If you love Japanese culture or are somewhat of a tea aficionado, you probably know about the craze that is matcha tea, and if you haven’t—well you might want to try this sweet yet earthy, green drink. The coffee culture in Denver is impressive with its bold beans and bravado, but if you can’t handle the caffeine in the throes of the elevated Colorado heat, matcha is a lighter and cooler safe bet. Plus we dig the bright green color that reminds us of grass on a summer day. Matcha is also good for you. Made from green tea powder, one cup of matcha tea is said to help prevent cancer, promote weight loss, reduce heart disease, detoxify the body and lower the risk for diabetes, among other things.
We’re not in Tokyo, but you can still find tasty tea in the Mile High City. Make sure you check out one of these nine best places to find matcha drinks in Denver.
Blue Sparrow Coffee
Where: 3070 Blake St. #180, Denver
Order: Matcha Latte (hot or iced), Matcha Soda
Cost: $4 (smallest size)
The Lowdown: This newer coffee shop in RiNo is proud of its hip, espresso culture, but they also serve a great matcha latte and have fully embraced the art of matcha-making. Blue Sparrow Coffee’s organic house matcha is a sweet mix, but they also offer a more traditional, unsweetened version. You can order an iced or hot Matcha Latte, or ask for a Matcha Soda that’s made by pouring unsweetened matcha over sparkling water with a dash of agave for sweetness. In addition to the drinks, Blue Sparrow also sells retail jars of matcha and matcha kits, so that you can make the tea at home.
Where: 1575 Boulder St. Suite B, Denver
Order: Matcha (hot or iced)
Cost: $3 (smallest size)
The Lowdown: Maci Café in LoHi prides itself on its returning local customers, and we fell in love with this sunny spot too. This café serves tasty breakfast and lunch items, but the matcha was also blended to perfection. Enjoy an iced or hot Matcha on the outdoor patio and sip satisfaction. This earthy drink is best served with soymilk instead of whole milk. We promise your taste buds will thank us.
Steep Tea & Coffee
Where: 4100 8th Ave., Denver
Order: Matcha Chiller, Green Tea Latte, Matcha Green Tea Smoothie
Cost: $3.75, $3.65, $6.95 (smallest size)
The Lowdown: Just like the Trader Joe’s beside it, Steep Tea & Coffee is always packed and it’s no wonder why. This corner tea store serves calming, aromatic and delicious brews along with a variety of coffee drinks and smoothies its customers crave. We’re not surprised to find matcha on the menu many times, but three drinks catch our eye. The Matcha Chiller is made with matcha, Boulder Blues green tea and lemonade and tastes cool, citrusy and refreshing, while the green tea latte is a little lighter with matcha, milk, honey and vanilla. You can even get the matcha green tea smoothie for extra energy. Mixed with organic matcha powder, lime juice, pineapple, banana, ginger, spinach, avocado, honey and almond milk, this treat sure is tasty and filled with nutrients.
Pigtrain Coffee Company
Where: 1701 Wynkoop St., Denver
Order: Matcha Tea Latte (iced or hot)
Cost: $4.55 (smallest size)
The Lowdown: Union Station is a great place to get work done, socialize and sightsee, but Pigtrain Coffee Company inside the historic station downtown is also a great place to grab a mean Matcha Tea Latte. This coffee shop’s Matcha Tea Latte is best served shaken and poured over ice with coconut milk and honey for added taste. It’s the perfect afternoon treat.
SONDER Coffee & Tea
Where: 9731 E. Iliff Ave., Denver
Order: Matcha Latte (hot or iced), Matcha Lemonade, Summer Meadow Matcha Mocktail
Cost: $3.80, $4.50, $4.50 (smallest size)
The Lowdown: SONDER Coffee & Tea is an airy, chic coffee shop near Aurora that’s worth the stop if you’re in the neighborhood — or out of the neighborhood. This place is always coming up with new coffee concoctions, but its summer matcha drinks are just as unique. A regular matcha latte served iced or hot is made using organic matcha with no fillers or sweeteners, but you can add SONDER’s vanilla or honey-lavender housemade syrups if you need something sweet. You can also get a housemade matcha lemonade, or a Summer Meadow Matcha mocktail, a non-alcoholic drink made with matcha tea, strawberry, housemade basil syrup and a splash of sparkling water. These fresh, summery drinks will make your mouth water.
Death & Co.
Where: 1280 25th St., Denver
Order: Matcha Latte (hot or iced)
The Lowdown: Death & Co.’s Denver location is similar to its New York flagship, but has a completely unique drink menu we’re obsessed with. You can sip a swanky cocktail here, but don’t skip trying this daytime cafe DC/AM where you can get a mean matcha latte. Served iced or hot, Death and Co.’s matcha tea drink is whisked to-order and is lightly sweetened with local honey or housemade vanilla syrup. After one sip, you’ll definitely come back for more.
Amethyst Coffee Co.
Where: 1111 Broadway #101, Denver
Order: Matcha Latte (hot or iced)
The Lowdown: This popular coffee shop is the true gem of South Broadway when it comes to cozy hangouts and sipping steaming espresso drinks, so we’re not shocked to learn the baristas at Amethyst Coffee Co. have also mastered their Matcha Latte. This drink is satisfying when hot, but we also really love it on ice with cocoa powder on top.
Teatulia Tea Bar
Where: 2900 Zuni St., Denver
Order: Matcha Mate, Matcha Latte (hot or iced), Matcha Lemonade
Cost: $4.50 each
The Lowdown: The LoHi neighborhood of Denver has a great food and drink scene, so we’re not surprised that Teatulia Tea Bar is mixing up perfect summer drinks made with matcha. With an assortment of teas from all around the world, Teatulia has many brews you can buy, but our three favorite matcha drinks hit the spot on a hot day. Teatulia’s matcha latte is served iced or hot and can be sweetened using vanilla and agave, or ordered “naked,” where it’s unsweetened. The matcha lemonade has more of a kick and is made with local Big B’s Lemonade and includes fresh sprigs of mint, which add a nice hint of coolness. Lastly, the matcha mate is the most caffeinated drink on the menu. It features the earthiness of the matcha you love along with yerba mate tea complimented by a light twist of lime. Whichever drink you get, we promise you’ll love it. And don’t miss Matcha Mondays at Teatulia, when all matcha drinks are $1 off.
Sapor Coffee & Concepts
Where: 2795 Speer Blvd. #17, Denver
Order: Matcha Latte (hot or iced), Midori
Cost: $4, $6
The Lowdown: Sapor Coffee & Concepts is one of 303’s favorite new coffee shops, so if you’re heading up Speer, make sure you drop in. This sleek, spacious location is gorgeous with white walls and modern décor, and the artistic matcha drinks are no exception to the trendy aesthetic. Order a hot or iced matcha latte made with luscious matcha powder, or try the seasonal iced Midori drink, a matcha and kombucha blended beverage that smells like watermelon and freshly cut lawn. If this isn’t refreshing for you, we don’t know what is.
Photography by Kyle Cooper, unless otherwise noted.