The 5 Best Matcha Shops in the San Francisco Bay Area

August 14, 2022

If you’ve spent any length of time on my blog, then you may know that I am obsessed with my morning caffeinated beverage. For the longest time, that was coffee, but recently, I have switched to matcha and have never looked back! So, I knew it was time to create a roundup of the 5 BEST Matcha Shops in the San Francisco Bay Area. All of these shops have become my go-to spots for matcha lately, and are truly the best!

As I prepare for the launch of my upcoming cookbook, LOVE TO EAT (coming in just two months!!) I have been relying on caffeine to help fuel me through the long days of preparing for the book launch. And while coffee has always been my go-to, when it comes to navigating high-stress situations, sometimes it can spike my anxiety and stress even further. Which is why in those moments, I love turning to matcha to get my caffeine fix.

While matcha and coffee are both similar in terms of their caffeine content, what makes them different is that coffee is more of an abrupt caffeine rush, while matcha is more of a slow burn. In other words, because your body takes longer to metabolize matcha, it doesn’t give you the “crash-and-burn” caffeine effect that coffee does.

If you are someone who tends to be more sensitive to caffeine, or the acidity in coffee, then matcha is a wonderful alternative. And for my San Francisco Bay Area friends, these are the best places to get your matcha fix!

What Makes a Good Matcha Shop

To me, a good matcha shop has to have a few key qualities. First, they need to use HIGH-QUALITY matcha. Not culinary matcha, or a soft green matcha powder, but a vibrant, green matcha that is sourced from Japan. While this matcha isn’t necessarily cheap, and a good cup of it will probably run you between $5-$7, authentic Japanese matcha truly cannot be beat. And, the high-quality of the matcha makes for a much more satisfying experience.

Next, a good matcha shop has beautiful variations. From a salty caramel matcha, to a rose matcha, to even a vanilla matcha, a fun twist on a matcha is always necessary to keep things more exciting. All of these shops offer variations on a traditional matcha latte, so if you like a little extra something to your matcha, then these are the perfect shops for you.

And finally, we want to consider other important factors. Is it walkable? Does it have multiple locations? Does it get really crowded on the weekends? Does it have a good ambiance?

All of these factors have gone into compiling this list. Call me a matcha snob, but I only want to share the best with you!

No. 1 – Third Culture (Berkeley, Walnut Creek, San Francisco)

Location(s): 2701 8th St. Berkeley CA – 1310 S California Blvd. Walnut Creek, CA – 1186 Valencia St. San Francisco CA

What to Order: While all of their signature matcha drinks are delicious, the Salted Caramel Matcha Latte is absolutely to-die for! And don’t forget to get one of their mochi muffins, they’re the best!

Third Culture started in Berkeley, Ca, after the founders fell in-love and merged their loves for Indonesian and Taiwanese cuisine. While they’re known for their signature treats, like their mochi muffins and donuts, it’s their matcha that is truly some of the best.

They source their matcha straight from farms in Kyoto, Japan, for a high-quality, delicious, and smooth flavor. Their traditional matcha latte is absolutely delicious, but it’s their salted caramel matcha latte that really does it for me. It’s a bold matcha latte topped with a delicious swirl of homemade caramel, which adds the perfect amount of sweetness!

And if caramel isn’t your thing, then their turmeric matcha latte is equally as delicious, with a slight peppery kick that adds the perfect touch. It’s the best!

No. 2 – Asha Tea House (Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco)

Location(s): 17 Kearny St. San Francisco – 2086 University Ave. Berkeley – 80 Grand Ave. Oakland

What to Order: Their signature matcha latte (hot or cold, with our without boba) is one that you truly cannot go wrong with! It’s a smooth and creamy treat that is the perfect kickstart to your day.

If a no-frills, traditional matcha tea house is up your alley, then Asha is the place for you! Here you won’t find crazy matcha flavors or concoctions, a la Third Culture, but you will find delicious, high-quality Japanese matcha at a relatively affordable price. The ambiance of Asha is dimly lit and zen, making it the perfect spot to curl up with a cup of matcha and a good book on a rainy day.

No. 3 – Tea on Piedmont (Oakland)

Location(s): 4098 Piedmont Ave. Oakland

What to Order: A classic matcha latte with your milk of choice and/or syrup add-in. It’s simple, yet delicious!

This brand-new tea house is a hidden gem; nestled among Oakland’s bustling Piedmont Ave. neighborhood, this delightful little shop is the perfect spot to grab a cup of matcha on your morning commute. Their matcha lattes were unbelievably creamy and frothy, and I highly recommend adding in the brown sugar syrup or strawberry puree for a sweet little addition. It’s the perfect way to brighten up any day, and, not to mention, tastes delicious with the matcha.

On a sunny day, I highly recommend coming coming into their light-filled shop, ordering a matcha (or two) and sitting down on one of the shop’s low benches. It’s the perfect ambiance for getting matcha with a friend, or for even taking yourself on a nice little solo date.

No. 4 – Boba Guys (Oakland, San Francisco)

Location(s): Many different locations across San Francisco and beyond!

What to Order: A matcha latte, with your milk of choice, either hot or cold. Just don’t forget to add-on the boba pearls- they’re the best!

While they have locations across the country, Boba Guys is a Bay Area institution. This quaint little boba shop can oven be seen packed to the brick with customers, almost any time of day. If you are fan of boba, then this is the place to go, and if you are a fan of matcha, then THIS is your one-stop shop!

Their ceremonial matcha powder is layered with milk of choice and fresh boba for a delightfully sweet treat. Plus, if you’re feeling a little fancy, they also have a delicious strawberry matcha latte that is perfect in the summertime!

No. 5 – Stonemill Matcha (San Francisco)

Location(s): 561 Valencia St. San Francisco

What to Order: The rose matcha latte is a slightly nutty, rosy, and sweet matcha that feels as luxurious as it tastes!

If Asha Tea House is the no-frills matcha spot, then Stonemill is its all-frills sister. Here, you can find the most delicious, intricately-made matcha lattes that are truly the ultimate treat. From strawberry to rose to black sesame matcha, their unique creations are refined and delicious, and the perfect way to treat yourself.

Plus, their rotating menu of Japanese-inspired small dishes and snacks pair perfectly with their matcha creations, making it one of my go-to San Francisco lunchtime spots!

If you decide to try out any of these coffee shops, be sure to let me know! Tag me in a post or a story on Instagram so we can enjoy a virtual coffee date, together! xx

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