latte? Do these places even offer an iced matcha? If so, would any of the places rank differently?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love an iced matcha! As mentioned above, Amanzi do the most amazing iced matcha frappe. Lots of places offer matcha poured over ice too, which is always nice and refreshing. But Amanzi is the only placed I've actually seen a frappe offered, which uses a creamer instead of just normal milk. Their frappe is the one in the photo and is a big factor as to why I rate the place so highly! Xx

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  2. hey! Deliciously Ella deli, now offers unsweetened almond, oat, coconut and obvi rice mylks to aviod over sweetness for the less inclined sweet tooth fanatics like ourselves.

    I recommend you give it a try again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey April, ooh thank you for the update! As you can probably tell I was definitely put off from my first bad experience here! Will have to give it another go though. Thank you! X

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