Have I ever told you how much I like matcha tea? The first time I ordered a cup of matcha, I was in Copenhagen. I had flu and was in desperate need of a hot, healthy drink that could help me face the rest of the day. I was there for work, so I couldn’t just stay in my hotel room and sleep. Not knowing exactly where to go, I headed for a Emmery’s and saw that they served matcha tea. “It has a kind of grassy taste”, my colleague told me. “It will do you good”. So I tried, and I didn’t really like it. It was a deep shade of green, powdery, and definitely too strong. But somehow I became curious about it and did some research.
The secrets of matcha tea
Green tea has an evocative power. It reminds me of tea plantations, Zen monasteries, low tables, cherry blossoms, mountain streams and white rice. It tastes of leaves and earth. Green tea is less fermented than black tea, and therefore contains more antioxidants. If you go to specialized tea shops, you’ll be offered different types of tea, depending on the country of origin or the plantation. In Milan, at La teiera eclettica (more about this soon), I usually buy Java tea, which has a sweet flavour and big leaves. Matcha tea is grown only in Japan and still cultivated by traditional methods. After harvesting, the leaves are steamed and air dried. Then they destemmed and deveined, becoming tencha. Finally, tencha is grounded and becomes matcha. It is one of the healthiest teas, rich in anti-oxidants, fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins.
Macha Café in Milano
After my experience in Copenhagen, I gave matcha a second chance. And I was right, because I got used to its flavour and now I’m quite addicted to it. The best thing about matcha? The green powder can be used also in cakes, icecream and chocolate. I’ve recently found a coffee shop in Milan called Macha Café, which has quickly become one of my favourite places to go for lunch or tea break. The interior look both Nordic and Japanese, and I guess this is where the East meets the West. The place is small and cozy, with soft cushions, a common table and a few more seats. You go in, look at the menu, order, pay and pick a table. The soft, green pillows match the colour of tea. Some details are exquisitely Japanese, like the delicate flowers on the walls and the Japanese notebooks on the shelves.
Bowls, cakes, sushi and pokè
All dishes have something green in it. Avocado toast, vegan bowl with tofu and edamame, salmon sandwich, pancakes, sushi bowls and pokè bowls. The hardest thing is to choose. As for the sweets, I’m particularly fond of their matcha caprese, made with tea and almonds, and matcha & blueberry cheesecake. But they also have chocolate and muffins, plumcake, vegan cheesecake and tiramisù. Matcha tea is served hot or cold, and you can also order matcha latte or smoothies.
Macha Cafè is in Porta Nuova, next to Moscova underground station (green line). Now they’ve opened another shop in Porta Vittoria, near Duomo (red and yellow lines); and in viale Piave, near Porta Venezia underground station (red line). In the afternoon, you might meet students who study together at the common table, foreigners with their laptop and locals who love matcha tea.