An almost-comprehensive guide to Matcha in Oxford

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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What The Dog Saw

Minus the dog plus my camera.

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Just one look at the clock tells me it’s high time for another musical and visual sharing!

Eins: Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Multi-Love (2015)

Last summer while I was in America, the no. 1 conversation starter I used with strangers was music. The majority of dialogues would look like ‘Hi, what’s your name? And your favourite band? NO WAY, I find Alt-J great as well! But do you also love Arcade Fire???’

I was lucky to meet people who introduced me to several great bands and singers – among other things – but one band I hadn’t discovered during that summer was Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

One friend kept mentioning them to me all the time and kept asking whether I’ve finally played their albums. ‘Umm yesss…’, ‘Tomorrow I will…’ and ‘Almost…’ was what I replied for 3 months and the first time I’ve played them was probably December.

Better latte than never, I told myself while sipping from a gigantic mug full of coffee milk, and immediately regretted my procrastination.

Therefore, my dear readers, I don’t want you to make the same mistake. If you’re into psychedelic rock (whoops, are you?! Hopefully), here’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra‘s latest and best-reviewed album called Multi-Love. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByYvTra8zWw&list=PLAnADJJTXDSq45D-a4pv_65CwIEErpXsf

Zwei:

I’ve developed photos from my old and unpredictable camera and few of them turned out well, should you wish to see them:

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We made cauliflower pizza and it tasted like the real thing! Definitely talking about that craziness one day.

 

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Let It Happen

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Hiya!

These past few days have been such a lesson for me that I need to share!

If you know me, then you probably know I’m quite an open person. Somehow I don’t mind talking about the things I struggle with – even with strangers. Now I’m not saying this to boast or anything because I don’t think it’s necessary a good quality (actually I have some bad stories to tell as well!).

But. What I’ve learnt is that people are like mirrors in the ways they respond to your approach. You know it, you say „Hey, that’s a pretty skirt!“ and the next thing you hear is „Thanks, I love your jacket!“ At least for most of the time.

And this principle, thankfully, works in the ‘deeper’ spheres as well.

You’ll never know whether others aren’t going through the same battles until you speak about yours out loud. It’s hard, sure, but it brings healing OH so often.

As I’ve said, I do talk about my ‘issues’, but only selected ones. Usually, the ones that I’ve more-or-less managed to cope with, or the ‘very common ones’. Once someone mocked or laughed at something I revealed, I knew that that’s it and I’m done talkin’ to ya.

But in these past days, I decided to be open about some hardest struggles, and I don’t even know how this happened, but people responded in such a way I was astonished. Suddenly I was not the only one in the world fighting with doubt, fear or instability! There were, actually, loads of us! And though we didn’t instantly cure each other’s ‘illnesses’, I believe that just talking about them brought some healing.

Scientists know that one of the best ways to help someone going through hard times is simply being present, listening and trying to understand (great short video by Brené Brown on empathy). Brené Brown is also probably the most famous vulnerability expert, and her TEDx talk ‘The Power of Vulnerability’, with over 6 million views (the 4th most viewed TED talk), brought this issue to a much greater light.

So my today’s CTA (call to action) for us all is: Let it happen! Talk more about the real things going on inside you (if there are, obviously. Don’t make them up just to look more empathetic).

Let’s fight for and not against each other. And eventually experience…

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Blurred out of the bus, but the meaning is clear

Bottom line: Let It Happen by Tame Impala

Blog post #1

My dear reader chum, you’re just about to start reading my blog post numero_uno. Stressful, right?! For me definitely. Writing, not reading, that is. Anyways.

This pilot post is actually an excerpt from my journal (ugh, this personal this early? #whereismymind) which I wrote a week ago as I got back from KPM, a conference for Christian youth leaders. This was my 6th time, and even though KPM are probably my favourite days of the year, I was not overly excited about this years’ one. Why, well simply because I didn’t feel like listening, talking, singing or praying to God a lot at all.

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Deny, a millimetre of me, and 668 more people at the conference!

But, as everyone except for me would expect, things turned out rather differently than I thought they would. As a result of having conversations with friends who asked me hard questions, of speakers who were willing to openly talk about their hardships and close dependence on God the Father, and, mainly, thanks to Him, who never stopped pursuing me, even if I did…

I got back home and realized, once again, that:

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A quote by C. S. Lewis, my fav

Good. Good… GOOD!!!

That is the only thing I need to know about the time spent with you, God.

With you my life is safe.

With you, life becomes the opposite of vegetating. It blossoms.

With you, there is not only a better tomorrow but a better today.

With you, there’s a purpose in our 76.3 years on planet Earth.

With you, there are lots of positive emotions to be felt – such as authentic joy, real hope, the greatest love of all etc.

With you there’s a potential.

With you it’s not only you but also your huge family, community, church, call it what you want.

With you being the first and most important, all the small ‘earthly’ pleasures happen to be at the right place – spending the whole day reading Vogue and listening to Ezra Furman, fitness-foodie obsessions, binge watching all movies by Woody Allen…

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I keep re-learning this the hard way

 

I love how the Psalm 16 begins and ends.

I say to God, “Be my Lord!”
    Without you, nothing makes sense.

Ever since you took my hand,
    I’m on the right way.” Psalm 16: 2, 11