Editor’s note: Since this story was originally published, Third Culture Bakery announced the closure of its RiNo and Aurora stores at the end of 2021, citing pandemic- and supply-chain-related issues, labor shortages, and racism. “We signed our leases with full intention to expand in Colorado, but nothing could have prepared anyone for what the pandemic did to the world and the people,” said co-owner Wenter Shyu, in an announcement on December 13. “It’s a different world now and the challenges in Colorado have been crushing. Facing racism, COVID-related prejudice, and other unsavory events have been heartbreaking.”

Once upon a time, a Hawaiian butter mochi fell in love with an Indonesian cake. The resulting bun in the oven—actually a chewy mochi muffin—was born in Berkeley, California, at Third Culture Bakery, which opened its first Colorado outpost, in Aurora, in February. There, you can also meet Third Culture’s second child: the butter mochi doughnut, which co-founders Sam Butarbutar and Wenter Shyu make from the same carefully sourced ingredients as their firstborn. The couple only uses Koda Farms’ Blue Star Mochiko sweet rice flour (which gives the goodies their signature toothsome bite), organic Indonesian coconut sugar, and French-style butter produced by local dairy farms. The doughnuts are crowned with colorful icings infused with real fruit purées, in flavors such as mango passion fruit, yuzu lemon, and guava cheesecake; the muffins come in six varieties, but we play favorites with the matcha, churro, and black sesame versions. Shyu and Butarbutar ship the original muffins worldwide, but residents of the Denver metro area can order the gamut of muffin and doughnut flavors for pickup or delivery. Neither is complete without one of Third Culture’s hand-whisked green tea lattes. It’s—dare we say it—another matcha made in heaven.

Find Third Culture Bakery’s current menus online. 9935 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 720-507-4830

This article was originally published in 5280 June 2020.
Patricia Kaowthumrong
Patricia Kaowthumrong
Patricia joined the 5280 staff in July 2019 and is thrilled to oversee all of the magazine’s dining coverage. Follow her food reporting adventures on Instagram @whatispattyeating.