If you haven’t heard about matcha, then listen up. This wonderful green tea product is the latest and greatest to hit our radar because of its amazing health properties and its ease for which we can incorporate it into our everyday life.
Leading the way in matcha is the team behind Matcha Maiden, Sarah and Nic, who started the brand after discovering the benefits of matcha during their travels around Asia. We get the lowdown on why matcha is so good for you and learnt a bit more about how Matcha Maiden came about with Sarah from Matcha Maiden.
Congratulations on the success of Matcha Maiden. Tell us a little bit about Matcha and why it’s so good for us?
Thank you so much! It’s been absolute matcha madness lately – we’ve been overwhelmed at the love and support we’ve seen so far and are so excited to have been able to grow such a beautiful matcha family in such a short time.
Matcha may sound fancy and mysterious but it’s actually really simple and you’re probably more familiar with it than you think – it is 100% pure green tea leaves ground into a fine powder. We all know the potential health benefits of green tea and since matcha is a concentrated form of green tea (allowing you to drink the whole leaf instead of throwing it out with the tea bag), it packs a concentrated punch of all the health benefits in terms of vitamins and minerals, metabolism, energy, mental focus, and great taste. It can contain up to 137 x the antioxidants of regular green tea! It also make a great alternative to coffee given it has a lower level of caffeine and a wonderful little amino acid called L-theanine that ensures a slow release to the bloodstream and helps prevent the “jitters”.
Traditionally, matcha is consumed in Japan as a ceremonial tea and has been around for centuries. Zen Buddhist monks have been reaping the benefits since long before tea-toxes were a thing. You may not have heard of matcha because it’s only recently that it has made its move from the tea category to the health food category (we’re not sure why it took so long but we hope we’ve helped push it out into the world). Matcha Maiden’s mission has been to spread the magic of this gorgeous green powder as far and wide as possible introducing it to the world as not just a plain old tea but a versatile, nutritious and delicious superfood!
What inspired you to start Matcha Maiden?
My partner, Nic, and I have both travelled extensively in our time and first encountered matcha as a form of green tea. A stint in LA (which is always a few steps ahead with health food trends) introduced us to the idea of matcha green smoothies and other more creative healthy uses for this superfood superstar of a powder. We again encountered various green tea flavoured goodies in our adventures in Hong Kong last year (some healthy, some not so healthy) and revived our love of the flavour as well as the vast health benefits of matcha in its pure form.
On our return home, we found Australia to be a teeny bit late to the matcha party and were unable to find something pure, organic, reasonably priced, and marketed as a versatile superfood (rather than just a tea product). Yep, another one of those stories where we pretend that we predicted the market trends and planned everything out in fine detail but in fact discovered a gap in the market based on our own personal desires! Our cravings led us to do some research and purchase some different kinds in bulk. We figured if we felt that way there must be at least a few other people out there who feel the same – and so, Matcha Maiden was born!
For others that are inspired to start their own business, what are the three top tips you’ve learnt as you’ve set up Matcha Maiden?
The MOST important tip that I was given and would pass on is that if you’re inspired to start your own business, then just start it. One of my favourite quotes is that “doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”. Sometimes if you agonise too much over the risks, obstacles and fears you have, you never get started and never have a chance to see how great it might have been. The hardest bit is starting, and once you get some more experience and meet other small business owners, you realise EVERYONE is just winging it and learning along the way. You’ll never feel 100% ready so there’s no point waiting for that elusive “perfect moment”. Just get started!
A second tip would be one that neither of us are particularly good at but we’re trying very hard to improve – another favourite quote (I live a lot of my life based on quotes – they’re the pillars of my philosophy), “look after your body, it’s the only place you have to live”. New businesses do take up an enormous amount of time, effort, emotions and money and can create a lot of anxiety, sleep deprivation and other forms of stress. Without a structured working environment, it’s hard to put your foot down and decide that it’s time to stop for the day and rest. So you have to impose that on yourself and be incredibly disciplined, otherwise you never take the time to rest and recover. And what use are you to your business and customers if you’ve burnt out? Be kind to yourself.
The third tip would be something I say in the context of business but also apply to life in general – the smallest things can make the biggest difference. We started Matcha Maiden with a family vibe and despite our growth have really strived to keep that community feeling going. We respond to all e-mails personally and try to respond to all social media comments with more than a generic response. We often send notes out with our packets with handwritten messages tailored to each customer. That personal touch isn’t hard to add, but it makes so much difference to the recipient. I have had such positive experiences as a customer myself with certain companies and have tried to do the same with matcha. And it comes back to you in so many other ways, far beyond financially. We try to assist with promotions and helping other brands and even just customers in any way we can, even if its unrelated to matcha. It really doesn’t cost anything to choose to reply in a warm and respectful way rather than a generic and abrupt way. Even just a sentence can brightens someone’s day, so why not do that where you can?
What are some of your favourite uses of Matcha?
We’re a bit biased as we basically throw matcha into everything. Sweet, savoury, face masks, anything! So my favourite use would be universal use! I’m a sucker for just plain green tea, so I often am a bit lazy and just have it plain. I love a green smoothie though, and they’re equally easy to prepare so my go to is coconut water, a banana, handful of spinach and some matcha. Nic also likes to use it in a savoury context and often uses it instead of salt. He adds it to salad dressings and stir fries (yep, he cooks – got me a keeper!) He also works out a lot and enjoys it just in cold water or a protein shake pre or post workout.
If we have a bit more time, I LOVE matcha desserts. The raw dessert recipes of some of our followers are absolutely INSANE! So I love replicating their dessert ideas especially with choc mint or coconut. It’s just too hard to pick a favourite!
What’s the most innovative way you’ve seen someone use Matcha in their day to day life?
Again, that’s a super hard one because our beautiful matcha family have produced SO many wonderfully innovative and creative recipes! We have loved seeing some of the natural DIY face mask ideas that have popped up and obviously I’m always blown away by how people manage to make desserts that are delicious AND nutritious – I mean, guilt free choc mint matcha raweos (raw oreos)? Who wouldn’t kill for one of those!!!!!! I think the most unexpected recipe we’ve seen was probably an amazing rockling matcha green curry by a dear friend and talented chef, Ryan, of Tall Timber.
What’s next for Matcha Maiden?
To be honest, we haven’t had much time to breathe since the matcha mission began meaning we haven’t been able to stop, take a step back and evaluate the next steps. We obviously hope to just keep growing the matcha family as far and wide as possible, and have been getting a strong response overseas which is very exciting! We’re going to Japan in a few weeks to spend time with our tea farmers and hopefully that will give us a bit of time to set some new goals for the next phase of our growth. We love working with other like-minded people though, we are ALL about the people element of this health foodie community, so I expect lots of collaborations and exciting things to come!