Bar Americano now pouring tea

Published on 10 June 2020

Photo: The first iteration of Samu in 2016 (courtesy of Samu)

Matthew Bax’s Japanese tea meditations, Samu, are back for a month.

Rather than waiting for the green light to serve Melbourne drinks without food again, Bar Americano owner Matthew Bax is inviting you in for a cup of tea. And not just any cuppa. The bartender and artist has reinvigorated Samu, a matcha tea experience he debuted in the carpark adjacent to Supernormal in 2016.

Bax, who is also behind the gallery Grau Projekt and the retired venues Der Raum and Bar Exuberante, believes the time is right to bring back Samu as a moment of respite and calm.

“Samu is just a quiet moment with a delicious bowl of tea,” he says.

The tea will be the same ceremonial-grade matcha served at the first Samu pop-up, a benchmark rarely seen outside Japan, as well as a new addition, tochu, a ground tea grown on islands near Hiroshima.

The act of drinking each variety will be a touch more elevated than your home brews, drawing on the traditions of the Japanese tea ceremony. Guests will be encouraged to book a timeslot and will enjoy the Bar Americano space with a maximum of one other patron at a time. Phones are to be left in pockets or bags.

To guide your reflections, Bax will select a different artwork, thought or idea each day to act as a focal point.

The name Samu originates from the practice in Zen temples of maintaining mindfulness in the everyday. Couldn’t we all do with a dose of that?

Samu pop-up, 7-30 June 2020. Open 10am-2pm Tues-Fri, Bar Americano, 20 Presgrave Pl, Melbourne. Book at

By Emma Breheny

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