5th March 2019
Green is the New Black
We speak to Olivia Nottin, founder of Matcha & Beyond about life on the King’s Road and why Green is the new Black…
What is Matcha?
Matcha is the product of stoneground tea-leaves, which are unheated to preserve their nutrients and they are far less processed than regular green tea-leaves.
The plants are covered and grown in the shade for a month prior to harvest. This slows down growth, stimulates an increase of chlorophyll levels, turns the leaves a darker shade of green, and causes the production of amino acids, in particular theanine, which makes matcha one of the greatest source of antioxidants.
After harvesting, the leaves are steamed, air-dried, de-veined, de-stemmed, and stone-ground to a fine, bright green, talc-like powder.
Grinding the leaves is a slow process. The millstones must not get too warm as the aroma of the leaves will alter. It takes up to one hour to grind 30 grams of matcha.
The highest grades of matcha have more intense sweetness and deeper flavor as well as a bright green colour.
What does the King’s Road mean to you and why did you choose it as the first destination for Matcha & Beyond?
Since I moved from Paris to London 16 years ago, I have always lived in Chelsea. A few years ago, walking along the King’s Road became my weekend routine and were filled with window shopping, long brunches with friends which often ended up in a local pub. Then this gradually changed to walking along the King’s Road towards St. Luke’s or the September rush to Peter Jones to get ready for taking my children back to school. I love the way you can get pretty much anything you need on the King’s Road, from convenience, beauty & wellbeing, restaurants to fashion, so without any hesitation, I felt I should open Matcha and Beyond where it feels like home. This could appear to be more of a personal preference than a business decision, but it was a balanced choice in between the two. I carefully research if my offer would meet Chelsea customer’s needs and it seemed there was evidence for this. I don’t believe matcha to be a trend or a hipster product; I believe that wellness and leading a healthy lifestyle are a trend set to last. Moreover, matcha has been a staple drink for thousands of years in Asia.
What is unique about Matcha & Beyond?
The concept of a dedicated matcha café or matcha bar started in NYC and California a couple of years ago. I was inspired by the idea, but I also wanted to create something that reflects my ethos and who I am, that is why I chose the name- Matcha and Beyond.
Beyond matcha, I am also a nutritional therapist, passionate about food and balanced recipes but who also has strong French roots and believes that you can indulge too from time to time. It took me 18 months to develop all recipes is my own kitchen at home and I now have an amazing team in the on-site kitchen at Matcha and Beyond who are preparing everything daily and who I develop new recipes with. I feel that even if we already have a best seller, it is important to update our offering regularly – there is so much you can do with matcha!
What has surprised you the most since opening?
I knew that there was some demand for a matcha latte, but it was still a niche product, so during our opening month, I predicted to serving one matcha for one coffee, but from day one we were selling 3 matchas for 1 coffee.
Who are your regular customers?
Our regular customers are all very different, during the week they tend to live or work locally, mothers coming after school drop off, people working remotely, we also have a very loyal Japanese following who come regularly, which I see as a sign that I must do things right.
What do you enjoy most about working on the King’s Road?
What amazes me during the week, is it feels a bit like a village, you see locals coming in regularly but then during the weekend, it all changes and the road becomes a destination for food and shopping for people living all over London and abroad.
Plans for the future (the space downstairs)…
There are so many things I want to develop, that’s just who I am (I not very good at sitting still), but I pace myself not to go too fast and make sure that Matcha and Beyond always meets the standards I have set.
In the very near future, I am organizing Matcha and Meditation Classes, as well as Matcha Masterclasses in our lovely room on the lower ground floor.
Also, and I’m letting you in to a bit of a secret, I am working on a recipe for matcha ice cream to hit the café before the summer.