Matcha Is a Darling of Social Media and Powdered Teas Are a Growing Wholesale Enterprise for the Tea Industry

With a rich concentration of antioxidants as well as caffeine, it’s no surprise that matcha continues to be a trending beverage on social media – as well as a growing wholesale enterprise for the tea industry.

Matcha has sparked a global market, pushing for an increase in importation and wholesale programs, especially in the United States. In fact, “Matcha is forecasted to grow at a compound annual rate of 9.44 percent between 2022 and 2027, reaching an expected revenue of $5.5 billion by 2027,” per a research paper, “The Global Matcha Tea Industry.”

This projected growth highlights the continued desire for cafes, restaurants and bars to feature matcha on their menus. And, of course, wholesale programs for matcha have led to creative ways to promote the consumption of the green tea powder.

The Dominant Japanese Tea Export

According to the Japan Tea Export Promotion Council, matcha has become the dominant Japanese tea export with two thirds of the export value generated by powdered teas last year.

In 2022, the percentage of Japanese teas exported to the United States market in powdered form reached 76 percent, highlighting a continued growth in the beverage’s popularity.

Wholesale matcha companies like Mizuba Tea Co., based in Portland, Ore. and Santa Barbara, Calif., promote new ways to incorporate matcha into bars and restaurants. Founder Lauren Purvis shared that part of the draw to the increased popularity of matcha is the emerging culture of food and beverage as function.

“There is a large demographic of customers who pursue matcha solely for health,” said Purvis. “I personally think anything that promotes making matcha accessible — but keeping the integrity and quality of the tea – is exciting to me.”

Something that has been a focus for Purvis is quality. Through transparency about sourcing matcha through direct trade and personally knowing suppliers and tea farmers, Purvis has been able to make quality a key component of her education to customers.

And in the continued drive to support the education of matcha to consumers, Purvis has offered a matcha tasting experience through Airbnb in Portland, Ore., embracing the roots of matcha.

Mizuba Tea Co. has also been opening the door to contemporary trends and ideas with tea beverages, encouraging its wholesale clients to think “outside of the pot,” expanding the education and creativity of the powdered tea.

“In a café setting, 99 percent of matcha orders are for matcha lattes,” said Purvis. “However, we have had many of our cafe partners use matcha in exceptionally creative ways. My personal favorite – the Mizuba Matcha soda. Paired with sparkling water’s popularity, matcha sodas and tonics are quite exciting.”

Matcha Trends and Innovation - Matcha Caffeine - Matcha Latte - Iced
Iced matcha (Photo by: Adelaide Green)

Matcha Grows in Popularity Because of Its Versatility

Matcha has grown as more than just beverage consumption. Recipes, to make at home featuring the powder, ranging from fortune cookies to seaweed-matcha butter, have broken the tradition of the tea just being a drink.

Stemming from restaurant menus featuring ice-creams and cakes that have the powdered tea incorporated, the 106,000,000 results (in 0.37 seconds) that one gets from searching up “matcha recipes” attests to how matcha has become integral to tea culture.

The creativity of matcha has even built up more interest into the world of powdered teas, including hojicha. This roasted green tea is versatile, similar to matcha. Other than the taste of rich nutty and cocoa notes, the lower caffeine content makes it sought after.

Matcha Stirs up Interest in Hojicha

Hojicha Co., the first and only brand to specialize in freshly roasted green tea from Kyoto, Japan, has begun opening the door to promoting the consumption of this beverage since 2018. Co-Founders Danielle Geva and Francois Mathieu have noted the growth trend and an increased popularity in the beverage.

“New generations are not drawn to a highly caffeinated lifestyle or to alcoholic beverages as much as previous generations,” shared Mathieu. “Tea – and, in particular, hojicha –  is a good alternative for those seeking a relaxing beverage.”

Interest in hojicha is at its highest point in the United States this year, opening the door to its growing popularity in Hawaii, California and Washington. Mathieu pointed out that some markets are ahead of the United States with regards to the popularity of hojicha. And it’s now possible to order a hojicha latte at major chains such as Starbucks in Singapore and Taiwan, and several other countries across Asia, further opening the accessibility to the beverage.

Hojicha Co. has been making it even more accessible for restaurants and cafes to expand their powdered tea offerings with an active wholesale program, dedicated to growing the popularity of this roasted tea.

“Customer education is key in achieving commercial success with hojicha,” said Mathieu, “The name of the tea is not self-explanatory for those new to it, and it may help to highlight some characteristics of the tea such as its roasting process and flavor.”

The continued drive for expanding tea experiences is based in consumer education, and by promoting their wholesale clients to be educated, Hojicha Co. encourages businesses to include hojicha on their menus.

“It is easy for businesses to broaden their offering with hojicha, especially if they already offer matcha beverages or food items,” Mathieu said, “A good place to start is to use hojicha powder in the same way as they would use matcha, as a hojicha latte for example.”

By introducing this second powdered tea offering, businesses are maximizing their equipment’s use while also joining in on an ever-evolving trend of the next thing in tea. With the evolution of matcha’s trending success, hojicha’s own success is progressing away from only consumers with affinity for Japanese food and cultural exports, but to other audiences becoming familiar with hojicha through their local tea or coffee shop.

Adelaide Green is an avid tea drinker, who has worked professionally in the tea industry for five years. Living in St. Petersburg, Fla., Green attended the University of South Florida to persue a bachelor's degree in food and travel writing. She spends her days reading, drinking tea, and spending time with her cat, Pretzel.

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