The gorgeous pink cup and green froth combo is unmistakable. Cha Cha Matcha has cornered the market on matcha and with good reason. The modern matcha company has taken the world by storm, correctly identifying that city dwellers need a brain break from the day to day grind as well as wanting delicious matcha energy served up to them in a perfectly pleasing cup.
Since founding and signing their first lease in 2015 (shortly after college graduation), Cha Cha Matcha co-founders Matthew Morton and Conrad Sandelman have re-introduced the ancient powder into mainstream food and hospitality culture by way of their “Instagrammable” locations in New York and Los Angeles. They’ve used their retail locations as a platform to educate consumers on the efficacy and potency of well-made matcha and most importantly, have struck partnerships with fashion giants like Virgil Abloh and Versace, which has enabled the brand to conjoin food and fashion in a way no other brand has done before, bringing a relevancy to an otherwise antiquated caffeine source.
With new locations and collaborations on the horizon and no signs of slowing down, the handsome pair are the definition of modern entrepreneurs. What sets them apart is their dedication to matcha quality combined with an understanding of the modern consumer. Top it off with killer branding and it’s no surprise the line for Cha Cha is always out the door.
What was the inspiration for Cha Cha Matcha? MATTHEW MORTON/ CONRAD SANDELMAN: We became best friends in college and did everything together. We were addicted to Red Bull and needed it to study and party. We never liked coffee or identified with cafe culture. One day on the way to the gym we stopped and got a matcha and immediately fell in love with it. We were also studying a Starbucks case study in school at the time and we realized it was impossible to get a good matcha latte in New York City. So we decided to marry that with cafe culture.
You are known for your amazing branding, can you discuss your distinct design? MM/CS: While we were on the path to building our brand, we visited a lot of coffee shops and found out that all these coffee shops were all copies of the same thing. Dark wood, standoffish baristas: everything was a replication. We felt no attachment to any of that. We instantly fell in love with a vibrant color palette - the vibrant green color of matcha. We also felt there was nowhere in New York City where you could just take a vacation from your busy city life. Complimentary color to green is pink, and everything just kind of grew from there.
What are some upcoming initiatives? MM/CS: We are focusing on cool, meaningful collaborations that make sense for the brand. We can’t say too much yet but they are definitely exciting! We also have some pretty cool products that are coming out with a focus on making our matcha more accessible.
What does wellness mean to you? MM/CS: Wellness is treating your mind and body right. Matcha does both of those things! Matcha can bring you mental clarity and is full of amino acids. Also finding out what your body isn't reacting well to. The biggest component of that for us was our caffeine intake. Switching from coffee to matcha was huge.
Wellness is also giving back. Everything in our cafes is compostable. We’re a 1% company. The green of color of matcha is also about the planet.
Favorite Matcha Order? MM/CS: Iced matcha every day! Or ginger turmeric latte if we want a bit of a treat. It’s so good and spicy.
Favorite LA Spots? MM/CS: Erewhon, Giorgios, Gallery Department...