Matcha in Westwood

by Vasilisa Nestscheret

Matcha has been gaining tons of popularity recently, and rightfully so! This luscious, vibrant powder is made from ground green tea leaves traditionally consumed in Japan. It has made its way across the globe due to its health benefits, caffeine content and amazing taste. Unlike coffee, matcha has a calming effect. It wakes you up and keeps your energy steady all while keeping you calm and jitter-free. Matcha is a natural detoxifier packed with antioxidants and vitamins that is known to lower your cholesterol and blood sugar. Whether you’re drinking it for aesthetics, health or to simply stay awake, you’re definitely on the hunt for where to buy your next delicious matcha! If you’re having that matcha craving and want to grab something nearby, then check out these places in Westwood.

Alfred Coffee

Alfred Coffee is definitely known for its coffee, particularly their vanilla lattes, but did you know they have some amazing, top-notch quality matcha as well? Alfred sources their matcha from a Japanese family farm, and you can even purchase the powder to make your own drinks at home. You can order a matcha Americano or a matcha latte and decide between a plethora of milk and syrup choices. Not to mention, Alfred is the perfect study spot filled with lots of natural lighting, caffeine and other students to keep you motivated!

Espresso Profeta

Before I mastered making my own matcha lattes, Espresso Profeta used to be my go-to spot for matcha in Westwood. I particularly enjoyed that their matcha lattes were strong and not too heavy on the milk. They use ceremonial-grade matcha and can tailor the drink to your choice. Whether you want it iced or hot; flavored with syrups, honey or sugar-free options; or made with normal or plant-based milk, they have your back. Profeta also has a wide selection of pastries, amazing coffee and a very friendly staff.

Ministry of Coffee

Don’t be fooled by its name, because Ministry of Coffee is definitely a spot you want to check out for matcha! They have some incredibly smooth matcha lattes, and unlike most places, they have rose syrup, which pairs very nicely with matcha. This spot has delicious food as well, but they are truly a hidden gem for matcha. Ministry of Coffee’s matcha lattes are very milky, like a traditional latte should be, and they can accommodate all sorts of dietary restrictions.

Evelyn & Mo Ostin Music Café

I woke up one morning realizing that I had 15 minutes to get to my class, which is a 20-minute walk from my apartment … that walk looked more like a sprint that morning. I was in desperate need of a caffeine fix but had no time to go home and make my matcha. I stumbled upon UCLA’s Music Café, located in Portola Plaza near Schoenberg Hall. To my surprise, this cafe had ceremonial-grade unsweetened matcha, plant-based milk and a wide range of sweetener options. This cafe has a very clean and modern aesthetic, is perfect for getting work done and plays great music (I mean, they are called the Music Café). Additionally, they serve a variety of pastries and snacks to curb your hunger between classes. There is no doubt that I will definitely be returning to the Music Café if I’m ever in dire need of matcha on campus.

Junbi Matcha

Matcha is quite literally in the name of this place, so of course they sell some top-notch matcha! Junbi means “preparation” in Japanese, and the owners claim that everything they do is in preparation to give customers the best experience. Upon walking into Junbi, you are immediately transported into a bright and happy state with the yellow and vibrant-colored interior. Their motto is to “Prepare Daringly,” which means going out of your comfort zone. This is seen in their wide variety of matcha drinks. Junbi has 15 different matcha beverages, like strawberry, yuzu dragon fruit, mango and elderberry, just to name a few. They also serve coffee, snacks, matcha soft serve and eight different teas! If you ever want to spice up your matcha and try a unique flavor, Junbi is the place for you.

Upside Down

Upside Down is owned and run by a nonprofit organization called Jews for Jesus. They are a donation-based coffee shop and art gallery, so none of their items have a price. It is up to you to decide how much you want to pay for your drink. While matcha can get quite expensive, Upside Down does your wallet a favor by not charging you some outrageous price. They have many alternative milk choices to choose from and also have a plethora of flavored syrups, like vanilla, lavender, rose and more. Upside Down is a great spot to get schoolwork done or to just grab a quick bite and beverage with some friends. The only downside is that this place is closed from Friday to Monday, but you’ll know that it’s open Tuesday through Thursday because it’s always packed … and for good reason!

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