EDITOR'S SPOTLIGHT: STARTUP FOCUS
Matcha powered energy drink success for university friends
Marisa Poster, along with brothers Teddie and Levi Levenfiche, were studying at Pennsylvania and competing in top division sports when they started taking matcha. They say it made them realise the steady energy, stress relief and health benefits the ingredient offered. Since then they have strongly believed it to be a far better source of caffeine in comparison to most teas, coffees and other energy drinks on the market.
Once they had finished university and were back in the UK, they started sharing a house in London and it was there they began a morning matcha ritual, making up jugs of it in their kitchen kickstarting every day with a glass.
They soon noticed there was a gap in the market for a matcha-based drink and the idea for PerfectTed was conceived.
Marisa says: “We realised we needed to create a delicious tasting longer-lasting energy boosting drink that also enhances focus, without any of the bad feelings when it starts to wear off that you can get with coffee and energy drinks. What we were able to create is a drink that takes away all the anxiety and jittery feelings that coffee gives as well as bringing some really good flavoured ready-to-go drinks to the market.”
PerfectTed’s brand’s mission is to ‘revolutionise healthier caffeine consumption’ by maximising the benefits of L.Theamine in matcha, a green tea which has been used in this way for more than 800 years.
Teddie explains: “L-theanine is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and is create a sense of relaxed wakefulness. This comes mainly through L-theanine's ability to directly increase alpha brain wave activity. At university, I was a division one athlete and we all had a rigorous academic schedule – when we discovered matcha we were amazed at how mentally and physically energised we felt after taking it.”
The friends’ dream started to become a reality in April last year and the drinks were launched the following September, the trio hit their crowdfunding target within just 23 hours of the concept going live.
Teddie adds: “There has been a snowball effect and it has been really exciting to create a product that people seem to really want. What started off as a kitchen recipe is now readily available on shop shelves. Drinking coffee becomes a habit, drinking energy drinks can become a habit but the biggest high for us is to be able to say that we helped people create a healthy habit.
“This process has brought us the highest of highs and some more challenging times. One of our biggest challenges was from the manufacturing side and we now have an understanding of how difficult this can be.
"Our matcha comes from farms at the foothills of Uji in Japan and when Marisa visited she had to use a lot of Google translate because nobody spoke any English but we got there and that is where our supply of matcha comes from now.”
The ceremonial grade matcha is single-origin and it was important to the friends that it was completely traceable. Matcha originates from Tencha leaves which are naturally sweet and mellow in flavour. The tea leaves are shaded for four weeks before harvest to ensure the potency of chlorophyll is at its highest and is packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Once the youngest leaves are picked, the stems and veins are removed and the leaves are dried before being stone-ground into a fine powder.
The three flavours currently available are pineapple Yuzu, apple raspberry, and pear ginger and they are all made from real fruit juice. Each contains 80 mg of caffeine for energy, and 80 mg of L-theanine for focus. The drinks are 100% natural, plant-based, gluten-free and are free from additives, preservatives, and added sugars.
Since launching the drinks have gained global interest and PerfectTed is now supplying matcha powder to hotels, cafes, grocers and restaurants across London and has recently launched into Southeast Asia with huge success in Singapore. They have also bought a ‘virtual plot' in the Metaverse as an augmented reality (AR) experience, where customers can purchase the products virtually and receive them in real life.