Brooklyn, Meet Your Matcha

Photograph by Jane Bruce,  MatchaBar 93 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg

Is a borough allowed to have a signature beverage? If this question strikes you as somewhat ridiculous, well, ok. Us too, a little bit! But consider the fact that while food trends come and go (ramen burger, anyone?), the recent rise of Brooklyn’s high-end coffee purveyors, cold-pressed juice spots, and kombucha manufacturers has shown little sign of abating and seems far less trend-driven than lifestyle-driven. And now there’s a new drink that’s poised to become the next big thing in Brooklyn beverages: Matcha.

Sort of like a green alternative to coffee, matcha offers a caffeine-boost that’s comparable to a latte, while also having all the nutritional and antioxidant benefits of green tea. Plus, because matcha’s caffeine is released over the span of a few hours, there’s no crash and burn like you might get from coffee or energy drinks. How do we know all this? Simple: We stopped by Williamsburg’s MatchaBar and spoke with owner Graham Fortgang, who opened the shop with his brother, Max, last fall. Graham walked us through the many benefits of matcha and showed us photos of the small, family-run farm in Nishio, Japan, from which all MatchaBar’s tea is sourced.

Fortgang’s enthusiasm for matcha borders on the evangelical, but it’s easy to understand why once you try one of the many varied offerings; ranging from a refreshing iced watermelon-matcha blend to a nutty, creamy cinnamon hemp matcha latte to a classic, frothy whisked matcha tea, there’s something for everyone. Which is why even though we walked into MatchaBar a little skeptical that we’d ever consider trading in coffee for tea, we left toting a special bamboo matcha whisk so that we could start blending our own bowls of green goodness at home. What can we say? We want to believe.

MatchaBar 93 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg

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