Matcha mania: Inside San Francisco’s new, one-of-a-kind Stonemill Matcha

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Matcha is one of those things I never got into. The ground powder of tea leaves and I never found our groove. To me, the ever-trendy matcha latte always tasted like grass floating in condensed milk. Turns out I probably wasn’t drinking the real thing.

I learned this on a recent visit to Stonemill Matcha, an upscale cafe in San Francisco’s Mission district that specializes in hand-crafted matcha drinks, stunning matcha pastries and farm-to-table versions of Japanese street food. Stonemill opened in May, and, yes, it’s just a cafe, but with hefty culinary cred, including pastry chef Mikiko Yui, formerly of State Bird Provisions and a few Tartine collaborations.

Matcha is religion here. General manager Yoojin Chung and her staff source their high-grade matcha directly from growers in Japan that pass the specific farming and processing guidelines for matcha. It must be grown under shade for at least 20 days and stone-ground using a mill — it takes 20 minutes for one serving, roughly a teaspoon — and ideally harvested in the spring to reveal more I-theanine, the amino acid that gives matcha its unique umami notes.

The vibe: The space is warm and chic, with pale yellow walls, blond wood tables and chestnut brown leather accents. Every delicate ceramic dish is imported from Japan and designed to hold a particular drink or food. Even though the cafe is order-at-the-counter, servers bring everything to your table.

The drinks: Good matcha tastes earthy and never bitter, unlike the sencha or hojicha most of us drink at home. Stonemill offers eight hand-crafted matcha drinks, including a Matcha Latte ($5), Mizudashi, or Cold Brew Matcha ($4.50) and Matchacano (yes, like an Americano) ($4.50). Two drinks stood out to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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