Holy Matcha! Green Dining in a Health-Conscious Community
Holy Matcha in North Park
Holy Matcha in North Park
Move over caffeine-lovers and set your eyes on the new green matcha machine. Having made its debut in North Park only two months ago, Holy Matcha has become a new city favorite and matcha haven. Although the matcha craze has taken over Los Angeles and New York, Holy Matcha marks the first of its kind in San Diego. Explains owner and founder Geraldine Ridaura, “The main reason I wanted to bring matcha to San Diego is because there was a void in the market. Being a graduate from USD, I wanted to apply what I learned from business school to real life. It feels humbling to open the first matcha café in San Diego.”
After traveling to Japan, Ridaura devised her dream of pursuing a business venture with matcha as the focal point. “It all stemmed from not being able to drink coffee. My mother drank matcha, and she was the one that introduced me to it,” reflects Ridaura as she explains the early beginnings of her love for matcha. “Traveling to Japan solidified my obsession, and I knew from then on I could never drink anything else.”
Aside from having a personal connection, Ridaura also accredits her love for matcha to its positive transformations to her health. Through her research, Riadura strongly believes that matcha is a great, if not better, alternative to coffee.
“Coffee has its benefits, but matcha is far superior with its health benefits and the effect it has on your body,” explains Ridaura. “Coffee affects the nervous systems – the reason for the jitters – whereas matcha does not.” Researchers have found that matcha does reap a surplus of health benefits that include lowering cholesterol, increasing energy, reducing stress and inflammation, fighting free radicals and more. Ridaura notes that while she trusted matcha’s health benefits, she instinctively knew that the health-conscious society of San Diego would embrace the Japanese beverage just as much as she envisioned.
“I love San Diego. People here are health-conscious now more than ever,” Ridaura explains. “I also knew that the San Diego market wants more elevated concepts that challenge the norm and provide a unique experience, so I am proud to bring something new to San Diego.”
Although small, Holy Matcha’s menu features matcha-focused items that accommodate a healthy lifestyle. All of the café’s drinks are dairy-free, giving customers the options of almond or coconut milk. Their menu includes avocado toast, almond toast, vegan yogurt bowls with fruit and matcha chia pudding. Although healthy, the café doesn’t let the fear of diet rules prevent them from offering decadent sweets. The menu also includes customer-favorite vegan matcha donuts and matcha pound cake that can perfectly complement any of the lattes, teas and lemonades offered.
“I wanted to keep the menu simple yet impactful, which meant all the flavors needed to be amazing. Every item
on the menu I had been making at home for myself prior to opening Holy Matcha. The drinks were all my personal taste, especially the lemonades,” says Ridaura.
Healthy and reasonably-priced, it can be surprising to know that the café décor could play a large role in why customers love the North Park residency as much as they do. As soon as customers walk into the shop, they’re faced with millennial-pink, floral decorations and a hipster ambiance that screams Instagram goals.
Ridaura explains that the visual concept was devised long before the location opened its doors. After joining forces with interior design firm HOMEWORK, Holy Matcha became the new pink royalty of North Park, something Ridaura knew would stand out among traditional coffee shops and eateries. “Since this was the first matcha cafe in San Diego, I knew from the beginning it had to take a different form than the minimalist look that’s found in many of the coffee shops here,” Ridaura says. “I decided to pull inspiration from my travels and up the wow factor with the design to create something unique, elegant and of-the-moment.” The result became something Ridaura is proud of, further adding, “The space [has] cool, chill vibes [and] an elegance that makes it feel like you’re at a modern-day tea parlor.” Holy Matcha’s décor features a custom pink velvet banquette, a quartz book-matched waterfall bar, vintage-inspired seating and floral decorations that make customers feel as if they’re in a Garden of Eden.
Although success is never guaranteed, Ridaura states that the reception to her café has been overwhelming, only validating her pursuit of her personal business venture more. “The many positive interactions I’ve had with my customers and support I’ve experienced since opening has only confirmed that I made the right choice,” Ridaura happily adds.
While Ridaura says her future looks “busy and pink,” the possibility for future endeavors is not out of the question. “Holy Matcha is my everything for the time being, but why stop here? You never know,” suggests Ridaura. Whatever her next venture is, it’s safe to say the city will be ready.
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