The passionfruit-guava-matcha seasonal drink dubbed The Mirage, available at Presta Coffee Roasters.

Green: the color of summer. The shade alone symbolizes peace, tranquility, hope and harmony.

It must taste good too, right?

Lately as I’ve been scrolling through social media, it seems like everybody who’s anybody is posting aesthetically pleasing pictures of an icy pastel green drink. The color alone makes me think of sunny days and happiness, instantly transporting me to an island paradise.

This Insta-worthy drink taking the world by storm is a matcha latte — a sweet, earthy-tasting drink that is quite refreshing on our 100-degree days — though its origins date back hundreds of years. 

What exactly is matcha? Green tea leaves that get grounded into powder. Mix that with a little bit of hot water, your milk of choice and ice and you have the drink of the summer. Matcha is said to have originated in China and became popular in Japan.

Eris Movahedi, the owner of Tucson’s Espressoul Café, a vegan mobile espresso bar and cafe, makes her flavorful matcha lattes with the best of the best: ceremonial grade matcha, which is used in Japanese ceremonies. It uses the youngest leaf of the green tea, which means it has the most amount of chlorophyll in it, Movahedi said. The more chlorophyll, the better, she says.

To make an Espressoul matcha latte, Movahedi whisks the matcha with a tiny bit of hot water, adds flavoring such as vanilla or blueberry-lavender and then pours in the desired plant-based milk. Depending on the customer, the drink can be served hot or cold.

Matcha can take on various flavors and forms, from a strawberry matcha drink or even pastries and gelato. Movahedi said the cool thing about matcha is how flexible it can be.

Because she comes from a family of chefs, Movahedi is into experimenting with flavors. Just when scrolling through Espressoul’s Instagram, you can see the cafe has featured matcha lattes with flavors like coco banana, caramel and raspberry cream. In fact, Movahedi said she came up with the blueberry-lavender matcha latte after a customer asked for a drink inspired by the purple T-shirt they were wearing.

The key to a perfect matcha latte is love, Movahedi said. Aside from love, though, she said finding the perfect balance of flavors is the way to turn matcha haters into fans.

“There's been multiple times they say, oh, I've had matcha before and I hated it. I'm like, OK, if you let me, I'll make it for you and if you don't like it, I will change it for you,” Movahedi said. “Not once in three years of business have I had anybody change their matcha. So if you have balanced flavors, you could easily create something that everybody gets to enjoy.”

Aside from tasting good, matcha is also full of antioxidants and can be an alternative for those who don’t drink coffee. Movahedi said matcha can give people “natural focus throughout the day” without the jittery feeling.

If you want to get a pastel green drink of your own — or even a matcha-infused snack — below are a few places in Tucson to get your matcha fix.

A blueberry-lavender matcha latte (left) and matcha-pineapple smoothie (right) from Espressoul.

Espressoul Café

Espressoul Café offers various matcha lattes and smoothies. The creamy blueberry-lavender latte features a perfect balance of blueberry and matcha flavors, tasting a bit like Fruity Pebbles. To this day, I still can’t stop thinking about this latte.

The cafe also makes a matcha-pineapple smoothie that may be a worthy option for those still unsure about matcha. The pineapple flavor gives the drink a tropical taste that made me feel like I was somewhere on a sandy beach.

Check out Espressoul’s Instagram page for their weekly schedule.

The strawberry matcha from Ni Hao Tea.

Ni Hao Tea

Strawberry and matcha go together like peanut butter and jelly. Ni Hao Tea uses strawberry puree to spice up a regular matcha latte, making the perfect combination of sweet and earthy flavors. The strawberry puree adds a nice kick to the drink without it overpowering the matcha flavor or being too sugary. Like Espressoul, Ni Hao Tea uses ceremonial grade matcha and there is an option to add boba.

Location: 4726 E. Broadway; 2800 N. Campbell Ave.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

A classic matcha latte from HeeMee Coffee + Bakery.

HeeMee Coffee + Bakery

If you want a matcha latte without all the fluff, HeeMee is the place. They offer the classic matcha latte with a natural flavor that isn’t too bitter or too sweet. If you’re lucky and beat the crowd, you may be able to score a matcha pastry from their case of sweets (we’ve spotted matcha-inspired cream cakes, cheesecakes, cookies and muffins). 

Location: 20 E. Congress St.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The black sesame and matcha swirl gelato from Ceres. 

Ceres (and other gelato)

Ceres isn’t just a pasta spot — they are constantly adding new and creative gelato flavors to their menu. Recently, Ceres offered a swirl of black sesame and matcha. To my surprise, the black sesame was sweeter than the matcha and had a slight nuttiness. Mixing that with the earthy flavor of the matcha made for a silky gelato with a subtle sweetness. Ceres’ gelato flavors rotate each week, so keep an eye on their Instagram to see when matcha will make a comeback. (Pro tip: Matcha gelato is currently on September's flavor list at Frost.)

Ceres also makes good old-fashioned matcha lattes. I tried a vanilla-flavored one, which was reminiscent of vanilla ice cream.

Location: 77 W. Washington St.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday.

A matcha smoothie bowl topped with granola, strawberries, blueberries and bananas from Everbowl. 


Who knew an acai bowl could actually become a matcha bowl? If you’re not in the mood for acai, superfood chain Everbowl also offers the green matcha mixture as a base for their bowls. This yummy spin on the traditional recipe tastes like you’re eating a sweet matcha smoothie. Pairing the base with granola, strawberries and blueberries made a delightful breakfast that left me feeling energized and ready to take on the day.

Location: 5635 E. River Road

Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The passionfruit guava matcha, a seasonal drink offered at Presta Coffee Roasters, 2502 N First Ave Unit 100 Tucson, Ariz. on July 3, 2023.

Presta Coffee Roasters

As part of the seasonal menu, coffeeshop Presta is offering The Mirage — a matcha drink with guava, lime, pineapple juice and coconut water, sprinkled with dried passion fruit. This drink was unlike anything I have ever tried. Upon taking the first sip, I was punched in the face with so many tropical flavors I was again transported to a beach paradise. The drink is lighter in comparison to a typical matcha latte and was a refreshing change of pace. This drink definitely tastes like summer in a cup.

The fall menu drops Sept. 22, so try The Mirage while you still can!

Locations: 501 E. Ninth St.; 2502 N. First Ave.; in the Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento.

Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

A matcha lemonade from Screwbean Brewery. 

Screwbean Brewing

Just like strawberries, lemonade and matcha make another top-notch combination. The matcha lemonade — the citrus added both a sweetness and tanginess — at Screwbean Brewing reminded me of a Starbucks refresher, only better. This drink would be the perfect pick-me-up for anyone taking on the 100-degree heat.

Location: 103 N. Park Ave.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

The matcha-mille crepe cake from Nomico Healthy Desserts. 

Nomico Healthy Dessert

Matcha powder is typically mixed with water and milk to make a latte, but at Nomico, they use matcha powder to top a crepe cake. The matcha-mille crepe cake combines the strong flavor of the powder with layers of fluffy icing and tasty crepes. This semi-sweet cake is perfect for those who want a light dessert and will leave matcha lovers everywhere satisfied.

Location: 595 E. Wetmore Road

Hours: 12:30-8:45 p.m. Wednesday-Monday.

Matcha milk tea with boba from Bing's Boba Tea.

Bing’s Boba Tea

Add boba to spice up a regular matcha latte. At Bing’s Boba Tea, you can add boba to their matcha milk teas, putting a fun twist on the classic drink. Those who like their matcha on the sweeter side, Bing’s is the place. (They also have matcha slushes!)

Location: 2510 N. Campbell Ave.2040 W. Orange Grove Road

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday at the Campbell location; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday at the Orange Grove location.

Pictured are two matcha choux à la crème from Okashi Ice Cream and Confections.

Okashi Ice Cream and Confections

Home baker Dean Blair pops up at events around Tucson with his ice cream and confections. My colleague Ellice Lueders says his matcha choux à la crème is light and not too sweet — from the crust to the cream. Okashi makes some of her favorite pastries in town. His rotating menus in the past have also featured vegan matcha ice cream and matcha truffles.

Check out Okashi's Instagram page to see where he'll be next.

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Jamie Donnelly covers courts for the Arizona Daily Star. Contact her via e-mail at