Matcha is anything but new. It's been around for thousands and thousands of years. Yet every single time I post anything matcha related on my Instagram story I get messages asking me what it is. While food lovers may be familiar with it, it can be considered a relatively new trend for others. If you haven't discovered it for yourself yet, I'm going to help you out so you know exactly it what it is, and where to find it in Orlando.
Have you seen this emoji above? It's not split pea soup, it's green tea. Well, everyone has heard of green tea and matcha is essentially green tea on steroids. The potent green powder is the result of finely ground, specially selected green tea leaves. Different from regular green tea plants, the ones that give us matcha grow in the shade for approximately three weeks prior to harvesting. That gives it higher levels of theanine (a relaxing amino acid) and caffeine. Yes, it has caffeine! The final matcha powder that we often see being used or that we purchase from local Asian markets easily dissolves into a liquid, generally milk or water. I'm not a doctor so I won't tell you about all the health benefits, but a little googling will show you it's many surprising benefits.
I love coffee, but I need alternatives for caffeine boosts because I can't drink coffee late in the day, and matcha does not hurt my stomach the way coffee sometimes does. Matcha is delicious in my opinion and Orlando has more places than ever before where you can try it.
I know, how dare I post anything about Starbucks here! Truth is, for years Starbucks was the one and only place I could get matcha lattes in Orlando. Now that I have more local options I don't go here for matcha quite as often, but hey, when in need of a matcha fix Starbucks will have it. I prefer mine with coconut milk, but it's great with any dairy or non-dairy product. Also don't just say green tea, you have to order it as a green tea latte so they know to add milk. I've had this mix up a few times.
Sanctum knows the benefits of Matcha, so they have it available both in latte form and as a smoothie. The #6 smoothie is a favorite of mine. It's packed with matcha, maca, mint, banana, avocado, cacao nibs, kale and protein. The price is $12, but I can guarantee you will be full after you sip this delicious smoothie down. It's honestly one of my favorite healthy indulgences right now.
Cozee Cafe over in Lake Mary has been known to serve matcha at times. Word on the street is they don't always have matcha powder in stock though. To be safe, call and ask before you go. Hopefully they start carrying it on the regular so their baristas can make you a beautiful matcha latte like I had.
If you feel like ordering a matcha brick toast dessert and washing it down with an iced matcha tea you can totally do that at KrungThep. One can never have too much matcha during the course of their meal.
If you haven't heard of Patbingsu head over to Snowbean Cafe. It's a popular Korean dessert which consists of shaved ice with sweet toppings such as chopped fruit, condensed milk, among other things. I got green tea (matcha) shaved ice with sweet and crunchy cereal and condensed milked. Think matcha cereal and go grab a bowl to enjoy out by their lake view!
Matcha items rotate on a regular basis, but none are quite as satisfying as the twice-baked matcha almond croissant. This item isn't available during the week, but look for it on the weekends if you can possible tear yourself away from getting a doughnut or pop tart.
Sun Pearl has an intense amount of baked goods to go through with several options for matcha lovers. Japanese matcha red bean bun and a green tea roll just to name a few. This place is cash only, so don't forget your literal green.
I found Jackie's Bakery at Tasty Takeover and of course I was led by the smell of mini doughnuts. I was excited to see a matcha doughnut on the menu along with other fun flavors. If you see them around town and they have matcha doughnuts make sure to grab one or twelve.
If you see me at Foxtail there is a 97% chance I will have an iced matcha in hand. They mix their matcha much better than Starbucks and the taste is smoother to me. This is probably my most frequently visited matcha spot at the moment. I'm just waiting for that matcha nitro on tap to make another appearance.
Over at the UCF location it's not just about cool treats. Students and locals can sit down and chill with a matcha latte while they study and stress over finals.
Photo Courtesy @mayanderhy_xo on Instagram
Yes doughnuts apply to this list because Celine, owner of Valkryie Doughnuts is a genius and rotates matcha flavors into their mix on the regular! The top right is a strawberry matcha doughnut. Check her daily flavors on Instagram and pounce on that matcha when you can!
This one might be harder to find for you matcha lovers, but Mercantile is a mobile coffee cart that pops-up around town at events. Don't always expect matcha on the menu but you can reach out to him on Instagram to find out where he will be and what he will have on tap.
There is so much to drool over at Seito Sushi (Baldwin Park is my preferred location) but save room for dessert because you will find matcha on the menu. Their dessert menu includes a matcha cheesecake, but a fellow food lover also captured this glorious bowl of matcha ice cream.
Photo Courtesy @Moodybleue on Instagram
A sushi dinner in Altamonte isn't complete without a sweet ending. At Ootoya you can get matcha ice cream sandwiches made with a soft waffle shell with a little chocolate drizzle.
Head over to Pine Hills to find a magical place called Bambu. Over the top, ostentatious, colorful furniture and many options for quick treats can be found here. I got a matcha ice slush as well as a Hong Kong Waffle with matcha ice cream. I have a feeling this will be my summer chill spot.
Whole Foods Mochi Freezer
One of my favorite bite-sized treats is over at the Whole Foods mochi freezer. There are six to eight flavors in there, but you should always find matcha as a regular option. The coffee one is pretty amazing as well. Don't throw these in the fridge, they will melt. Freezer only!
Inside the Plant Street Market you will find two of the nicest guys you could ever talk tea with. They have a staggering amount of leaves to choose from, but most importantly they have matcha! They can also intelligently tell you all about it's many health benefits and how to make your own at home.
Photo Courtesy @Antiquiteas on Instagram
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
I leave it to some of my most trusted foodie friends to find gems like this. Dafoodie took this shot of a 21 layer green tea crepe at Gyu-Kaku and I was shook! I haven't tried it yet, but it is on the list.
Image Courtesy of @DaFoodie
From desserts like Sno, Bubble Tea, and Taiyaki (pictured below) Ice and Bites over near UCF has several matcha options to try out.
You'll find a great hub for studying or conversation over at Vespr on the East side of town. It's always tempting to try their newest coffee concoctions, but if you need something else a matcha latte will always be there waiting for you.
Photo Courtesy @mie_desu on Instagram
You know those tourist-trap strip centers on International Drive that we all almost exclusively stay away from? Well one of them houses Mr. Cool, where you can get the trendy rolled ice cream. Pick your flavor, add up to three toppings and watch your dessert go from liquid to rolled ice cream in minutes.
Living in College Park, I have so many restaurants to choose from on any given night, but Jade is one of my favorites both for take-out and dine in. I've had some delicious sushi, Korean Fried Chicken, ribs, and the list goes on. But lets talk about these matcha desserts! Amazing dishes like the only captured below aren't always available, as they are chef specials, but matcha ice cream is always on the menu and their cheesecake is usually available on the weekends. I really want to get my hands on this beauty though.
Photo Courtest: @MichelleLovestoEat on Instagram
Photo Courtesy of @czarinam1 on Instagram
All Boba spots will have matcha, but Quickly Boba takes it to another level with matcha ice cream sandwiches, macarons, and milk teas.
All food pics are mine unless otherwise credited and all matcha items photographed by me were paid for by me.