clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

High-End Japanese Tea Café Touches Down in North Park

The must-gram spot opens next week

Wildly popular in New York City, antioxidant-rich matcha is now making waves on the West Coast. Here’s all you need to know about Holy Matcha, San Diego’s new hot spot culinary concept devoted to the storied Japanese tea.

Already a hit in cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Matcha is well and truly having its moment. While you can find plenty of green tea flavored treats around town -€” from crepe cakes, mochi, and rolled ice cream to macarons -€” Holy Matcha marks the first concept of its kind in San Diego solely dedicated to the chic superfood.

When founder Geraldine Ridaura discovered the specialty stone-ground tea during a trip to Japan in 2014, drawn to its health benefits, she quickly became a devotee. Ridaura knew a matcha-centric café would be a natural fit for her health-conscious hometown, and next week the self-professed "matcha addict and connoisseur" opens her eagerly awaited café dedicated to the storied, and now uber trendy, Japanese beverage.

Holy Matcha Courtesy photo
Holy Matcha

With a focus aimed at educating drinkers to the tea's health benefits and antioxidant properties, Ridaura says that Holy Matcha will also highlight proper preparation and serving techniques. Representing peace, harmony and happiness, the matcha tea ceremony is an ancient Japanese tradition - something visitors can experience with one of two ceremonial grade offerings. Composed of finely powdered tealeaves (the word matcha translates to 'powdered tea') it's whisked into a shallow bowl in a zigzag shaped pattern with water heated to 175 degrees using a chasen (traditional bamboo whisk) until the matcha froths to a vibrant, almost iridescent green colored foam.

"I've received so much feedback from the community looking for a delicious coffee alternative—of which there are many—and simply cannot wait to open Holy Matcha's doors." Geraldine Ridaura.

Holy Matcha


All Things Matcha: From Drinks To Pastries

Sourced directly from a small-scale supplier in Kyoto, matcha offerings come in three grades, each with a robust caffeine buzz but smooth, earthy flavor profile. There's a premium grade for matcha shots, matcha lemonade and signature specialty drinks, including a latte with add ons like rosewater and Beauty Dust by cult LA health-alchemists Moon Juice. For purists two different grades of ceremonial matcha will be served in a matcha-chawan (traditional tea bowl). Don't expect to find anything pre-measured or mixed: all drinks will be traditionally handmade to order by a team of six ‘matcharistas' personally trained by Ridaura.

Holy Matcha
Holy Matcha
Holy Matcha

In addition to drinks Holy Matcha will also feature a food component composed of healthy bites and baked goods. Ridaura worked with Roanna Canete of Coronado's Gluten Free Pantry to create an organic matcha pound cake and dairy free matcha donuts in time for opening, with plans for additional infused pastries from different purveyors around San Diego to be added in due course. Additional snacks include avocado toast, seasonal fruit bowls, and a coconut matcha chia pudding.

"Matcha soothes the soul, calms the brain and keeps you connected."

Ridaura collaborated with San Francisco-based architectural firm HOMEWORK on design and no detail was overlooked. Decorated in subtle tropical pinks and greens - tastefully complemented by brass fixtures, quartz countertops, a velvet banquette, Parisian-style bistro seating, and custom neon sign - the 1,200-square foot space is the stuff Instagram dreams are made of.

Holy Matcha
Holy Matcha
Holy Matcha

A curated retail component reflecting Ridaura's personal tastes will also offer covetable matcha-related finds and small gifts, a selection of items from Moon Juice, in addition to custom made ceramic matcha bowls by Tsuchikara Pottery.

Holy Matcha officially opens on Saturday, March 11 with hours of operation from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Follow Holy Matcha on Instagram at @holymatchaa.

Holy Matcha
3118 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92104

Holy Matcha

Coming Attractions

A Beach Bungalow Bar and Restaurant Is Heading to Pacific Beach Pier

Eater Inside

North Park’s Newest Bottle Shop Is an Oasis of Hard-to-Find Gin and Natural Wine

Coming Attractions

Malibu Icon Gladstone’s Restaurant Added to Seaport Village Lineup

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater San Diego newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world