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Hong Kong's first home-grown contemporary matcha brand, Matchali, serves up modern, healthy green tea drinks that are as pretty as they are delicious. Founded by cousins Cara and Laura Li, the brand has just unveiled itself at Pacific Place in the form of a highly anticipated pop-up cafe.


In celebration of the unveiling, we go ‘behind the tea’ with Matchali, asking Cara and Laura to whip up one of their matcha creations in their new space, and firing 20 questions at them.


Making Tea With Matchali

20 Questions for Cara and Laura


1. You’re cousins. At what point did you decide to go into business together?

Laura: When we both realised our strong shared interest in creating a contemporary matcha brand, and that we wanted to bring matcha culture to HK.


2. What’s the best thing about working with family?

Laura: The awesome brand name (the Li in Matchali!), and trust and support from relatives.


3. What wellness trend are you most into right now?

Cara: Matcha! Using unrefined sugar, utilising ingredients in their pure form. Also, we don’t use skimmed milk at Matchali, as you absorb more nutrients from the fat in full milk.


4. What’s your go-to dish at home if you’re cooking for yourself?

Cara: Bolognese. Nothing beats a good homemade bolognese.

 

5. What’s your number one at-home entertaining tip?

Cara: A good charcuterie board and aperitifs to keep guests entertained while you’re prepping the main meal.


6. Who do you look up to in the food and beverage industry, and why?

Laura & Cara: We’re so fortunate to have had advice from our friends who are well versed in in the industry: Jennifer Cheung from Sift, Lindsay Jang from Yardbird, Matt Reid from Maximal Concepts, Kevin Poon and Gerald Li from Elephant Grounds and Devender Kumar from Otto e Mezzo, to name a few.

Matchali founders Cara and Laura Li

7. What’s your go-to Matchali order?

Cara: The Classic Matcha Latte.

Laura: It was the Oatmilk Gold Latte with a matcha shot, and now it’s the Oatmilk Matcha Chai.


8. You travelled to Uji, near Kyoto, to observe techniques used to produce quality green tea. What did you learn?

Laura: We immersed ourselves in the matcha culture, and learnt about the heritage technique and craft.


9. How did you apply that to Matchali?

Cara: It’s really important to honour that tradition and heritage. We put our own modern spin on it, making it more accessible and health-conscious.


10. Why do you think matcha is so popular?

Laura: Matcha is a versatile, delicious and healthy alternative to coffee. With health and wellness gaining popularity now, people are open to trying new things that taste good and make them feel good too!


11. What are some of the health benefits of matcha?

Laura: It’s high in antioxidants, which makes it good for the skin, fighting cancer and strengthening the immune system.

Cara: It contains the amino acid L-theanine, which improves mood, helps to release the caffeine slowly and helps people to sleep better.


12. What’s the most popular item on your menu?

Laura: The Matcha Latte from the classics, and the Grey Latte from our specialty drinks.


13. Your purple lemonade matcha is so pretty! What’s in that and where did the idea come from?

Cara: We really like the tart flavour of lemonade with matcha — they complement each other really well. Most of the drinks are inspired by our travels. Butterfly pea flower, which is what makes the lemonade purple, is a great way to add natural colour, and has many health benefits. Other than that, we use fresh lemon juice, soda and a small amount of raw cane sugar.

Matchali's Purple Lemonade

14. Can you tell us about the exclusive drinks available at Pacific Place?

Laura: The Apple Hojicha Cold Brew is a crisp and refreshing transitional-season drink.

Cara: The Pink Latte is organic beetroot milk and agave. A great caffeine-free addition to the menu, perfect for the cooler months approaching.


15. Is there anything else special about the Pacific Place spot you can share with us?

Cara: The work surface is all on the one level — we really wanted to showcase the making of our drinks, as it really is a craft.

Laura: The store is very light, bright and airy, with dusty pink and cacti — a very California vibe. 


16. If we opened your fridges right now, what would be in there?

Laura: Japanese eggs!

Cara: Cheese!


17. What are your favourite Instagram accounts to follow for foodie inspiration?

Cara: @bonappetitmag and @eyeswoon.


18. Mid-Autumn festival is around the corner! What Matchali drinks to you think would pair well with mooncake or festive Mid-Autumn foods?

Laura: Classic Matcha and Hojicha Lattes, which match perfectly with our Matcha and Hojicha mooncakes!

Matchali's Hojicha

19. What food, from any corner of the world, are you most craving right now?

Cara and Laura: Food from Japan and Italy!


20. What’s next for Matchali?

Cara and Laura: We’re doing a few more pop-ups and eventually we’ll settle in a more permanent space. Stay tuned!

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