Are you a matcha lover? If so, I have great news for you. Your favorite beverage (and mine!) is finally getting the recognition it deserves and it’s all thanks to Geraldine Ridaura. She is the new Latina entrepreneur in town and I think it’s time we all get to know her.
Ridaura is a fierce risk-taker who opened up the first matcha cafe, Holy Matcha, in San Diego, California. Since then, she has been rising to become the goddess of matcha. But opening up a matcha cafe wasn’t always in her plans. She was initially a die-hard coffee lover. To her surprise, that love came to an abrupt end when her body started rejecting her coffee intake.
“That was honestly depressing — I lived off of coffee,” Ridaura told The Fullest.
She recalls regularly binging on coffee during her college years, causing her to develop nausea and migraines whenever she drank it years after college. Shortly after, her doctor recommended she switch to tea.
At this point she didn’t much about tea, but she knew she needed some sort of caffeine in her life. She experimented with various types of teas until she had the fortune of stumbling upon matcha. She didn’t realize it then, but that sip would be a life-changing experience for her and for the community of matcha lovers in San Diego.
She became captivated by matcha after she indulged in its magic for the first time. Ridaura quickly got to work and started learning everything about the beauty of this tea. Her interest in matcha grew even more when she found out how many health benefits it had and how much caffeine was in it. In fact, matcha is considered to be one of the few superfoods recommended by doctors.
As fate would have it, her boyfriend’s roommate at the time decided he was going to get married in Tokyo. This gave her and her boyfriend to have a love-filled trip to Japan. One where they would witness the fruition of their friend’s love and the evolution of Ridaura’s love for matcha.
While in Japan, she was able to embrace Japanese culture and the significance of matcha to them. It was then where she had the opportunity of partaking in the tea ceremony, the traditional way of drinking matcha.
She made sure to bring back plenty of matcha with her when her inspirational trip was over. However, she knew her stash was going to deplete at some point. This is when she knew she had to take matters into her own hands.
The first step to her business was telling her parents. Ridaura informed them that she would be quitting her job to open a matcha cafe. Their reaction wasn’t too positive at the beginning, but she still went with it. Though they were displeased with her decision, she still used the influence they had provided to her all her life into her business. Being that she came from a Latinx family, she was always taught to treat work with respect. That meant not to neglect the importance of hard work, honesty, and passion, while keeping in mind to lift those around her in the future.
She opened Holy Matcha with a vision unmatched by others. Rather than sticking to the uniformed colors of cafes in San Diego, which were neutrals and wood-inspired interiors, she went with something much bolder. She went with pink.
Since the cafe was built on a small space, she paired up with designers Susan and Ben Work of HOMEWORK, to create a pleasant atmosphere in all aspects. The aesthetics of her cafe makes you feel like you can easily be part of a viral Instagram post. They chose a breathtaking pink terrazzo that carefully sits all through the cafe. Splashed around her walls is a soft color of pink, accented by luscious plants hanging above the space. You’ll notice that there are no tables or chairs in the establishments, but that’s because they built Holy Matcha to have stadium-style seating. This allows for guests to have a more chill environment.
Aside from the beauty of her shop, we can’t forget about her purpose, the matcha. She features a variety of matcha creations. Holy Matcha even features the ceremonial matcha. To keep things as authentic as possible, she also prepares all her beverages with a chasen (traditional matcha whisk) and served in a chawan (Japanese tea bowl).
Her hard work and determination has led her to have own spot designated in a matcha farm in Uji, Japan, which is where she gets her matcha supply for Holy Matcha cafe. This goes to show you that you should move forward with your dreams, despite what anyone else thinks of them.
Nowadays, her cafe is so successful, she is considering opening a second matcha cafe.