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Ina Pollifrone-Visich is opening So Matcha in her Wading River yoga studio. (Credit: Cyndi Zaweski)

The North Fork is getting its first specialty matcha tea bar. 

So Matcha is celebrating its grand opening this weekend inside Solntse Hot Yoga in Wading River. The newly redesigned front end of the 1,000-square-foot studio — a dressing room a little more than a month ago — is now an open, sophisticated mini-café that is serving up matcha tea, both hot and iced.

You might associate matcha as a trendy, new green tea, but its health benefits have been touted in the East for centuries. The traditional Japanese ceremonial tea is made from finely ground, powdered tealeaf and started gaining popularity in the United States a few years ago for its health benefits. Matcha is rich in antioxidants believed to guard against heart disease and cancer. Its energy-boosting power also has many trading in their traditional coffee lattes.

“It provides more sustained energy levels … Not the crash you get after drinking coffee,” said owner Ina Pollifrone-Visich. “It is a part of a healthy lifestyle. Yoga is the physical, mediation is spiritual, but health starts in the gut.”

Pollifrone-Visich’s personal health journey inspired her wellness practices, which inform all aspects of her businesses. She first discovered yoga while researching treatments for fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder she was diagnosed with more than three years ago. It lead her to open Solntse Hot Yoga at the Shoppes at East Wind in 2017, and a second studio of the same name in downtown Riverhead last year. An avid matcha drinker, Pollifrone-Visich decided about a month ago to redesign the space to incorporate a tea bar. 

“Everything that I do that helps me feel better, I want to share,” she said. “That has always been my thing.” 

She took on much of the renovation herself, painting the ceiling black to contrast the new white subway tile walls illuminated by glowing Edison string lights. 

“I wanted it to have a New York City café feel,” she said. 

Pollifrone-Visich uses all sugar-free matcha — that she personally strains and infuses into steamed almond or whole milk — for So Matcha’s lattes. Along with the tea drinks, the bar will also serve up CBD lattes, chai lattes and tap kombucha from Coastal Craft Kombucha in Oceanside. 

Pollifrone-Visich will also offer fresh green juices on Sundays, that she will make day-of in the commercial grade kitchen at Buoy One in Riverhead, where her husband, Robert Pollifrone, is a co-owner.

“It is complimentary to what we already offer,” she said. “It is about total wellness.” 

So Matcha is celebrating its grand opening this Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14. The tea bar is offering BOGO matcha lattes from noon to 6 p.m. both days.

It will be open on weekends to the public and to class-goers from noon to 6 p.m. Pollifrone-Visich hopes to expand those hours in the summer. 

Solyntse Hot Yoga and So Matcha is located at 5768 Route 25A, Unit U, in Wading River. Call (631) 965-8334.