I’m excited to share with you this little interview with one of the co-founders of Matcha Maiden, Sarah Holloway. Matcha Maiden is an up-and-coming Australian-based matcha green tea brand which is adored by fans worldwide. And the beautiful Sarah is a little bit of a celebrity in her own right (have you found her on Insta as @spoonful_of_sarah yet or checked out her blog? Amazing!). She’s also incredibly lovely, warm and kind to boot. So read on to learn a little bit more about her and Matcha Maiden!
I can’t quite recall exactly when I started really taking to matcha; as a child I remember it as something that was in a few of the cakes and sweet things I’d eat (having an Asian mum who liked going to Asian bakeries!). But in my adult years it’s had a huge resurgence in a much healthier form – pure matcha green tea powder, perfect for drinking straight up with hot water or blending into a delicious matcha smoothie. Okay…and I still like to put it in sweets, too!
Another thing I can’t quite recall is just how I formed a bond with the gorgeous Sarah, whose business Matcha Maiden produces my favourite matcha powder (that’s perfect for busy bees like me because it blends so quickly into drinks without whisking). As is almost typical of my weird health-foodie life these days, social media has played matchmaker and we’ve wound up becoming pals, despite us occupying opposite ends of the world at the moment.
Since I’ve gotten to know Sarah, Matcha Maiden has gone from strength to strength, and it just keeps on blooming. As well as the signature matcha, you can now try all sorts of plant-based delights at Melbourne’s Matcha Mylkbar, as well as find Matcha Maiden matcha popping up in cool product collaborations, like these tasty bliss balls with Fit Mixes. The product is amazing. But I also think one of the other key reasons for the brand’s success is the drive, passion and good hearts of its founders.
I hope you enjoy this little interview with Sarah!
1. What got you so personally hooked on matcha?
Nic and I are big travellers and had both originally discovered matcha in its traditional ceremonial context in Japan. I have always loved green tea and everything green tea flavoured, so it was no surprise that I loved matcha just as much. We encountered it again in more adventurous forms across Asia and the US, particularly in LA where the green smoothie is king. But the real obsession began in Hong Kong where I spent six months with my law firm at their global HQ. Just before then I had been on a field trip to Africa and become quite sick so was told I had to drop drinking coffee for a while. For an M&A lawyer, that’s an absolute disaster and I wasn’t sure I’d survive without my hit of caffeine! But of course, in Asia where matcha isn’t exactly a new thing, I rediscovered matcha smoothies and lattes and realised I didn’t need coffee at all – I’d found a replacement that was tastier, gentler on my system and super healthy. What’s not to love! I haven’t had a coffee since then and haven’t looked back!
This of course was how Matcha Maiden began – when I came home totally hooked, I was surprised how hard it was to find any. I could only find exorbitantly expensive ceremonial tea that required a whisk and effort to prepare or ingredient grade that was mixed with sweetener or filler ingredients compromising the health benefits. So Nic and I decided to source some from overseas and could only buy in bulk – what to do with all the leftovers? Start a business of course! And it’s been matcha madness since then!
2. Recently you planted some serious concrete roots, opening Matcha Mylkbar in Melbourne. How long did it take you to progress from idea to opening?
We both like to move pretty quickly especially when we’re passionate about an idea and our business partners in Matcha Mylkbar (Mark and Attil Filippelli who own the café that was our first Matcha Maiden stockist) are the same, which works very well. Nic and I launched Matcha Maiden only a month after first having the idea and Matcha Mylkbar was similar – we decided on New Year’s Eve to go ahead with it and we opened the café in April! It was a bit of a manic period, but we loved every minute of it.
The idea came from our travels (again) in the US together with Mark where we spent a lot of our time café hopping and observing the food trends. There was an increasing vigour in the vegan movement and also a number of matcha specialty venues opening up around the place. Looking more into the vegan movement we discovered the Blue Zones – the five regions of the world where people live the longest, the common factor among them being a majority plant based diet. Okinawa, the Blue Zone with the highest amount of 100 year olds, also owes its longevity to high levels of matcha consumption. So our venue brings these two concepts together to build a vibrant, colourful and nutritious menu supporting both longevity and sustainability through plant based eating integrating lots of matcha into our dishes and drinks. And of course, everything is infinitely Instagrammable! Check us out @matcha_mylkbar!
3. A question inspired by feelings of homesickness from me… what are some of your favourite places to hang in Melbourne at the moment, whether for eating or working out? (besides Matcha Mylkbar of course!)
Oh my gosh, where do you even start? We are totally spoilt in Melbourne – it’s an absolutely health haven! I love eating at Fourth Chapter, Serotonin Eatery, LBSS Café, Feast of Merit, Palate… I could literally go on forever in the food department, I very rarely eat at home, we just have so much choice here. As for workouts, I love Happy Melon studios, One Hot Yoga, Kaya Health Clubs, KX Yoga/Pilates/Cycle and Bodhi and Ride (but again, there are so many studios to choose from!)
4. And for my London readers… where can we find Matcha Maiden locally?
At the moment, we’re in a bit of a transition phase but you can find us at Natural Fitness Food and Xtend Barre London for now and of course online (we ship globally!).
5. Besides all things matcha, you’ve got quite a large personal social media following and a gorgeous blog to boot. What are you passionate about besides your matcha business?
I absolutely love travel and languages as well as dance, yoga and music. Food is also a big passion of mine whether it be eating out, food styling, cooking, recipe development or supermarket shopping (I get WAY too excited in supermarkets). I love walking our dog Paul too, animals bring so much joy. I get pretty excited about most things in life, to be honest!
6. Please share with us a favourite recipe of yours / one of your favourite ways to enjoy matcha.
I’m fairly in love with matcha bliss balls. My favourite are our DIY raw matcha cheesecake protein balls which you can find here: Matcha Maiden Raw Cheesecake Protein Balls