Friday, December 26, 2014
Matcha Cafe Wabi now open on East 4th Street
Matcha Cafe Wabi recently opened at 233 E. Fourth St. near Avenue B.
The cafe's owners offered up a sneak preview for neighbors back in October. EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by for a look ... and taste. Here's her report:
The open house was for the neighborhood to introduce them to the matcha and sencha tea drinks, the red-bean paste and green tea pastries (gluten free!), matcha tea lattes, and the Japanese roasted coffee drinks.
I tried the classic pour-over coffees from 95 RPM Coffee Roasters (co-owned by Hiroki Kobayashi and Osamu Igano), which I drank as suggested — straight up without milk or sugar. I also tried the soybean black-sesame drink, which thankfully had no caffeine and was sweet and delicious — and unusual to my admittedly uneducated palate.
Kimie Kobaya (pictured below), the shop’s enthusiastic and friendly manager, brought around trays of samples to the guests and patiently translated between the English-speaking and Japanese-speaking visitors.
We learned about Wabi-Sabi, the aesthetic of imperfection, which was a difficult concept to translate from Japanese. (Kimie suggested the Wikipedia page definition.) We enjoyed a (truncated) tea ceremony, courtesy of Yuji (pictured below), who showed us the usu-cha-style bamboo whisks used to blend the bitter green tea powder into tea, and how the bowls are prewarmed, and about the bubbles that mimic a lake and shore in the tea bowl.
The owners of the new shop are Hideaki Minamida and Ken Mitsui, who you might recognize from Pirka Salon next door. (Both shops share the address 233 E. Fourth St.) The tiny to-go spot’s green-tea colored walls and minimalist décor mimic the healthy and happy feelings you experience when ingesting the drinks.