Family Dinner with LANG: Rocky's Matcha

Family Dinner with LANG: Rocky's Matcha

By Zarah Cheng

“I found myself in a matcha hole.” These are Rocky Xu’s words as he recounts how he dove head-first into the world of matcha and more relatable words have not met my ears. Rocky is the founder of Rocky’s Matcha, a “traveling tea house” that has hosted pop-ups in Los Angeles, Miami, Tokyo and Paris, and is also served at various crowd-favorite cafes in LA. When he eliminated alcohol and tobacco from his daily life as part of a chakra cleanse back in 2020, it was then that he fell into said “matcha hole” and, well, the rest is history.

Following a similar trajectory, I became absolutely enamored with matcha after removing coffee from my diet (because everyone always asks why, it was for health-related reasons). Not only because I found it to be a healthier way to get my caffeine fix, but I became transfixed by the ritual aspects of preparing matcha – the blooming of the whisk, the meditative repetition of the whisking, the routine addition of the same ingredients. 



During the course of my matcha voyage extraordinaire, I stumbled upon Rocky’s Matcha on social media and was introduced to a platform from which matcha wasn’t just a beverage, but rather a catalyst for essentially everything else. Rocky Xu has created a hub in which matcha is at the center, but the world around it is diverse and full of conversation, driven by both friends and new admirers. 

Since founding the brand in 2022, Rocky’s Matcha has collaborated with the likes of sacai, Stone Island, Futura, Awake NY and Jon & Vinny’s. For him, Rocky’s Matcha is not just about producing delicious matcha (although he undoubtedly is doing this as well), but it’s about bringing people together and sharing his passion for art, design, fashion and sport with the world.

As we caught up with Rocky at LA-based Suá – a Sichuan-inspired superette with a tea and coffee bar – we spoke with Xu about how to pick a matcha that is right for you, what some of his daily rituals are, and what makes a strong community. Read on to learn more about how Rocky’s Matcha is serving a great cup of matcha to tea lovers and coffee converts alike.



LANG: How did you first get interested in matcha? What is the story behind how Rocky’s Matcha was founded?

Rocky Xu: I started to drink matcha in 2014, when I was living in New York and a number of matcha-specific cafes had popped up. Fast forward to 2020, we’re locked up in our homes in a pandemic, and I went and saw a shaman in Topanga, California to do some energy work with him. The shaman put me on a chakra cleanse. He had me eliminate a number of things from my daily life as a part of the cleanse including alcohol and tobacco – essentially, anything fun. 

At the end of our session, he asked if I drank coffee and when I said 2-3 cups a day, he told me to eliminate coffee from my system entirely, and to drink tea if I need caffeine. I told him there was no way I could do it, but upon switching over to tea, I found myself in a matcha hole. I became that person who wanted to find the best matcha, make it at home as a part of my daily routine, seek out renowned matcha cafes whenever I traveled, etc.



L: For those who are new to matcha, can you give us a brief introduction to the different varieties that Rocky’s Matcha carries? How should someone approach selecting which is the best variety for them? 

RX: We have a number of different matchas on our website, as well as at the grocery stores and cafes that we service. Our most popular is our Ceremonial Blend, which is a blend of Ceremonial Grade matcha cultivars. We also have single cultivars, which is the equivalent of single origin coffee or single estate wine — meaning one cultivar from one producer from one vintage that is ground into matcha powder. 

We are also working with a new producer in Shizuoka and plan to launch an organic matcha in the coming months. I recommend trying various types of matcha and finding the one that best matches your own preferences; it’s not too dissimilar to coffee or wine in that every person has their own taste preferences. 

My recommendation would be to purchase matcha from a store or website that specifies where the matcha comes from (ideally Japan) and is Ceremonial Grade (vs. Culinary Grade). Ideally the matcha comes packaged in an aluminum bag, a tin or a combination of both, as matcha that is exposed to light and oxygen will start to oxidize and not be as fresh.



L: Rocky’s Matcha has worked with some pretty notable collaborators – including sacai, Stone Island, Futura, Awake NY and Jon & Vinny’s, to name a few. For you, what is like creating a space that brings together so many different categories: fashion, art, design, food, culture? 

RX: I personally am interested in so many things, whether it’s design, fashion, food, travel and sports, and I wanted to extend the Rocky’s Matcha brand to those verticals. I pride myself on being able to preserve the quality of craft with Rocky’s Matcha, while also extending the brand to new spaces and verticals where other CPG / food brands haven’t been.

L: Rocky’s Matcha pop-ups are pretty legendary. How would you describe your relationship to your community? What makes a strong community? 

RX: Thank you –  I don’t know if they’re legendary, but we’re having fun and enjoying every stop along this journey. We have an incredible community of friends, supporters, matcha / tea lovers, coffee converts (is that what we should call them?). We’re blessed to have the community that we have, and we’re excited to continue sharing our passion for matcha as well as art, design, fashion and sport with the world.




L: There’s a deep connection to ritual through the process of preparing matcha. What are some of your daily rituals? 

RX: I love waking up and making a cup of matcha as a part of my morning. As far as other daily rituals, I try for 7-8 hours of sleep, a 10-minute meditation and 30-60 minutes to exercise. All of which is easier said than done.

L: You are usually seen wearing a uniform (white tee, black pants and sneakers). How would you describe your approach to style? What is your style philosophy? 

RX: I used to care a lot more about fashion, and while I still appreciate the finer things that retail shelves have to offer, I find it easier to have my uniform and not have to think about what to wear other than the sneakers. I think style is unique to every person and it’s what you make it. If you’re comfortable and feel good in your attire, that’s what matters most. 

L: What makes someone LANG / beautiful (lang means beautiful in Cantonese)? 

RX: It may sound elementary, but treating others how you want to be treated, being respectful and kind, and having an open mind for discourse.



Photography: Rodrigo Ramirez / @rigoshotme


Special Thanks: Suá / @sua_superette