The first time Kip and Tiffanie Home attempted to make matcha at home, they admit it was a complete disaster.
A friend had given the Victoria couple a matcha set with matcha powder, a bowl and bamboo whisk, as a house warming gift to make their own version of the popular Japanese green tea at home.
Originally brought to Japan in 1191 by buddhists in China, matcha is made from powder, mixed with hot water, which is then whisked together. But the duo, who had never tried matcha before, made it with boiling water, resulting in what Tiffanie called “green swampy water.”
“We did it without any prior experience and totally messed it up,” laughed Tiffanie. “It was a disaster.”
Over the years, they have slowly perfected the art of making matcha, leaving behind their jobs as a teacher and chartered accountant, and eventually opening Just Matcha, one of the first speciality matcha businesses in Greater Victoria in Oak Bay in 2013.
Now, their love of matcha has spread to Victoria as well, as the couple recently opened a second Just Matcha location on Pandora Avenue.
The business offers a menu of hot drinks, such as traditional matcha, lavender vanilla matcha lattes, caramel matcha lattes, and white chocolate peppermint matcha lattes, as well as cold drinks such as matcha lemonade and matcha creme soda. It also sells the largest selection of matcha in North America, with a number of different grades of matcha, and a variety of baked goods, such as matcha cinnamon buns.
Instead of making the drink the traditional way, the couple, through a number of at-home experiments, has found a unique way to produce the drink using a milk frother.
“We treat matcha here like Starbucks might treat espresso,” said Kip, adding business has been growing since it opened in January with a mix of residents and tourists.
“We use a milk frother which just makes the whole process easier and a little bit more foolproof . . . it takes all the guess work out of it.”
There are also health benefits to drinking matcha as well.
Unlike coffee that provides a spike in energy and crash, the after affects of drinking matcha is described as a “wakeful calmness,” said Tiffanie.
It also has antioxidants that helps protect against blemishes, amino acids that helps improve mood and has antibiotics that help boost the immune system.
“I noticed how great it made me feel. It was really noticeable for me. It was just a different buzz from what I get from coffee. It’s quite a change,” said Kip, a former coffee lover, noting he drinks roughly four to five cups of matcha a day.
“We’re just trying to introduce people to, what we think, is a fantastic drink. We’re taking a modern twist on it to bring it into people’s lives.”
For more information visit justmatcha.com or visit the store at 544 Pandora Ave.