Maiko Tea Cafe @ Telawi, Bangsar

January 7, 2018

Matcha maniacs, meet MaikoTea Cafe, potentially KL's premier destination for drinking green tea. This new cafe, tucked inside Bangsar's ILOHA Culture Centre, represents the work of Kyotonabe's Maiko Tea, which has cultivated tea for decades, first starting out as a wholesale business run by farmers in 1950.

You'll find no fewer than half a dozen varieties of superior-grade green tea to sample at MaikoTea Cafe, but the most swoon-worthy experience comes from the Gyokuro 'Takumi,' which won the highest Platinum Award at a Japanese tea awards competition in Tokyo in 2015.

MaikoTea Cafe's Malaysian show-runner Alan (who brought the brand to Malaysia after spending time at Maiko Tea's plantations in 2017 and being tutored by Maiko Tea maestro Yamashita Toshikazu), personally and painstakingly prepares the Gyokuro tea, first cooling down the boiled water before serving the tea in several rounds that showcase a captivating evolution of flavours.

The Gyokuro tea is gorgeously unlike the typical green tea you'll experience at most Japanese restaurants in KL. Picked only by hand and manually pressed, it has a rich, rustic fullness that lies somewhere between sweetness and umami, concentrated and compellingly transporting, aromatically ambrosial, without traces of bitterness (the tea is shade-nurtured for a few crucial weeks before harvest, curtailing astringent catechins).

In the end, the remaining tea leaves, soft but pleasurably textured, can be consumed as a surprisingly delectable fibrous salad.

A tea dessert selection is also available: Try the matcha affogato (RM14) and the hojicha parfait (RM18), which both feature the cafe's own-made tea ice cream - everything is well-executed, with a terrific balance of flavours and textures. 

A limited savoury comfort-food menu for warm meals is currently offered. Customers can also purchase tea to take home.

Maiko Tea Cafe
21-1, First Floor, Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur. 
Open Wed-Fri, 11am-8pm; Sat-Sun, 10am-8pm. Tel: 016-505-0280

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