BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Not long ago, it was an accepted belief that organic matcha was near-impossible to find. You could pay a premium for ceremonial matcha (first-harvest leaves), but not organic matcha.
Hannah Habes founded Matchaful in 2015 with a mission to bring organic matcha to the U.S. — and now she’s one-upping herself with ONE by Matchaful, the first-of-its-kind, organically grown, single-origin matcha.
Habes spent her 20s working in consumer-packaged goods, first at PepsiCo and then at Clif Bar. During her time in the industry, she was surprised by the lack of transparency in the supply chain. She met farmers and heard them speak passionately about their organic practices and thoughts on pesticides. These conversations forever changed the way Hannah thought about the food she put in her body and how it was grown.
Upon her first sip of matcha, Hannah was hooked — she felt more mindful and healthful.
“It dramatically improved my quality of life, it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before,” said Habes.
But despite matcha’s growing popularity — retail sales of matcha grew nearly 55% in the U.S. in 2014, and are expected to grow 25% annually through 2018 — there has been little transparency in the supply chain — authentic matcha is often a blend of matcha powders from various farms, and it’s sometimes even diluted with regular green tea (sencha), so there’s not much insight into where the “matcha” is actually coming from.
During her matcha research, Hannah came across Kunikazu “Kuni” Mochitani, the founder of a solar startup who was inspired by the tragedy of Fukushima to marry solar technology and matcha farming in an innovative way to create renewable energy. Hannah flew to Shizouka, Japan, to meet Kuni and some farmers to understand their process and why organic matcha was so rare (answer: it’s a much more arduous and costly growing process). But she also marveled at Kuni’s clever implementation of solar panels, and how they created a win-win-win situation:
- It produced an additional ~20% of revenue for farmers, helping to offset the costs of organic farming and bridging the rural-urban wage gap
- It provided the necessary shade for the last month of matcha before harvest, which contributes to matcha’s umami flavor and signature “calm energy”
- It provided clean energy to cities, proving that Japan needn’t rely on nuclear energy.
Partnering with Kuni’s farms, Matchaful is bringing its organic, single-origin matcha to America — the only foodservice brand with the rights to do so — giving consumers peace of mind about their matcha’s journey from farm to whisk. Like its original line of matcha, ONE by Matchaful is available in two grades: Hikari (for sipping) is $42, while Kuni (for mixing) is $33.
Matchaful is a Brooklyn grown and Portland-based, purpose-driven matcha purveyor. After discovering the antioxidant power, calm energy, and umami flavor of matcha, Hannah Habes founded Matchaful in 2015 to bring top-quality, organic matcha to American consumers. Matchaful is a proud member of the 1% for the Planet environmental initiative.