Bar combines superfood with superfun
Shanghai’s first dedicated Matcha Bar has been an immediate hit among the city’s young urbanites because it’s fresh, fun and looking good.
The Wes Anderson-inspired color hues kick off the fun vibes at La Matcha, located within a 10-square-meter space facing Jinxian Road. It’s right outside La Maison restaurant and visitors will see young girls pose in front of the bar’s eye-catching orange wall with a Matcha drink in hand.
The idea came from Olivia Mok’s obsession with matcha as a daily drink. When the venue outside La Maison became available, Olivia Mok, Camden Hauge and Charlie Qian created a partnership and got everything up and running within three weeks.
La Matcha is designed to create a bridge between what could be considered a traditional drink and today’s young urban consumer by approaching matcha using creative, colorful and unique flavor combinations to make it “taste good to feel good.”
Matcha’s history can be traced all the way back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) when the method of making powdered tea from steam-prepared dried tea leaves was brought to Japan. As the benefits of matcha become more widely recognized, it became the basis for the sophisticated art of Japanese tea ceremonies.
Matcha is a healthy superfood with four times more antioxidants than goji berries or dark chocolate, and over ten times more than regular green tea or coffee.
Its caffeine content provides clear-headed energy via high levels of L-Theanine, a feel-good amino acid that stimulates alpha brain waves to decrease stress — relaxing and energizing at the same time — which helps promote a calm, healthy metabolism and better digestion.
Understanding these health benefits and the drink’s cultural background, Mok, Hauge and Qian set out to revive matcha and create a matcha-based beverage menu comprised of classic matcha beverages alongside new, innovative drinks.
They researched how to pick the right matcha powder for product development — not easy because everything looked fun to try.
Classic matcha beverages are prepared using traditional whisk called chasen, while some are based on seasonal fruits, local superfoods or inspired by special collaborations.
Hauge said they wanted to do something creative but healthy. “Matcha is a superfood so we want to combine other superfood properties, for example, the anti-inflammatory activity from turmeric and the anti-oxidant property from butterfly pea,” she said.
Customers can increase their drink’s health benefits by adding supplements such as collagen and substituting monkfruit sweetener for sugar.
La Matcha will soon serve a range of matcha-based sweet treats to accompany their beverages.
Opening hours: 10am-8pm
Address: 210 Jinxian Rd
Average price: 35 yuan (US$ 4.91)