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Cafe Guide: Where to find the best matcha latte in New Zealand

Cafe Guide: Where to find the best matcha latte in New Zealand.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably found yourself in a similar position to where we once were. 

You stumbled upon matcha or green tea for the first time through a latte, ice cream, or cake, and discovered that you quite enjoy the unique, earthy flavour. You’ve decided that, yes, matcha is for me, and thus you’ve begun your journey towards becoming a matcha girly. 

Welcome to the club sis, it’s trending for a reason. 


What is matcha? Is it different from green tea? 


Matcha and green tea, commonly used interchangeably, are actually different products produced from the same plant. The key differences between matcha and green tea come down to how each is grown, harvested, processed and consumed.

If we widdle it down to the basics, matcha leaves are shaded prior to being harvested, before they are steamed and stone-grounded into a fine powder. 

With green tea, the leaves are not shaded prior to being harvested, and they are processed by steaming and drying the leaves. When you drink green tea, you steep the dried leaves in hot water, making it similar to other traditional teas. Matcha on the other hand is a fine powder mixed into drinks using a bamboo or electric whisk.  

Matcha beverages come in all shapes and sizes. You’ve got matcha teas, matcha lattes, iced matcha drinks, hot matcha drinks, so many matcha’s! 



Why we switched to matcha:

Though we've been drinking green tea lattes from Starbucks since 2006, we properly switched over to matcha as our daily drink 10 years ago after being avid coffee drinkers. Although coffee gave us that robust kick to start the day, it also produced an undeniable caffeine crash in the afternoon that made us feel heavy and lethargic. After years of drinking coffee, the crash started to feel increasingly unsustainable. So we made the switch. 

Like coffee, matcha also contains caffeine, however it also has a unique amino acid called L-Theanine. The combination of caffeine and L-Theanine creates a synergy that results in a slower, more sustained release of energy throughout the day. This was exactly what we were looking for — a gentle, prolonged boost without the sudden highs and lows associated with coffee.

So begins the search, what makes a good matcha latte?

When we first began our search, we were coming across one of two types of matcha lattes:

  1. The ultra-sweet, milky, starbucks-esque matcha. 
  2. The terribly bitter and grassy matcha. 

We believe that a good matcha latte starts with the type of matcha powder used. Culinary grade matcha powder, which is usually more bitter, is typically intended for cooking. For a matcha latte, premium grade matcha is what you’d look for. Premium grade matcha powder produces a smooth and delicate consistency, with a delightful umami or savoury flavour.

Whether you prefer your matcha sweet or not is entirely up to you! We personally enjoy our matcha lattes with a little honey for a more complex flavour. 

Where to find the best matcha lattes in New Zealand:

With the upwards trend in matcha over the last couple years, we’ve seen a greater presence of matcha lattes in cafes across the country. But with its growing popularity has also come an increased number of low quality matcha lattes. 

Lucky for you, we’ve done the mahi. There are so many places now selling matcha lattes on menu - lucky us. Take a look at our list. 

Auckland:

Scarecrow — Victoria St, Auckland CBD

Scarecrow don’t just make great drinks, they’re also a florist, grocer and serve a full menu of delicious Mediterranean-inspired food. 

Located on the corner of Victoria and Kitchener street, this cosy cafe can’t be missed if you’re in Auckland CBD. 

Scarecrow Auckland Cafe Matcha Latte
Photo: Scarecrow Instagram.

 

Swings — Kitchener St, Auckland CBD

Swings Matcha Latte Auckland Cafe

Brought to you by the same owners as Ockhee in Ponsonby, Swings is a delightful little cafe with exposed brick interiors, stainless steel fittings and chill vibes all round. 

Their matcha lattes cannot be missed. They are perfectly executed with incredible smoothness and a little bit of sweetness. 

Be sure to also try their Korean toasted sandwiches, burgers and snacks. 

Tobi — Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby

Tobi Ponsonby matcha latte

Photo cred: Clara Zhang

Located on Ponsonby Road is Tobi, an all-day eatery operating every day of the week. Having just opened last November, this eatery is already a huge hit. 

With seating up to 120 people, this place is perfect for both a weekend brunch and a lively dinner atmosphere.


Candyshop — Osborne Lane, Newmarket

Serving brunch with a Korean twist is Candyshop, a trendy cafe tucked behind the main street of New Market. 

Candyshop say themselves that they make a “pretty mean matcha”, and we can’t help but agree.  

This popular cafe pops off all days of the week, so make sure to get in early or book in on weekdays. 

Candyshop Cafe matcha latte
Photo: Candyshop Instagram.


Honest Chocolat — Lower Albert Street, Commercial Bay 

Honest Chocolat Matcha Latte Auckland Cafe

Originating from Matakana is Honest Chocolat, a decadent chocolate bar and boutique located on the ground floor of Commercial Bay.

A menu highlight of theirs is the Matcha White Chocolate made with vegan white chocolate and organic Thea matcha. 

Try it out next time you’re in town! 


Wellington:

Pour & Twist — Garret St, Wellington 

Photo: Pour and Twist Instagram

A personal favourite of ours is Pour & Twist, Aotearoa's first and only fully manual brew bar. 

Their matcha drinks are incredibly popular and for good reason. 

Swing by and watch them prepare your matcha using a traditional bamboo whisk. A must-try if you’re in Wellington central. 




The Oatery — Cuba St, Wellington 


Love porridge? The Oatery is the porridge bar of your dreams. 

Serving up a diverse menu of toasts, oats, and drinks, this quaint cafe situated on Wellington’s famous Cuba Street is the perfect breakfast spot. 

Grab a matcha to go perfectly alongside your morning meal. 

 

Hamilton:

Frank Foods — Tristram Street, Hamilton Central

Photo: Frank Food Instagram

Located on the ground floor of the Parkhaven building in central Hamilton is Frank Foods. 

Open 7 days a week, this cafe is very passionate about their kai and serving up beautiful healthy foods. 

Kudos to their barista Sarah for always making a gorgeous matcha latte. 


Golden State Coffee — Barbush, Hamilton

Photo: Golden State Coffee Instagram

Serving delicious food and drinks out of an adorable yellow food truck is Golden State Coffee. 

They’ve mastered the art of the matcha latte adding a touch of vanilla syrup with coconut or oat milk. 

Find them in Barbush Tuesday to Friday. 

Wānaka:

Scroggin Coffee — Ardmore St, Wānaka


Found yourself in Wānaka? Lucky for you, Scroggin Coffee is serving up immaculate vibes and delicious kai.

Inspired by the beautiful Wānaka landscape, this coffee and eatery is open everyday of the week boasting delectable pastries, oats, salads, toasts and more! 

Scroggin feels homely and a cafe we’d like to stay at for a while. 



Waiheke Island: 

The Loft — Tahi Rd, Waiheke Island 

Photo: The Loft Instagram

This cute gift shop has a cafe attached to it and is run by the lovely Sonja Read. You can find quirky gifting items that you can't find elsewhere. Come here for a bit of zen, do some shopping and enjoy the delicious matcha and drip coffee they have to offer.