Brooklyn cafe specializes in unique ingredient

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Stefanie Chan

Matchabar’s specialties, a chocolate cupcake with matcha icing, a matchaccinno, iced matcha and a matcha latte, like almost everything else in the cafe, promote and glorify the incredibly nutritious powder form of the green tea leaf.

Lingyi Hou, Contributing Writer

If you want to taste authentic matcha and reap the health benefits it provides, MatchaBar, located at 93 Wythe Ave., is a cafe that should not be missed. This spot, which is the first American restaurant focused entirely on matcha, recently opened in Brooklyn.

Founded by two brothers, NYU alumni Max and Graham Fortgang, MatchaBar is committed to uplifting and motivating people through the power of matcha. The major health benefits that can be gained by drinking matcha are impressive.

Matcha contains nearly 35 milligrams of caffeine per gram. MatchaBar’s standard beverages are made with two grams of matcha (about 70 milligrams per cup) — equivalent to two-thirds of a cup of coffee. However, it is much less jarring than your typical cup of joe, as it has an extended release time of around three to five hours, unlike coffee, which has caffeine that hits the drinker all at once. Most importantly, as matcha is ground into powder from the finest part of green tea leaves, the antioxidants per cup of matcha drink are 10 times greater than in green tea.

Graham Fortgang finds the less intense caffeine source beneficial and wants to share matcha’s benefits with the community.

“You know, life in New York is always busy and rushed,” Fortgang said. “People have to handle many different things at one time. As native New Yorkers, my brother and I were always drinking coffee to keep energetic. But we found it was too addictive, strong and easy to get sick of, so we want to find an alternative. Matcha probably is the best alternative we find. So we want to share its power with our community. We warmly welcome all NYU students, our schoolfellows — come here to have a try.”

With a wide variety of Matcha offerings such as drinks, sandwiches, pastries and noodles, MatchaBar satisfies matcha-lovers’ taste buds with innovative flavors. Its signature dishes are the Kale, Matcha-Mole & Goat Cheese Sandwich ($8) and Ice-Water Mini Matcha ($4.50), which features an exquisite creamy taste and electric color. Matcha mochi and cookies are available on weekends. All the matcha found at MatchaBar is sourced directly from a traditional Japanese family farm.

MatchaBar will also host a speakeasy, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. beginning in late October. They plan to invite jazz bands or DJs to the bar and change the dining area into a dance floor, serving sake, wine and beer.

As matcha- and green tea-inspired foods are becoming more and more popular in the United States, a huge diversity of foods incorporating the ingredients have been emerging on the market. From ice cream to cakes, many foods are incorporating the traditional Japanese flavors, and it seems fitting that there is now a restaurant dedicated to serving matcha specialties.

Email Lingyi Hou at [email protected]