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New café calls on Baruch students to Drink More Matcha

Judah Duke

Sandwiched between Dog & Bone and Jimmy’s House on East 25th Street, Drink More Matcha is a new small business offering various matcha-flavored beverages and treats.

Drink More Matcha officially opened on Aug. 21 and celebrated with a weeklong promotion, pricing every menu item at $3. The shop currently offers a 10% student discount with a show of ID.

The store imports its ceremonial-grade green tea matcha powder from Kyoto, Japan. Owner Max Qiu said a 500-gram bag costs about $140, nearly double the price than a bag of culinary-grade matcha.

“We don’t use cheap matcha; that’s very important,” Qiu said in an interview with the Ticker. “I’m gonna be honest, most stores that I’ve seen in the market have their own product, and you don’t know what kind of matcha is in there.”

A traditional Japanese bamboo whisk and chawan, or tea bowl, is used to create a smooth and foamy liquid. It’s not uncommon for patrons to see this process upfront as the employee takes orders and whisks away at the counter.

Qiu first got the idea for Drink More Matcha when the owner of Jimmy’s House expressed interest in opening an ice cream shop next door. The restaurant was previously Qiu’s client when he operated his now defunct Chinese food delivery service, Rice Ball, in 2019. He solely designed the storefront and crafted recipes within a month.

While Qiu said the business is profitable, he’s “not making too much off it” because of high-cost ingredients and low pricing specially catered to the store’s target clientele — Baruch College students.

Xerxen Deguzman, a Drink More Matcha employee and Hunter College nursing student, said most of the customers are Baruch students. He said the café gets a wave of students after class and noticed there isn’t a similar rush hour on weekends.

“I think the special thing about this business in particular is that I get to interact more with the students here at Baruch and just be more social instead of your general Starbucks or something where people just make your drink and don’t have enough time to talk,” Deguzman said in an interview with The Ticker.

Drink More Matcha prioritizes hiring local students, like Deguzman, in an effort to connect with the community. Qiu said Baruch students have volunteered to help with marketing and film TikToks to promote the store. It doesn’t take long for someone walking through the Clivner=Field Plaza to recognize Qiu and give him a quick fist bump.

Although matcha is traditionally served hot, the shop’s menu concentrates on iced drinks because the hot cup inventory would take up more of its limited space. The sole and slow coffee maker also prolongs the preparation time.

“Everybody who wants to order a hot drink, it’s a secret menu,” Qiu said. “People walk in and ask for hot, and we tell them we do have it, but you have to wait for three to five minutes. And we have a very small cup for now.”

While nearby chains like CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice and Starbucks Corp. do offer matcha lattes, it’s not the business’ specialty. What makes Drink More Matcha stand out from competitors is its high-quality ingredients and traditional preparation methods.

According to Yahoo Finance, the global green tea market was valued at $15 billion in 2021 and is predicted to reach $30.03 billion by 2030.

Numerous businesses have caught on to the trend. The New York-based chain café Cha Cha Matcha opened its first location in 2016 and has since opened five additional locations in Manhattan and Los Angeles. Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. unveiled its matcha lattes in 2020 and introduced a blueberry-flavored variant a year later.  

Drink More Matcha hopes to introduce new items in the long run. Deguzman said the store is experimenting with a half coffee half matcha latte dubbed “the Wizard of Oz” that’s expected to debut on the menu soon.

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About the Contributors
Mia Euceda
Mia Euceda, Arts & Culture Editor
Mia Euceda is the Arts and Culture Editor of The Ticker.
Judah Duke
Judah Duke, Business Editor
Judah Duke is the Business Editor of the Ticker.
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