I have been on the hunt for matcha places in Miami for about a year now. With little to no luck, all I ever found were not so good quality matcha teas and coffees. Finally, Yōko Matcha has brought its Japanese roots to The Yard in Wynwood and it wouldn’t be Miami if it didn’t have some Miami flare sprinkled on it.
So what exactly is matcha? Matcha is a high quality of green tea leaves that is found in powdered form. Although there are many green tea variations, matcha is uniquely and specially known in and from Japan. One glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of regularly brewed green tea when it comes to all of the health benefits it provides. Below are the nutritional perks you gain by drinking just one leaf of matcha (powdered) in your drink daily:
- aids in leveling cholesterol and blood sugar levels
- boosts metabolism
- mood enhancer, calms the body and mind
- provides cancer-fighting agent known as catechin EGCg
- powerful antioxidant
- provides vitamin C, Zinc, Magnesium and chromium which helps boost up your immune system
- provides fiber and chlorophyll which helps detoxify the body
Now for those who aren’t fond of coffee or are looking to steer in a different direction because you hate the jitters, switching to matcha is a safe alternative. Matcha boosts up the metabolism (like coffee) helping the body burn more calories than it would naturally. The difference with matcha though, is that it does this without putting the body under stress; such as elevating your blood pressure or heart-rate which is why most people feel jittery after their Cup of Joe’s. What sets coffee and teas apart is a little amino acid called L-Theanine which is what makes you feel alert without the shakes. Now, while all other teas contain this amino acid as well, matcha has the highest potency than any other tea out there.
So here’s a good question! Let’s say you go to Yōko Matcha for the first time ever and like everything you see and taste. What sets a place apart aside its taste and authenticness? I’ll answer it for you… The story. The reason why they do it all. Sit down because today may not be Wednesday but this calls for a #WCW shout out. Chie, 26, the owner of Yōko Matcha is one of the brightest and most inspirational souls I have met this year. With the smile Chie carries you’d never guess the hurdles she’s gone through at such a young age. Chie sadly lost her mother to breast cancer at the age of six and also has had family members from her mothers side inherit the cancer gene. Chie believes in preventative medicine (hence Yōko Matcha) so she got genetically tested early to ensure she lives a long healthy life. Unfortunately, when her test results came back she was told that she inherited the BRCA1 gene which increased her chances to developing breast cancer. Chie made a decision to prevent the cancer before anything could unfold and underwent a double mastectomy in her early 20’s. As everything in life, the butterfly effect took place; as she had to continue seeing specialists and undergo many procedures she needed to be close to her family and friends for love and support. This is how she ended up moving from New York to Miami, FL. Chie has never had cancer, she prevented it from developing with her double mastectomy but one of the reasons that led her to opening Yōko Matcha was to help those who have been found in her same predicament or worse, to help those dealing with or those who had cancer. As stated, matcha is an antioxidant and helps detoxify the body of free radicals; which is what increases chances for anyone to develop cancers in the body. Chie believes that in sharing her story she can provide knowledge to the world in what the BRCA gene is, how genetic testing can help save lives, and how preventative medicine goes a long way.
Chie brings joy with her smile everywhere she goes. I met her just this past weekend as she prepared a mini matcha tea ceremony to give us a feel for what a real one in Japan feels like. Her grandmother was actually a tea master in Japan, she believed in bringing mindfulness and happiness to others with every sip they took during her ceremonies. In Japan, tea ceremonies are held for special occasions and usually have a theme such as a word or phrase to celebrate the good in life. See below for our tea ceremony setup:
Chie’s mantra was given to her by her grandmother herself. Its a little reminder for her and for those she shares her teas with, that the Yōko Matcha truck is to bring good to others. And as I experienced it firsthand, it brought all of the GOOD vibes. There were endless smiles, stories being shared, and inspiration passed throughout the entire table of seven, including Chie.
Tea ceremonies are usually held with sweets to help palatalize the taste of the matcha. Chi really outdid herself, it wasn’t even our birthdays and look at this amazing table spread:
Listed from top to bottom as shown (everything is matcha and curated by all Miami local shops in collaboration with Yōko Matcha): alfajores with @VivsWaffles vegan waffles, vegan / @PamelaWasabi gluten free & vegan matcha chocolate chip cookies sprinkled with sea salt, @HoneybeeDoughnutsMiami with a matcha glaze and matcha Coconut brigaderos.
While the deserts may not be the first thing you go for, for a healthy snack; this is how Yōko Matcha promotes the Latin Miami flare. Although authentic with their matcha they believe in diversity. While Japan is highly recognized because of their matcha Yōko Matcha thrives in bringing all nationalities together as one, with the extensive fused menu they have going on. It is not Miami without YOU and that means it is not Miami without all of the beautiful cultures that makes up our beautiful community. Chie is the perfect example of what fused nationalities can bring to the table. Her mom was Spaniard while her father is Japanese. Without that fusion there is no Yōko Matcha.
So the next time you’re in the area of Wynwood step into The Yard. The Yard is pet, child, family, and large group friendly. Come through and check out the lovely truck that brings nothing but happiness and better health with every sip & bite you take from their menu. Matcha here at Yōko is more than just a step into a healthier life but a step towards unity and more love. Come check them out for yourself. The good vibes and brand new obsession awaits you!
It is people like Chie that make Miami a beautiful place and makes me proud to say I am part of a community with such diversity. Chie reminds us that our past and dark times don’t define us but nonetheless, we should embrace all we have been through (the good and bad) to let it shape us into the best versions of us that we can be. Chie, you’re an inspiration to me and everyone else that you shine your light and big smile upon.
MIAMI LOVES YOU SO MATCH(A)!
Instagram : @YokoMatcha
Facebook : @YokoMatcha
Address : 56 NW 29th St, Miami, FL 33127
Closed Mondays | Open Tue. – Fri. 1 PM – 8 PM / Fri. until 9 | Open Sat. & Sun. 2 PM – 9 PM
RUN WILD . EAT . BE FREE
@littlemariii | #EatingWithLittleMariii