Matcha Madness #1: Cupitol


By Emma McCormick

As a caffeine addict and health enthusiast (my roommate jokes that I’m the next big Instagram “wellness guru”), it is a wonder that I have made it this far without consuming matcha. For those who aren’t concerned with such trends, matcha literally just means “powdered tea.”

In the U.S., only the trendiest cafes make matcha lattes, which are comprised of your milk of choice and a teaspoon of matcha powder. If you are a real hipster-vegan-#feminist though, you’ll choose almond or soy milk.

These allegedly magical drinks boast titles such as “high in antioxidants” and “metabolism boosters.” According to, matcha shots were the “it beverage” of New York Fashion Week, making your mug of matcha just about as valuable to your image as your $175 designer jeans. I have even heard that those who drink matcha once daily can reach Enlightenment.

Oh, and bonus perk: they look like cappuccino’s greener sister, so they will brighten your dull-colored, unfashionable Instagram feed.

Are you convinced that you should drink matcha yet? Well I certainly was.

I arrived at Cupitol, a swanky all-day lounge and cafe on Grove, still feeling buzzed from my earlier three cups of coffee. However, I had a lot of “Anna Karenina” to read, so I decided the less-caffeinated buzz of tea would best suit my impending study session. It seemed silly to go for a regular old cup of tea, so I resolved that today would be the day I would try the highly regarded beverage: matcha.

As any good investigative journalist would do, I made the unfriendly cashier highly uncomfortable when I asked her, “So how exactly would you describe the taste of matcha?”

She answered with an eye roll and a straightforward reply.

“You know how seaweed tastes? Yeah, it’s like that. But powdered.”


I nervously handed over my credit card, wincing at the $5 charge. Sweat beaded above my brow as I thought, did I just pay $5 for a drink that tastes like seaweed? Is matcha simply a trendy-Instagram-conspiracy drink?

My roommate, an L.A. native, urged that it would be so worth it, so I relinquished the card and signed my name on the iPad receipt.

The swiftness of the employees astounded me: my matcha appeared within 60 seconds. I grabbed the white mug, staring at the green, heart-shaped foam that I had seen so many times on my Instagram feed. This was it.

Artful Snapchat Story by Emma McCormick

Artful Snapchat Story by Emma McCormick

I took an artful Snapchat story, then gingerly placed my fingers around the mug’s handle. Finally, I took a sip.

It tasted like sweetened, milky, lukewarm seaweed water.

Was my mind poisoned by the cashier’s judgemental words, or was matcha actually this bad? I forced my roommate, Emily, to take a sip. Apparently this was not how matcha tasted in the hipster, well-lit cafes of Los Angeles.

“You have to try again, Emma. This just isn’t good matcha.”

And so my quest to find the perfect cup (if there is such a cup) of matcha starts here at Cupitol. I leave with sorely disappointed tastebuds, but I believe that good, or even great, matcha can be found.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Matcha Madness which will feature a reaction video!


FoodSteven Norwalk