It’s been awhile, huh? And by awhile i mean nearly two months. Oof. When i first started writing, I set myself a strict “one-post-a-week” policy to keep me motivated. But then this funny little thing called school got in the way, and i needed to devote more of my writing time to research papers than to café research. I don’t need to spend much time telling you how crazy life got—whether because of work, the holidays, or other personal life matters, I’m sure you’ve experienced the same thing before—especially because the moral of the story is, I’m back.
Last week, i had two very dear french visitors in town. and so, unsurprisingly, i felt the need to show them the best, trendiest, most noteworthy wellness-y hotspots in Manhattan. One of these dear visitors has an affinity for matcha, which meant that i had to take them to New York City’s matcha wonderland, aka Cha Cha Matcha.
When Cha Cha Matcha first opened, I disregarded it as a tourist spot. There was always a line out the door (and often around the block) and the bright colors made it seem like a more of an Instagrammable destination than an actual café. I should probably mention that back when Cha Cha opened, I didn’t like matcha… which probably also contributed to my ambivalence. But somewhere down the line, matcha lattes grew on me, and so did Cha Cha Matcha.
This fall, I met a friend for a matcha latte on a Friday evening. I was smack in the middle of midterms, and probably only half present. As I rounded the corner onto Broadway, where their second location sits in NoMad, I groaned. There was a line out the door (not around the block, though). I was worried we wouldn’t be able to find a spot to sit, and that we wouldn’t be able to sit and genuinely catch up. To my surprise, the line moved fairly quickly, and by the time we sat down with our lattes, it felt calm inside. It didn’t hurt that the drink that I had ordered—the ginger turmeric matcha latte (with oat milk!)—totally won me over… enough that it earned a spot on my list of favorite golden milk lattes.
The thing that I like the most about Cha Cha Matcha is that there is something there for absolutely everyone. Whether you want a hot drink or an iced drink, a sweeter flavored latte or a stronger matcha tea, added dairy milk or a trendy vegan alternative, there are options to please any taste buds. It’s the kind of spot that’ll wow out-of-towners, but also the kind of place (to my surprise) to sit and catch up with a good friend. To date, though I’ve only ever ordered the ginger turmeric matcha (I get it, i’m predictable with my ginger & turmeric consumption…), I’ve tried probably half of the menu, thanks to friends with different drink orders. Here’s what I can recommend, other than the ginger turmeric matcha, of course:
—Matcha Chai: If you’re relatively new to matcha and are not totally sold on the flavor yet, but you love a good tea latte, this is the way to go. It’s exactly what it sounds like—matcha latte meets chai latte and has a slightly sweet, slightly spicy latte child. Get it with macadamia milk if you like the slight sweetness.
—Coconut Matcha Latte: Matcha latte diehards, this one is for you. It’s a classic matcha latte, but the use of coconut milk is brilliant and pairs wonderfully with matcha’s flavor. Simple, not too sweet, and with all the flavor of matcha that you love.
—Matcha Cappuccino: When my friend Maddy (who is a recipe creating genius, ps) offered me a sip of her matcha cappuccino, I promptly told her that I don’t like coffee. I figured that it was some sort of mix of an espresso drink and a matcha, even though that sounded like a terrible flavor combo to me. Turns out, it’s called a cappuccino because it uses less milk than a normal matcha latte. The matcha flavor is a little stronger than that of a latte, and is the perfect option for someone who doesn’t want their drink to be quite so milky.
—Peppermint Matcha Latte: This one is super seasonal, but was so cute + tasty that I couldn’t not mention it. If you like your drinks on the sweeter side, this is the latte for you. Served with a candy cane and a fresh sprig of mint (plus a little gingerbread man decoration on top), it had loads of holiday spirit. If you’re trying to like matcha, but find it a little bit bitter, the added flavors of this latte have your back. Like the matcha chai, it’s delicious with macadamia milk.
I’m normally quick to avoid any spot that could be described as a tourist attraction, and I’m generally also pretty quick to roll my eyes at something that’s been talked up or has taken over my Instagram feed, but I can confidently say that I do believe Cha Cha Matcha is worth the hype. Especially that ginger turmeric matcha latte, but I’ll shut up about that now, I promise…
Cha Cha Matcha, 373 Broome St. New York, NY 10013 and 1158 Broadway, New York, NY 10001