Within the last few years, matcha has become all the rave. Due to high levels of antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, matcha is becoming a healthier and cleaner alternative to coffee. You can now find matcha cafes in every major city in the United States, including San Diego. There are not many other cafes that specialize purely in matcha, which makes Holy Matcha that much more noteworthy.
Matcha is a type of green tea made from young tea leaves that are steamed, dried and finely grounded into a bright green powder. Dating back to 12th-century Japan, Zen monks would make bowls of matcha and drink them for lasting energy that would guide them through hours of meditation.
After seeing this ritual at its birthplace, Geraldine Ridaura returned back to her hometown with aspirations to bring matcha to her community. In 2017, she opened San Diego’s first matcha cafe –– Holy Matcha. Since then, Ridaura’s small business has received tons of support from locals and visitors stopping by.
As a native San Diegan, I was excited to finally try one of these highly sought-after lattes. The menu includes all types of beverages, from a simple ceremonial cup of matcha to flavored matcha lattes and lemonades. Light bites, like avocado toast and chia pudding, are also available.
When entering the cafe, I immediately noticed the inviting and vibrant decor. The walls were light pink with accents of tropical leaf wallpaper, and there were cute marble tables with pink seating. Plants and Holy Matcha merch were also present throughout the cafe. This cafe definitely seemed Instagram worthy.
The staff was extremely friendly and knowledgeable about each drink as well as the matcha ritual itself. Upon ordering, I decided to try the latte called the Thai Coconut Matcha, which includes coconut cream, matcha and coconut milk. This drink only comes iced, but there were many other options if I wished for a warm beverage.
Although I had not tried many matcha drinks before, this coconut matcha latte was delicious. The matcha was rich in flavor, with sweet, nutty and vegetal notes. The drink was creamy and had the perfect amount of coconut flavor. It wasn’t too overbearing, and all the flavors mixed together harmoniously.
This latte was $6, but other Holy Matcha drinks range from $5.75 to $8. Although this is more on the expensive side, I think it was worth it. Each drink is made with high-quality ingredients, giving it the rich taste everyone loves.
After getting the chance to ask Ridaura a couple of questions, I noticed how passionate she was about her business and how knowledgeable she was about matcha.
“I’ve known all of its benefits prior to owning my business, which is why I wanted to do so and spread light on such an amazing and ancient ritual,” Ridaura said. “San Diego is plagued by coffee shops, and I needed to create a specialty shop dedicated to matcha only.”
Learning about Ridaura’s story and being able to try matcha the right way has led me to grow an appreciation for the ritual and the bright green powder. I know that I will try to seek ways to incorporate matcha into my everyday life, as the health benefits are endless.
If you’re ever in San Diego after the pandemic ends, remember to visit at least one of the two Holy Matcha locations and support a small local business!