I have a confession to make: I’m one of those insufferable California natives who always talks about being from California.
I didn’t used to be like this. In fact, I never identified with being from California at all until I moved away two years ago.
It’s like trying to tell a fish about water; it doesn’t know what it is until you take it out.
My boss, Kimi Yoshino, and I regularly commiserate about missing California — especially the food — and exchange restaurants and foods in Baltimore to ease our homesickness.
But the occasional meal isn’t enough. No, I need a daily (and possibly fiscally irresponsible) reminder of home. And nothing is more Californian than an artisanal matcha latte.
To make one, a barista whisks ground green tea with water and frothed steamed milk. Golden State natives usually prefer nondairy but I always get it with whole milk. I know. Very un-California of me.
There is a delicate balance to the powder-to-liquid ratio. Too little, and the drink tastes like watered-down milk. Too much, and you get green grounds in your teeth. It can get bad fast. I once had a whole clump of residual matcha powder fall out of the cup and onto my face.
But if it’s just right, there’s nothing better to make you feel like you’re at Blue Bottle Coffee, my all time favorite California matcha stop.
Ceremony Coffee Roasters
Ceremony is my go-to for matcha. Multiple locations throughout the city make it an often close-by option.
Each location is relatively spacious, especially in Mount Vernon and Harbor Point.
It’s one of the more pricey lattes on this list — $7 a pop, not counting tip.
Iced or hot, they always use the perfect amount of matcha powder. There’s never any residue at the bottom and you can smile worry-free.
The best part? Every quarter, their new seasonal menu features a unique matcha offering.
OneDo Coffee Roasters
913 S. Lakewood Ave.
OneDo is a cult favorite in Canton that’s ideal to work from. Along with excellent food , the matcha is superb. I’ve only gotten the iced matcha here, but it’s always great. It’s also the lowest price on this list, at $4.75.
Bonus: there is always good music playing on the speakers.
933 Fell St.
This bakery on the Fells-Canton border offers a fantastic assortment of French pastries and high-quality matcha.
Fear not – Sacre Surce takes their matcha just as seriously as their crossaints. They even sell matcha kits to brew at home!
They also get the powder-to-liquid balance just right, with a plethora of fancy sweeteners to boot. My favorite is the rose syrup. They add actual rose petals to the top of your drink. Quiet luxury, anyone? And all for $6.75.
Unfortunately, Sacre Sucre is closed while it moves to a new location on Fells Street, closer to the Harbor. It’s been devastating to my weekend routine. The good news is the staff told me it’ll be back up and running sometime in October or November. Thank God.
Pitango Bakery + Cafe
903 S. Ann St.
Pitango is a Fells Point staple. Whether it’s the bakery or gelato shop, most Baltimoreans recognize its iconic green logo on the Waterfront Promenade.
For $5, the matcha isn’t half bad, either. This is one of my least expensive recs, but I prefer the iced version because the hot ones can sometimes be a bit gritty.
If you go during the weekend, be prepared to wait. The line can get long, and there isn’t an easy order-ahead option.
3827 Falls Road
The walls are lined with chic tableware, mugs, and other artsy goods that may not always be affordable but are definitely beautiful. It makes for a special experience.
If you’re ordering in, the matcha comes in cute ceramic cups, already sweetened a little, with minimal grittiness for $7.25.
The outdoor courtyard and a nearby plant store make this a must-visit.
This story has been updated with the correct neighborhood where Pitango Bakery + Cafe is located.