What's earthy, green, and highly addictive? Matcha! After tasting matcha for the first time, Hannah Habes flew to Japan to meet with top tea makers. Armed with her imported matcha, she'd walk into small coffee shops in New York and educate anyone who would listen on the powder's powers. Her persistence paid off-- today she's the Chief Matcha Officer of Matchaful. Simply Gum got the opportunity to interview this intrepid matchapreneur.
What inspired your company?
PASSION. I still remember the first time I tasted matcha 5 years ago. I felt instantly more mindful and healthful. I stopped drinking coffee because I preferred the “zenergy” I experienced from matcha.
Transfixed with this magical green elixir, I started doing extensive research on matcha’s health benefits and history, ordering samples from all over Japan. It wasn’t long before I started noticing unique differences in quality, taste, and price. I realized that there was a sharp improvement in the taste with higher priced Japanese matcha. I turned my kitchen into my matcha testing laboratory. I wanted to know everything I could about high-quality matcha.
How does your matcha stand out?
We are one of the only matcha companies to only source high-quality organic matcha. We believe that matcha is not just another food trend, but has the power to improve someone’s quality of life. Even though organic is more expensive, it means we’re able to help improve the health of our farmers, our planet, and our community.
What should consumers be cautious of when they’re choosing a matcha brand?
It’s important for consumers to invest in their matcha and their health. A lot of matcha on the market is blended from multiple farms, so it’s hard to know where it’s coming from. You want to be careful that the matcha is tested for radiation and lead. We recommend avoiding Chinese matcha as it’s prone to have higher concentrations of lead.
At Matchaful, we have never detected above background level radiation. We also test each year’s harvest for various heavy metals including lead. They are well within FDA safe levels.
What advice do you have for women looking to start a business?
Start by mapping out your company vision and your journey. The vision should be big and bold, but the journey should be much more micro, helping you to stay focused each day on achieving small things, that will all lead you closer towards your vision. The journey is crucial. It will help guide you towards writing a business plan and setting specific goals for the company.
I also recommend talking with other people in the industry about your product or concept. See what industry experts think about your product and try to understand if your product has an opportunity in the market.
Matcha is so instagrammable—how does Matchaful leverage social media to grow as a brand?
Yes, matcha is super IG friendly! The amazing thing about matcha is it’s versatility. You can make delicious plant-based lattes, add it to your smoothie, or anything else. We have grown social media a couple of ways, but mostly we’ve focused on cultivating an authentic community of people that love matcha just as much as we do. We are fortunate to work with top wellness experts and dieticians to share trustworthy information around matcha’s health benefits, and we also work with healthy lifestyle influencers and recipe developers to educate and inspire.
What’s one matcha recipe that you can’t live without?
One thing I discovered a long time ago is that you can combine 1/2 tsp matcha with 1 cup of cold water, ice cubes, and add it to a water bottle, cocktail shaker, or anything with a lid and shake it up. The matcha blends perfectly after a few shakes.
In the summertime, I add matcha, water, and muddle a little mint into my matcha (using our Emerald - “ceremonial” grade) then add a (1/2 tsp) lime juice and an optional (1/2 tsp) of agave or coconut nectar. It’s the most refreshing drink EVER.
Stay tuned for a Simply Gum and Matchaful giveaway coming up!