Since I have friends in high places, I was lucky enough to be introduced to the matcha king himself – Steve of Matcha Ninja. Steve is the most NON-typical person you would think of when it comes to the founder of a matcha company. For starters, he’s not Asian. Like, at all.
Secondly, he’s completely Irish. Which was a massive surprise to me, because I thought Irish people only cared about Guinness beer.
ALRIGHTTT, I’ll stop with the stereotypes. But I had to get them out.
I met with Steve last week and drilled him with questions. I wanted to know EVERYTHING there was about starting a company from scratch, where he learnt about tea, and what was it about his matcha, that stood out from the rest.
Beverley: So tell me about how you started Matcha Ninja, and what it took for you to get to where you are now.
MN: Well I moved to Canada about 6 years ago from Ireland. When I first arrived I worked in a corporate job in finance, for three years. I got my masters in business, and studied with Irelands biggest Tea and Coffee company. I knew that that was the industry I wanted to be in. I fell in love with matcha through exploring the tea industry, and as someone who was big into fitness, I was really interested in it’s incredible health benefits.
I knew the product could be improved and so I left my job and put all my money into creating Matcha Ninja.The first couple years were the most difficult – I was knocking on the doors of companies, asking them if they would stock my product. I would get rejected over and over, but I kept going. It was tough making ends meet, and for a while I had to couch surf just to stay above water.
Beverley: That’s amazing – I’ve never met someone who studied tea before, or was so passionate about it. How did you know that Matcha Ninja, and matcha in general, was going to be such a popular success?
MN: There were a couple of reasons – first off, the amazing health benefits that it offers. 1 cup of matcha, is the equivalent to 10 cups of green tea. I started to replace the coffee I was drinking with matcha and quickly noticed the difference in how I felt.
Secondly, the tea industry was just starting to take off – Teavana, Davids Tea – more and more people were loving these specialty tea options. The combination of both of these booming industries made me realize that I had to get in now to really take advantage of this movement.
Beverley: I think the most successful companies come from being able to notice these trends before they really take off. So what makes your matcha stand out compared to all the other companies?
MN: One of the things that I don’t think many people realize, is that a lot of the matcha that coffee shops sell is not very good quality. The matcha you get at Starbucks or Second Cup is 50% sugar! Even if you buy a drink with no sweetener added, there is still sugar in the powder.
My matcha is organic, ceremonial grade matcha. It is not bitter like most matcha you’ve tasted, which means you don’t need to add sugar to be able to enjoy the drink.
The second major selling point is the accessibility and time efficiency of the drink. Rather than having to use a whisk and bowl, you can just add the powder to any warm and cold beverage, and shake it. The matcha is water soluble, so you don’t have to worry about clumping.
Beverley: I think those are all qualities that are so key, especially in this day and age. Okay – last question. When do you personally drink matcha throughout the day?
MN: The first drink I have is in the morning for a metabolic boost. I mix some with lemon water (lemon aids in the absorption of matcha in the system), and drink it while i’m at the gym.
The second time i’ll have it is after the gym in a smoothie. I’ll mix it with milk substitute, bananas, blueberries, and blend it up.
The final time i’ll have it is in the afternoon for a ‘pick me up.’ I’ve completely replaced coffee with matcha and it gives me the perfect amount of energy without getting that jittery caffeine buzz.
Beverley: Amazing!! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. You’ve inspired me to quit my corporate job and blog full time (haha… maybe one day)
To learn more about Matcha Ninja and to check out his product, head to his website here!