Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo adds classical tea culture equipment so that it can make matcha the old-fashioned way.

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo is a massive, multi-story shrine to coffee located in the city’s Nakameguro neighborhood. But while its marque attraction is coffee made with beans roasted on-site, if you make your way up to the second floor you’ll find a tea bar, where Starbucks is giving matcha green tea the same respect and car that it does java.

Part of what makes matcha special among green teas is that the leaves are ground to fine powder before brewing. Nowadays, this is usually done by machine, but connoisseurs will tell you that the best results come from the traditional method first used centuries ago: hand-grinding the tea leaves with a stone mill, so that’s exactly the piece of equipment the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo has added.

The hand-picked, stone-ground matcha is being used in three new beverages, starting with the Hot Stone-Ground (Ishiusu) Matcha Latte, which is further seasoned with wasanbon, Japanese cane sugar produced under classical methods on the island of Shikoku.

While a cup of hot tea is a great way to warm yourself up on a cold winter day, as we get further into spring green tea fans may want to instead opt for the Ice Stone-Ground Matche Latte, a chilled and less frothy version of the drink.

And last, there’s the Stone-Ground Matcha Freddo, a frozen green tea spin on the iced coffee drink that features wasanbon, milk, and ice cream.

Both Stone-Ground Matcha Lattes are prices at 900 yen (US$8.70), while the Freddo is 1,000 yen. All are available at the Roastery’s second-floor Tevana Bar counter, although because of the traditional bowl-like wide-mouth cup the hot latte is served in, only the ice latte and Freddo can be ordered to-go.

All three go on sale March 12, and with 2021 marking the 15th anniversary of Starbucks Japan introducing matcha lattes to its menu, the time feels right to revisit the oldest of old-school ways of making matcha.

Related: Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo website
Source, images: Starbucks
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Follow Casey on Twitter as he continues to try to drink as much matcha as possible.