I recently had a great conversation with the co-founder of Zendori Matcha, Felice. Read below, as she shares her fearless journey to success, and talks about the wonderful benefits of matcha tea!
- Please give us the scoop about yourself and ZendoriMatcha.com?
My name is Felice and I am the co-founder of Zendori Matcha. I graduated from Georgia Tech as a chemical engineer several years ago. I never pursued the engineering field, instead I decided to chase after my dream of being an entrepreneur. This high spirit of ‘be your own boss’ sprouted when I took an online marketing workshop while I was getting ready to attend Georgia Tech. As a young college student who has no capital, I knew that in order to run a successful business, I needed to learn everything that is essential to make my business fly. I reinvested every penny that I earned from my internships to grow my business knowledge, from web building to video editing to accounting, I know them all. Humbly speaking, I’m now a proud owner of several successul businesses with my husband, with our youngest company reaching the $1 million revenue within the first year of its launch.
Today, I’m so excited to announce the launch of our very own matcha green tea powder line—Zendori Matcha. Matcha, which is a type of ground green tea leaves, has been becoming the new trend in the health food industry in the recent years, thanks to its medicinal health properties. Because of that, my husband and I have been looking for matcha tea that we will truly enjoy every day. Unfortunately, we haven’t found one that tastes up to our expectations yet being affordable for everyday consumption. We have literally tried out more than 20 brands of matcha tea! That’s what motivated us to develop what we would consider as the best matcha in the US while keeping an affordable price, so everyone can enjoy the health benefits that matcha offers.
Zendori Matcha is not just another tea company. We are on a mission to inspire people to living a healthy zen-driven lifestyle through the drinking of matcha tea. Life is all about being present, appreciating the little things and living in the moment. We have spent almost a year in the development of Zendori, from sourcing matcha to designing a creative yet meaningful packaging, to make sure that we deliver a complete zen experience to our customers. I believe our customers can feel the love and care we have put into Zendori Matcha when they receive it. It makes a great gift of health!
- What are some of the primary benefits of drinking matcha?
Matcha has so many health benefits. When you drink matcha green tea, you’re ingesting the whole tea leaves and receiving all the nutrients that are present in the leaves. That is why drinking 1 cup of matcha is equivalent to drinking 10 cups of regular green tea. How powerful is that!
Matcha is an antioxidant powerhouse. It has 6 times more antioxidants than goji berry and 25 times more than açai berry; both of which are well-recognized superfood. You know what it means by getting enough antioxidants every day? You have a stronger immune system and you’re able to stay young. Apart from giving you a healthier body, matcha can boost your energy, slow and steady throughout the day. You don’t get the jitteriness, which is a common side effect of coffee due to the rapid rush of caffeine into the system. If you have been trying to lose weight, I have a good news for you! Matcha can boost your metabolism. It is very helpful if you drink a cup of matcha before exercising as research shows that you will be able to burn 25% more fats during your workout session by just doing that. Next important benefit is that matcha is a natural detoxifier because of its high content of chlorophyll, which plays an important role in getting rid of toxins buildup and heavy metals from the body. So, drinking matcha every day is like getting a daily detox. That should keep your engine going for a long long time. Other benefits that make people fall for matcha include mind focus enhancement and total relaxation. It has helped a lot of people with ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) to stay focused.
I can go on and on with the many health benefits matcha offers but I think these are the main reasons that make many people start drinking matcha.
- Can you please give us a brief rundown of the different types of matcha that you offer?
Sure! Zendori Matcha comes in 2 different grades, which are Ceremonial grade for pure drinking pleasure and Culinary grade for blending purpose. We do offer an organic version for each grade, so that the organic enthusiasts can enjoy matcha as well. All of our matcha come from the best soils of Japan (Nishio and Kyoto). They are 100% green tea powder with no additives, such as sugar or artificial flavors, and they are also Kosher certified.
Our Ceremonial/Drinking Grade matcha is made from the youngest and the most tender first harvest tencha green tea leaves. It has a fresh and inviting vegetal aroma and it tastes creamy, smooth and has a hint of lingering umami sweetness. If you love the pure green tea taste, Zendori Ceremonial Grade Matcha will exceed your expectations. This is the kind of tea that is used in the Japanese tea ceremonies, and it can now be enjoyed by everyone.
Now, if you love how matcha tastes and want to add its flavor to your drinks, let’s say smoothies or lattes as these are very popular, then our Culinary/Cooking Grade matcha is what you need. It is made from the second harvest tencha green tea leaves. It is aromatic and has an earthier note that complements very well pretty much any other flavors. Zendori Culinary Grade Matcha is also perfect for baking or cooking (pancakes, cookies, muffins, …) and you can also use it as an ice cream topping. There are endless possibilities. Be creative, and feel free to share your ideas with us! While I highly recommend Zendori Ceremonial Grade for pure drinking, our Culinary Grade is so high in quality that it can be used as a more economical drinking option.
- Is there a “best” way to drink matcha? Are there any guru tips on creating the perfect cup of ZendoriMatcha?
We don’t drink fine wine the same way as we drink water. That applies to matcha as well. Even though you most likely won’t perform the traditional Japanese tea ceremony every time you drink matcha, the most important thing to do when you prepare it is to clear your mind and be in the moment. Take a short 5-minute break to really indulge in the full-bodied flavor that matcha delivers to your taste buds and visualize all the health benefits every sip of matcha brings to your body. Relax and feel the positive energy~ With time, you will build a routine out of this drinking ritual and you will look forward to it every day.
Let me share with you the authentic way of preparing matcha tea. It will definitely enhance your drinking experience if you do it right. Matcha can be prepared as Usucha (thin tea) or Koicha (thick tea), with the Usucha being the most common type of matcha used in the Japanese tea ceremonies. Koicha (thick) is like the Espresso version of matcha. It is strong, bold and very creamy. Usucha (thin) is like the Caffe Americano version of matcha. It is more watery but still tastes strong and creamy. Here’s the matcha-water ratio to prepare Usucha and Koicha.
- Usucha (thin tea): 1/2 tsp matcha + 3 oz hot water (180ºF)
- Koicha (thick tea): 1 tsp matcha + 1.5 oz hot water (180ºF)
Of course, you can play with this ratio until you find the perfect one for you. Everybody has different tastes.
To begin, you will first pour some hot water into a tea bowl and swirl to warm it. Discard the water and sift matcha powder into the bowl. Sifting the matcha powder can prevent lumps from forming, thus making your matcha tea tastes silky. Then, you are going to pour hot water again (180ºF) into your tea bowl that contains the matcha powder. Remember, don’t use boiling water! There’s a reason for that. The higher the quality of matcha, the cooler the water temperature should be to bring out the maximum amount of umami sweetness. I found that 180ºF is the optimum temperature to make a good matcha. Sure, you can go cooler than that, but definitely not hotter.
Next, it’s the whisking step. You will whisk the matcha tea in a zig zag motion. Keep your body relax, just move your wrist. Pay attention to your whisking speed as it will affect the taste of your matcha. You can either whisk it fast or whisk it slow, just not too slow that the matcha and water can’t mix well together. Personally, I like to whisk my matcha fast, I feel that my matcha tastes better this way. You will whisk your matcha for about 20 seconds until it reaches the consistency you want and no lumps remain. If you’re preparing Usucha, you should see a thick froth with many tiny bubbles. If you’re preparing Koicha, your matcha should look like ‘green heavy cream’. There’s no froth. Give both a try and find out which type of matcha you like better. For me, I just love Koicha!
One important note about Koicha here. Not all Ceremonial Grade matcha can be used to prepare Koicha. Only the ones that are made with super high quality green tea leaves can make the perfect cup of Koicha, otherwise your Koicha will taste bitter and powdery, you don’t want that! If you like both Usucha and Koicha, Zendori Ceremonial Grade Matcha will give you the best of both worlds.
- Future goals for Zendori?
As I have mentioned earlier, Zendori is more about reminding people about the importance of living in the moment. We want our customers to feel the positive energy in their life and realize that true happiness lies in the little things around them. I must say, happiness is contagious! If you’re happy, people around you are happier.
Because of that, on top of having Zendori Matcha to continue to reach different corners of the world , we are in the plan to expand Zendori into a new direction, something not expected for what you might have considered as a tea company. In the early 2016, we will be launching a line of wood prints that carry important zen-inspired messages. I believe what makes these art pieces so unique, just like our matcha tea, is the heart we put into the designs. The inspiring messages our art carries should make you feel special. That’s what matters to us—the experience you have!