Whether you are a matcha fan or not–I bet you’ll be a fan of Ashley Townend. She’s the founder of Wanna Matcha?–a pop up shop that serves matcha mocktails around Boise. Not only are her unique drinks delicious, (I’m looking at you unicorn matcha), but her and her husband Austin are all smiles every Saturday at their pop up booth at the Boise Farmer’s Market. If you’re not local to Boise Ashley’s still got plenty of matcha knowledge to pass on and this week she’s sharing it with us.
GMG: Though I think most of our readers have heard of matcha, can you describe what it is and its benefits?
AT: Matcha is the powder form of shade-grown green tea. To my understanding the green tea plants for matcha are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest. The shade growth provides more theanine and caffeine. The combination is what gives you the ‘focused-calm energy’ as opposed to the coffee jitters and a giant afternoon crash.
Tell us the story of Wanna Matcha? How long have you been in business?
Well, here we go. Austin and I went on a LONG trip to Europe. Two months to be exact. There I discovered Matcha. I was so drawn to it! Once we got home I actually forgot about it for about a month. Then I saw the flyer I put on our fridge for a matcha place in England. Once I started drinking it daily, I was hooked. Wishing I could get it in town, I of course realized there wasn’t a matcha shop. So, then naturally, I thought to just start one. I looked into how matcha shops are doing and was amazed at the ‘craze’ it has become. SO WE JUMPED ON IT. Two weeks after applying for BFM as well as getting all the legal things in order, we were up and running on April Fools Day 2017. Here we are ‘snowballing’ like crazy.
Ashley & Austin of Wanna Matcha? (Photo: Morgan Mcgoff @morgan.julann)
You’ve only been in business since April, what has been the most surprising part of the process so far?
Really just the entire thing in general. I never really thought I would ever own a business. Yet, here we are. Not only that, but the support from the community. We have amazing volunteers (too many really) that want to help. That to me is just amazing and wonderful.
What is the best part about being part of the Boise Farmer’s Market?
Like I mentioned earlier, the community out there really is amazing. All of the businesses there are all so helpful and kind. I think any event or market needs to have that camaraderie, rather than competition. It really makes it or breaks it for us.
What has been your craziest Wanna Matcha? moment?
Oh my goodness, for sure the day at the market when it was CRAZY WINDY. I was about to shut down and just leave. However, again, everyone at the market banned together and made it through. I mean, really, we took everything off the tables. We took our tent town, got sun burns. It was horrible. Not to mention we were still so busy and killing it. It was a whirlwind, literally.
First thing in the morning, do you have matcha or coffee?
MATCHA ALL THE WAY. Now matcha and coffee can’t even compete—they are two different things. However, I find that I feel better throughout the day when I only drink matcha.
Bubba Gump style…. how many uses for matcha can you name?
Ha ha, this is so great. Just like Bubba Gump, Matcha Muffins, Matcha Ice cream, Matcha Smoothies, Matcha Cookies, Matcha Lattes, Matcha Mocktails (shameless plug), Matcha FACEMASKS, matcha chapstick (yes, I have seen it), Acme made matcha bread that was to die for. Literally….so many options.
Unicorn Matcha, Matcha Mule, Some Like it Hot. Those are just a few of your recipes that I order (almost) weekly. How do you come up with the recipes? Who tastes tests?
I do a lot of research. I look at places in New York and LA. I love to see what other people are doing, then we spice whatever up in our own way. More importantly, we look at what is in season. We really want our menu to reflect the seasons. What ever we make I then sometimes have a friend come over and try it. Austin does a lot of the testing as well. Honestly, it is a pretty quick process right now. I would love to have a team in the future for drink making and experimenting. I am sure other people have a more creative brain then I do! I need more brains!
A busy day at the Boise Farmer’s Market (Photo: Laramie Holtman @laramiejr)
Describe your perfect morning.
I love to slowly get ready! I actually enjoy getting up earlier now (thanks to my husband). I love getting up and cleaning up the house a bit, then make breakfast with Austin. Actually sitting down and eating together is my favorite thing. Not to mention, my dog has less anxiety when we sit and eat. Its weird. Then maybe praying together too. We love that.
Favorite self-care activity?
A bath. A girl can never have too many baths. It has become more difficult for me to actually sit and do nothing. No phone, no tv. Just me. It’s good practice.
Ashley’s favorite addition to the bath.
What do you do when you need to feel more self-connected?
I am a big believer in God and I can’t do anything else but pray when I feel a little out of whack, which is quite often.
Since Wanna Matcha? is a staple at the Farmer’s Market, do you have any farmer’s market tips for our readers?
Man, I am so happy that you think we are a staple at the market! Since we have been there only three months now, I feel like we can use all the tips we can. Everyone around us in the market are so helpful and sweet all the time. However, as a customer, I would say please go to the market and try things that you wouldn’t normally try. I can’t tell you how many times we run into people that talk to us and yet don’t even try the sample. You never know, you may like what you try. If you leave hating it, it will not hurt our feelings. One last thing, if you try a sample of something, you don’t have to buy. We really don’t care. So, go out and try some new things.
Tips for brewing matcha at home.
PLEASE sift your matcha. Instead of just throwing your matcha in your cup or whatever, put it through a tea sifter first. You really want to get all those chunks out, and this helps. Then, use a matcha whisk, hand frother, or even a blender to mix your matcha. The more froth the better.
Can you share a matcha recipe with us?
Right now, my favorite is literally just half matcha and water, and half lemonade. So easy and so refreshing.
If you’re in Boise, Wanna Matcha? will be announcing a new location that they will be at daily—stay tune for that! If you aren’t in Boise, take a note from Ashley and brew yourself a matcha today, just make sure you sift it.
(Feature image: Jenny Bowler @jennyand.co)