Graham Fortgang, CEO and founder of MatchaBar, and his brother Max were on a quest that many busy people seek: they were looking for something to fuel their hectic lives. Coffee and energy drinks weren’t doing the trick. The brothers discovered matcha, green tea leaves that have been ground into a fine powder, by chance in a New York tea shop and immediately loved the flavor and how they felt invigorated after enjoying it.
Their research led them to discover that historically matcha has been used to enhance focus, energy and alertness. The brothers credit matcha’s combination of antioxidants, caffeine and L-theanine with providing “better energy” to fuel their passions. They realized if it worked for them, maybe they had a chance to improve other people’s lives in the same way. So they committed to introducing matcha to more people. They opened the first matcha-based cafe in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2014 as the first step towards that mission.
Japanese Matcha Finds a Home in the U.S.
Within months of opening, the brothers shared samples with a Whole Foods Market NYC-based forager, which led to three area stores carrying the MatchaBar bottles. The brothers then expanded their operation west, opening a store in Los Angeles. Not long after, their products became available nationwide on Whole Foods Market shelves.
MatchaBar directly partners with a family farm in Nishio, Japan to source the finest ceremonial-grade matcha, which is rarely used for bottled matcha tea. Because of this partnership with the farm, the brothers make a visit each year for the spring harvest. “We are deeply committed to support the agriculture industry in Japan with their business and the newfound popularity of matcha that they have pioneered and helped sustain,” said Graham.
MatchaBar recently announced a partnership with a 10th grade “chasi” — also known as a master tea blender — to produce their exclusive blend of MatchaBar matcha. This master blender is only one of 13 in the world with this certification. “It is so humbling working in Kagoshima, Japan alongside family farmers and our master tea blender to create meaningful relationships that go far beyond the confines of our business,” said Graham.
Bring the experience home. Pick up bottled matcha drinks in Apple Ginger, Hint of Honey, Mint or Original at your local Whole Foods Market store today.