San Diego is most known for its miles of white sandy beaches and being home to two of America’s favorite animal-filled attractions—Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. But, during the last several years, this SoCal city is upping its game as a hot Matcha scene. From Matcha milk teas to frothy lattes, here are the top 5 places to get a hot or cold Matcha drink in San Diego.
5497 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
Open Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.
[Source: GuilTea Cravings USA Facebook]
Not only is their name clever and their menu full of colorful and delicious treats, GuilTea Cravings makes some dang good green tea. Locals rave about their coconut Matcha milk tea, but you can also get a regular Matcha milk tea, one made with honey almond milk, Matcha soy lattes and Matcha frappes. If you’re indecisive (don’t worry, most of us are), the friendly staff will offer you a few drink samples if you ask. But it’s really the macarons and macaron ice cream sandwiches that draw the crowds. The Oreo and Fruity Pebbles macaron ice cream sandwiches are sweetly succulent, and of course, you can get a Matcha one as well.
2. Kung Fu Tea
4869 Convoy St.
Open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
[Source: Kung Fu Tea San Diego Facebook]
While this is a national chain, I can’t keep it off this list just because of that—not when it makes such quality teas. The Matcha Red Bean Slush is a go-to, as is the Matcha milk green tea, made with more tea than milk, which is how it should be! If you need more reasons to come here, I’ve got them. This location has a fun modern, hipster vibe, is a great place to chill or even study, the workers are very welcoming and attentive and even when the lines are long (like right after dinner) they’re pretty fast at getting drinks out.
3. Cafe Bassam
3088 Fifth Ave.
Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.
[Source: Peyri Herrera—Flickr]
Cafe Bassam is truly a unique San Diego experience. It’s a quirky and quaint coffee shop that offers an amazing selection of loose leaf teas. The Matcha green tea latte has the ideal frothiness, but some have said it’s pretty sweet, so if your sweet tooth is a little sensitive then opt for an unsweetened version. Cafe Bassam’s chai tea lattes are another good drink option, and always perfectly spiced.
5575 Balboa Ave. #330
Open Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 12 a.m., Sundays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
[Source: 85C Bakery Cafe – USA Facebook]
This cute bakery has various locations in California, and when you see and taste just how many good menu items they offer, you’ll quickly understand why Californians need more than one of these bakeries. The danishes, the puff pastries, the cakes—they’re all to-die-for. As far as Matcha drinks, get the iced Matcha latte or the hot green milk tea. They also sometimes offer Matcha flavored and colored desserts.
5. Holy Matcha
3118 University Ave.
[Source: Holy Matcha SD Facebook]
You’ll notice hours aren’t listed for when this North Park cafe is open—that’s because it’s not open yet… It’s scheduled to open in the spring of 2017. Why put it on this list? Well I’m having faith that someone opening San Diego’s first Matcha-focused cafe is going to do an awesome job. They’ll serve an everyday tea grade Matcha as well as a ceremonial grade Matcha that’s prepared and served the traditional way. You’ll also be able to get coffee, pastries and other snacks from Holy Matcha. So if you’re in town next spring, you better try this place out!