There’s an art to good matcha. Now that getting a semi-good cup is as easy as order, grab, and go, we seem to have forgotten this fact. The green tea powder boasts an impressive concentration of antioxidants, but they require special treatment. Prepare the matcha wrong, and you’re slashing the bioavailability of these health-boosting compounds. Save yourself the cash on the special equipment and just head over to Ippodo Tea in Murray Hill, where they know matcha backwards and forwards.
You’ve either walked right by Ippodo Tea or know its location for the Michelin-starred restaurant that calls the upper floor of this building home. (We’re talking, of course, of the famous vegetarian Japanese restaurant, Kajitsu.) The downstairs Matcha to Go counter is something of a secret, hidden in plain sight. It’s nestled into Kajitsu’s downstairs foyer and sandwiched in a row of brownstones on E 39th Street.
Matcha has antioxidants that prevent the build up of free radicals in your body. That means it’s one of the best drinks in NYC to help protect your cells and tissues from damage. (Not to be confused with CBD drinks in NYC, which are the best at keeping you chill.) And it’s especially high in catechins, the most powerful of which is EGCG.
Matcha, as all of you know, comes from the same plant as green tea. The health benefits of green tea have been well documented. The health-boosting beverage boasts scientific studies showing it can help you with everything from losing weight to preventing cancer. But whereas you steep traditional green tea in water and then discard it, you simply drink matcha without tossing anything. Since you ingest the actual plant, you get far more nutrients and antioxidants.
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Why you need to try Ippodo Tea
You won’t find any matcha powder laced with sugar here (looking at you, Starbucks). Order a matcha off this menu and you’ll get not only a fantastic drink but also a tea ceremony. The staffers here really know their tea, and the offerings span far beyond matcha. Unlike the standard coffee shop, they offer a wide range of options of just matcha. From “thick matcha” and “thin matcha” to lattes made with non-dairy mylk and even matcha slushes, you might be overwhelmed.
Let us help you out: start with a matcha latte, and watch them prepare it. They painstakingly heat the mylk to an exact temperature and whisk the matcha until there isn’t a lump in sight. They use unsweetened mylk, too. You get the natural sweetness from soy or almond, but there’s no sugar to cover up the true flavor of the matcha. It’s a latte in which the mylk enhances the star, matcha, instead of hiding it.
Where to find Ippodo Tea
Wander into Murray Hill and head over to 125 E. 39th Street. If you’re looking online, be sure you’re hunting down Ippodo Tea and not Ippudo, the popular ramen spot at Astor Place. You’ll find this grab-and-go matcha joint nestled between Park Ave and Lexington Ave on the uptown side of the street. Keep an eye out for the Grab-and-Go Matcha sign, otherwise you might miss it.