Meet Your Matcha: Japanese Tea House Pops Up in Soho

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Soho got a pop-up hot-cocoa store last winter, and this summer a pop-up tea house is setting up a couple of blocks away. Alissa White owned a tech firm until about five years ago, when she got into the tea business and started Matcha Source, an online retailer of the Japanese powdered green tea that’s becoming increasingly trendy at places like Starbucks and Jamba Juice. Her obsession began after her father’s death from diabetes and her brother’s death from lymphoma left her with a “healing fantasy” (according to White’s website, matcha’s antioxidants have the “most potent cancer-fighting properties”). Starting next Tuesday, she’ll be selling the tea, during the month of June, at 33 Crosby Street, a space owned by David Selig of the adjacent Ñ.

White tells us that she’s hired a couple of tea masters from the Urasenke Chanoyu Center to whisk and serve the matcha in a ceramic bowl, per tradition, while baristas do hot and cold lattes. The drinks (which will be in the $4 to $5 range) can be blended with fresh grated ginger, lemonade, and coconut water. White says she’s aiming to “take American palates away from sweets a little bit,” but that doesn’t mean she’s anti-sugar — she’ll also be selling bean-paste wagashi as well as pastries (truffles, cookies, etc.) made from the tea. Should you want to continue on in your own home after she closes shop and heads back to her home in L.A. at the end of the month, you can buy accessories such as whisks, bowls, and the martini shakers that she uses to make her iced teas extra iced.

The Matcha Box, 33 Crosby St., nr. Grand St.; 877-962-8242