Two things are undoubtedly great by themselves: Matcha and Oxford. Matcha – the Japanese green tea which usually comes in powdered form and contains many health benefits, has skyrocketed in popularity all over the world. Matcha lattés, ice-creams, cheesecakes, donuts and even Martinis, have recently filled our favourite coffee shop counters and pantries, and many rigorous coffee drinkers have converted to greener, healthier alternatives. And Oxford – well, Oxford does not really need an introduction.
So if the two – Matcha and Oxford – are both wonderful by themselves, does it also mean they do well together? Below, an attempt to answer.
Presuming you’ve found yourself close to Carfax tower in the city centre, I have some good knews: there’s a matcha waiting for you in the nearby vicinity of any direction you choose to take.
My personal recommendation is to start this quest in the Art Café – head west towards the train station down New Road, and soon you’ll pass the first stop. Here in this humble eatery you’ll find the most satisfying matcha latté you could dream of. Art Café is also good for vegetarian and vegan options, super-sweet cheesecakes and flapjacks. But let’s move on, we came here for the matcha and we’ll leave with the matcha (still hot in the takeaway cup because we have places to go).
Sipping on your latté as you head onto the streets; is it just me or do I hear you say and I wouldn’t say no to something sweet? Tempted by the cakes in the Art Café, weren’t you? Good. Jericho Coffee Traders on High street is your best bet right now and best in this case means exactly the following: their matcha cookies with white chocolate. I’d recommend getting there as early as possible or opt for the takeaway alternative as their seats are limited and popularity very high!
Should your starting point be Gloucester Green where you just got off the tube, a closer and very similar point of interest is the Organic Deli Café located in Friars Entry. Their menu is again great for vegetarians & vegans and speaking of matcha (because, you got it, that’s what we’re talking about) – the latté, smoothie (“Matcha Leche” with almond milk) and power balls are surely not to miss.
Wonderful. Now what? Now let’s change the scene a bit and assume it’s a clowdy day (which in Oxford it probably is), and all you want is the atmosphere of a cozy coffee shop with soothing soundtrack and, you guessed it, a matcha latté. The answer to both lies in an Oxford’s favourite Handlebar on St Michael’s st. Handlebar is a local café & restaurant with table service offering menu full of fresh seasonal dishes, homemade cakes and and comforting hot drinks, all surrounded by a hipstery environment (meaning bicycles hanging on walls tangled with strings of lightbulbs and Bon Iver playing in the background). What’s not to love.
A bit more up north, in the centre of Summertown shops lies a tiny hidden gem called the Modern Baker. Since 2010 Modern Baker has been serving healthier versions of cakes, pastries and hot drinks using solely organic ingredients. Apart from the staple matcha latté you’ll often find a matcha bite or a matcha carrot cake, both raw & vegan & low-sugar all whilst really tasty, so hop on a bike and enjoy yourself with no regrets.
In the mood for something more indulgent, preferably with a good dose of actual sugar? Not an issue. Barefoot in Jericho is the number one in Oxford’s own dessert shops and every now and then a matcha flavoured layered cake will pop up on their counter, so go have a look, if they have it you won the lottery!
Still haven’t had enough? If you’ve been following this article in every single stop, you must be 1) rather full by now and 2) certainly late for whatever evening plans you had. But none of this would really stop a true matcha enthusiast, that’s a given. There’s a last stop you need to make and it’s called G&D’s. Wherever you’ve found yourself, with their three locations spread across the town in Cowley Road, St Aldates, and Little Clarendon St, one is probably close. The clock strikes almost midnight but not to worry, they’re still open. Get yourself that heavenly matcha ice cream, snap, post with a caption “Nothing can matcha my happiness” and run. You made it. CONGRATULATIONS.