Matcha Point

Matcha Point

My name is: Hannah Habes.

My stomping ground is: NYC. 

I’m known for being: Founder of Matchaful.

You can find it at: Cafés in NYC (Soho, Nolita, Hudson Yards and Midtown East), as well as online through matchaful.com.

Before I started this work, I was: 

Working full-time for Clif Bar in a senior account management role—and, before that, I was at PepsiCo, working on the Gatorade, Tropicana and Quaker businesses. I was working a ton, traveling a lot and my health started to take a back seat. It wasn’t until I really paid attention to my body and started fueling it with simple, organic ingredients that I started to notice a huge shift in my energy and health. Around that time, my partner (now my husband) was traveling back and forth from Japan for work, and he brought me back a ceremonial tea set of matcha. It was love at first sip. I truly had never experienced anything like it before. After working for large brands with which I didn’t always align, I had finally found a food product about which I was immensely passionate. I started traveling to Japan with my husband, and then I started taking solo trips to really immerse myself in the Japanese culture, business and all things matcha. 

I was always very entrepreneurial as a kid, but, when I told my parents I wanted to quit my day job to start a matcha company, they looked at me like I was a bit crazy. My mom told me to not quit my day job and try it on the side—to see if I could make it a full-time job. I did that for about a year before I officially went full-time. Even then, I had trouble making ends meet and moved back home for about six months in the beginning stages. 

The idea behind it is: 

I was told early on by a few tea industry folks who knew about matcha that I shouldn’t source organic matcha—that it was far less superior than non-organic because the organic had to be harvested earlier, didn’t absorb as much flavor, etc. 

However, I received some organic samples from a high-quality producer and immediately knew that theory was wrong. The organic matcha I started to taste was actually really amazing. Even if it was harder to find the higher quality grades, I knew that it was worth it and really important to my mission. 

It was also incredibly important to me to have a fully transparent supply chain. One of my biggest frustrations in formerly working with big consumer brands was that it was hard to know the origin of an ingredient or product, and there was no connection with the producers. So, I set out to find producers that I could work with more closely and have full transparency to the matcha. Being able to share their stories with our staff and consumers makes me even more proud of the product we offer.

My favorite lesser-known detail is:

One important thing to know is that, with matcha, freshness matters. We’ve always been really careful at Matchaful to order in small batches to preserve the freshness of the product. There are ways to keep it protected at home, but it’s a very delicate product and even the slightest bit of oxidation can degrade the quality. It’s best to consume matcha within the first two months (sooner the better) of opening. 

I really wish I could give every single one of our consumers a fine mesh sifter. This is truly the secret (which I want to make not-so-secret) to having a perfect clump-free matcha every time.

In terms of benefits, matcha has such an incredibly wide array of stunning benefits, including high levels of chlorophyll, l-theanine and particularly powerful antioxidants, but the one thing that I feel whenever I drink matcha is an immediate boost in my happiness and mood. If I’m feeling a bit slow or irritated in the mornings, I sometimes ask myself, “Did you have your matcha yet today?” And most often the answer is no! 

What it means to me to create something with intention is:

I guess it really just started with my own experience. Being in the industry, I saw a lot of thoughtless product launches, brands that capitalized on certain trends and companies that lacked a strong mission and internal culture alignment. 

This motivated me, and still continues to motivate me today, to think differently about how to run a company and how to build a strong company culture.  

I hope that my customers walk away feeling:

I want them to feel delighted and comforted by the deliciousness of their organic matcha drink and/or food.  

The item that I currently can’t live without is:  

Our new Essentials Set and the Shroomy White Chocolate drink on our menu! 

It would make a perfect holiday gift because:

Our Essentials Set is a curation of the best matcha-making essentials from Japan. The quality and care that goes into Japanese craftsmanship is undeniable. So, as we began curating an upgraded set, our first decision was to source all Japanese-made tools. Each item in our Essentials Set, including the pouch, was made in Japan.

The Live The Process piece on my list is:

Wow, tough choice! But, if I had to choose just one piece, it would be the Orion Leggings in Ginger Root.

The words I live by are:

“The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.” — Meister Eckhart

One truth that is so important, but people don’t always realize is:

Savor this very moment, for it only lasts once.

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