For this week’s 52 of YOU I chatted with Sarah Holloway, one half of Melbourne’s own Matcha Maiden. I heard about how she keeps her life balance in check with a business that’s gone from zero to hero in less than a year (while still working full time!) – and the health benefits that her biz is bringing others too.
Sarah started her working life as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer at a leading international law firm. While she enjoyed several years of invaluable learning, development and travel, it became increasingly difficult for her to balance her demanding professional lifestyle with her focus on health and wellbeing together with her more creative side.
To restore some of this balance, Sarah and her partner Nicholas started Matcha Maiden in late 2014 as a passion project but unknowingly stumbled upon a sizeable gap in the market. Having discovered matcha on several of their many overseas adventures, they were surprised to find Australia a little late to the matcha party and were unable to find a product that achieved the right balance between affordability and quality.
So this match(a) made in heaven decided to start their own matcha mission and it’s been matcha madness since then!
You mentioned balance - what does this mean to you?
For me, it means maintaining a lifestyle that allows me to incorporate all of the things I need, enjoy or otherwise value.
I think it’s a very personal thing – everyone will strike a different balance between all the different things that compete for their attention and energy depending on their particular priorities.
You started Matcha Maiden to get more balance – and now you’re busier than ever! How do you keep it in check?
I feel most balanced when I can include family, friends, work, hobbies, exercise, and down time (probably in that order of importance too). I’m not great at making sure the last three of those get their fair share of my attention and they’re the first to go when I’m short on time. Reminding yourself to think about making time for everything is important.
Work is obviously a big part of our lives and when you love your work it can be hard to slow down - but I am very committed to not allowing it to consume me!
What exactly is matcha, and why should we drink it?
Matcha is basically green tea leaves ground into powdered form. The difference with regular green tea is that instead of drinking the brewed water and throwing out the leaves, you actually consume the entire leaf and all its green goodness. Because of this, you can get up to 137 times the antioxidants of regular green tea, more than 10 times that of blueberries, and up to 10 times the overall nutritional content. It can enhance metabolism, immunity, energy, focus and overall wellbeing. It is also a superior caffeine source to coffee as it has a unique amino acid called L-theanine, which ensures a slow release to the bloodstream so you get a boost of energy but it is sustained over a few hours instead of getting the ‘jitters’ associated with coffee. Its caffeine content also makes it a great pre or post workout supplement. Plus it tastes delicious, so if nothing else, that’s a pretty good reason to drink it!
Cool! So...how do we use it?
Traditionally, it’s prepared with a bamboo whisk with hot water and consumed as a special occasion tea. But as matcha comes in powdered form though, there’s no reason why it should only be consumed as a tea. After we first discovered it in Japan, we thought, “why not put it in things other than just plain tea”? And that’s how Matcha Maiden began. We’ve since discovered there are basically no limits to how you can consume it.
What's your favourite way to get your dose of matcha?
I stopped drinking coffee a few years ago, so matcha has been my best friend since then. I sneak it into everything, just to give it that extra hit of health. My favourite way to enjoy it would have to be by adding it to smoothies or if I’m out and about I do enjoy a green tea latte (especially with almond milk – so creamy!). My other favourite way (that isn’t as health-focused – oops!) is to make green tea ice cream – one of my FAVOURITE desserts ever! You can also add it to smoothies, breakfasts, desserts, ice cream, savoury dishes, facemasks, even organic DIY toothpaste! If you love the flavour, you can bring it out with certain ingredients but if you aren’t a big tea fan you can also mask it (e.g. in a stir fry) but still enjoy the health benefits.
And where can we get Matcha Maiden?
I’m very pleased to say you can get it almost everywhere now! We have an online store and we ship worldwide (with free shipping in Australia) but are also in over 600 stores and cafes around the world as well. There’s a full stockist list – including cafes in Melbourne - on our website. Our most recent and exciting addition is probably Urban Outfitters in the USA where we have recently hit the glorious shelves. Hopefully the list will keep growing!
Are you living your life by design? Keep up with 52 of You as we explore different ways to get more of the elusive life balance and why, with a focus on work, rest, fun and play - and what it means to you.
Little Miss Melbourne xo
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