Since June 18, the newly opened Matcha Grove has provided Gilbert residents with premium Japanese matcha and a variety of gluten-free menu options.
Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves that is commonly served in east Asia. The green tea plants are grown in the shade for about a month and the stems and veins are removed during processing.
Matcha Grove owner Rocio Sheyko decided to open the café – located 81 S. McQueen Road in the Oasis at the Islands strip mall – because of the difficulty she faced finding high-quality matcha and fresh gluten-free baked goods ever since she and her family moved to Gilbert four years ago.
“After cutting out coffee and turning to matcha, I was always on the lookout for matcha and those who sold it in town, but I just couldn’t really find a good quality type of matcha,” Sheyko explained.
The pandemic forced a delay in her opening plans, but finally acquired the storefront in March, then spent two months preparing it for business.
“It was a lot of labor of love,” she said.
The quality of the beverages has always been a focal point of the business, said Sheyko.
She ensures all her matcha is ceremonial grade, the highest quality available. She also sources it from a provider in Japan, a country widely believed to have perfected the recipe.
“I have tried so many different types of matcha just for myself before we started thinking about this business, trying to find something that wasn’t so earthy and bitter,” Sheyko explained. “It took me quite a while to find the right one that tasted great even without any sweetener.”
In Matcha Grove, customers will find signs detailing the health benefits of matcha, such as its properties as a powerful antioxidant and the high dosage of the amino acid L-Theanine, which gives the drink its slightly sweet taste.
The gluten-free bakery offers a range of products from avocado toast to waffles and snickerdoodles, all made in-store daily.
“My family is gluten-free and if we ever needed to get any gluten-free food, we always had to travel to Phoenix or Scottsdale,” Sheyko said. “Gilbert obviously had coffee shops with some gluten-free items but there was no place 100 percent gluten-free.”
Sheyko utilizes every tool at her disposal to find new and interesting recipes for the store, often tweaking online techniques.
She then creates them for her family to get their stamp of approval before serving them to the public.
In the future, alongside her dairy and gluten-free choices, Sheyko hopes to expand her menu and cater to other dietary restrictions and lifestyles.
“I really want to be able to serve the community in all aspects, and so I’m trying to incorporate more vegan options,” Sheyko said.
“A lot of moms have come in saying their kids can’t have gluten or are allergic to a lot of different things and they’re so excited when they see our options. Being a mom, that’s really important to me to serve other mothers out there.”
Sheyko hopes the arrival of Matcha Grove indicates big things for Gilbert.
“Gilbert is becoming kind of a bigger city, if you will. I think that is bringing in a lot of trendy shops that are needed in the area, equal to the amount of growth these areas are experiencing,” she said.