Matcha may not be new—the Japanese have enjoyed it for centuries—but one look at its recent parade through town, from the boozy to the baked to the blended, proves that the power of this powdered green tea extends far beyond the mug. We sought out the cleverest interpretations of the “it” ingredient to unearth the five matcha musts of the moment.

CH Distillery drink

Buzz Inducer

CH Distillery

Beverage director Azrhiel Frost uses kiwi-peach matcha powder from 10th Avenue Tea for her simple syrup, which she shakes with fresh lime juice and CH Key gin for this citrus-forward taste of spring. $12. 564 W. Randolph St., 312-707-8780


Embeya dessert

Eye Candy


Asian ingredients abound in this dessert from pastry chef Meredith Larke, who balances sake-compressed jackfruit with matcha-coconut sorbet and chewy coconut tapioca. Think of it as a plated spin on bubble tea. $10. 564 W. Randolph St., 312-612-5640


Sawada Coffee green tea latte

Coffee Alternative

Sawada Coffee

At this West Loop newcomer, a showstopping rosetta adorns each green tea latte—a decadent steamer of matcha, milk, and vanilla syrup. Still need a perk? Upgrade to a Military, which has a shot of espresso. $5 to $5.50. 112 N. Green St., 312-754-0431


Protein Bar shake


Protein Bar

Don’t be fooled by the minty green hue of this frothy on-the-go sipper. It may read Shamrock Shake, but its mix of matcha, avocado, honey, protein powder, and milk quickly validates its postgym and lunch-break merits. $7. Multiple locations,


Summer House Santa Monica coffee cake

Comfort Food

Summer House Santa Monica

Coffee cake undergoes a tea transformation in the hands of pastry chef Erin Mooney, who adds matcha to the dough before piping in zippy passion fruit cream cheese and baking up palm-size portions. $4. 1954 N. Halsted St., 773-634-4100