Green tea is one of the most popular teas in Asia, and its popularity has been steadily rising across the globe, and especially here in Toronto. With countless health benefits, and its sweet side, there’s little surprise green tea flavors are popping up all over. Using the flavor of green tea or matcha in desserts gives a taste like no other, and is a must-try. Matcha and green tea are actually the same with one difference. Green tea is first steeped in the leaves, which are removed when consuming. However, matcha is the process of grinding up those very leaves, which often results in a richer taste. High quality matcha used to be hard to come by in Toronto, but now there’s a lengthy list of places offering up that unique taste, with a Torontonian twist. Here’s our guide.
Uncle Tetsu offers a matcha variant of their light fluffy cheesecake. Additionally, they bake other desserts using matcha as the main ingredient, such as matcha madeleines, and ice cream. If you’re new to the matcha-scene, get the madeleines — buying three gets you the fourth for free. For most of their menu, red bean can be added for an additional flavor kick.
This Japanese cafe chain is serious about their tea. Originating in Japan in 1860, Tsujiri has mastered the art of matcha. They use some of the highest-quality matcha in all of Canada, and the taste backs this up. Offering a huge menu full of matcha goodies, sample the best of everything— try the ‘Tsujiri Sundae.’ The bottom is a layer of roasted crunchy brown rice, and builds up with red bean paste, topped off with a soft serve swirl of matcha ice cream. The sundae also comes with a sakura flower cookie, and shiratama (a chewy ball with mochi-like texture). If you’d like a more traditional approach, try their matcha latte for a beverage that does matcha justice.
Who doesn’t like gelato? While it’s already a near-perfect dessert, Kekou does it even better. This gelato joint has perfected the method of making gelato, and all flavors are made in-house. They also prepare, pasteurize, and age their own base from an open-kitchen. Kekou only uses real fruits and tea, which ensures authentic, pure taste to match their excellent gelato. Be adventurous: while green tea and whiskey seems an unlikely dessert marriage, fusing these two together creates a flavor that is rich with the welcome whiskey kick.
Originating from Taiwan, bubble tea is a versatile drink with tapioca and comes in more flavors than you could imagine. Gong Cha knows how to mix the perfect drink. With tons of ways to customize, you can make the drink just how you like it. Less ice and/or sugar? You got it — Gong Cha aims to tailor your tea to perfection. Try the matcha smoothie, or matcha milk tea with redbean. There are 14 different ways to top off the drink too. For first timers, not trying their iconic milk foam (sweet yet savory) would be a sin but matcha foam, basil seeds, or red bean are all great options too. Their menu is gargantuan for a tea house — separated into sections such as brewed, moustache (foam), creative mix, fresh milk, milk tea, ice smoothies, and coffee. Deciding which drink to choose is difficult, so conveniently Gong Cha offers a top 10 list to help you through your quest to find the perfect bubble tea.
Japanese Special | Courtesy of Millie's Patisserie & Creamery
Crêpes are just so good. What makes it better? Millie Patisserie, and fusing it with matcha. This crêpe is a combination of green tea & azuki (red bean paste). It’s topped off with whipped cream, a house-made matcha sauce, green tea gelato, and strawberries. Japanese style crêpes are a bit different from their French counterpart; they are crispier, and rolled into a cone for easy holding. Generally, Japanese crêpes are less sweet and tend to amplify other flavors. Millie also uses top-notch ingredients found right on Ontario soil, and even Kensington Market whenever they have the chance.
Delysees makes delectable French pastries – with a Japanese twist. With prior expertise in eclairs and matcha treats, Delysees naturally (and brilliantly) combined the two and created the ‘Pure Matcha eclair.’ Eclairs are a choux pastry (light pastry dough) filled with a rich cream and topped with icing. Making some of Toronto’s classiest pastries, try their take on the traditional matcha infused eclair with French baking artistry. This bakery also offers more than 30 exotic macaron flavors and mini sandwiches.
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