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Eating tea makes sense for local entrepreneur

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Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013 4:49 pm

If tea is so beneficial to drink, why can’t we eat it, too?

That’s the question local entrepreneur Annette Downing asked herself about a year ago. She had started a business with her sister, Susan Downes, in the past on the East Coast, but the two were looking for something new. When Downing’s daughter brought home a particularly beautiful tea from a local shop, Downing got an idea.

“I thought, ‘If you’re letting these petals steep in hot water and then just drinking the water, why aren’t people eating the petals?’” Downing said. “The next morning I took some of her tea leaves and threw it into my oatmeal. It was a little chewy and kind of straw-like but the flavor was there, and it looked really pretty.”

After some research, Downing discovered a tea that was edible, wouldn’t have the straw-like consistency of actual leaves, and in fact had been consumed in a powdered form for centuries. Matcha green tea is known to benefit metabolism, provide natural energy, and contains many antioxidants.

“We took a long time researching it and trying to find out what matcha is all about,” Downing said. “Slowly, we incorporated it into some of our everyday foods and tried to come up with new recipes. The more we learned about it, the more intrigued we were.”

Now, the two have developed six flavors of gourmet oatmeal and two soups that are easy to take on the go and still provide people a healthy option and the added benefits of matcha green tea.

“We have upscaled oatmeal,” Downing said. “A lot of people have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to oatmeal. They had to eat it when they were a kid because it was cheap, it filled them up, and their mother made them eat it before they went to school. We amplified it and added a lot of gourmet ingredients to it to spice it up and add more antioxidants. We also have two soups. We’re thinking about new products, but right now we’re really busy and don’t want to put too much on our plates. Whatever we do, we want to do perfect.”

Matcha MarketPlace products can currently be found at AJ’s Fine Foods, New Frontiers, Luci’s Healthy Market, Queen Creek Olive Mill, Trattoria del Piero and at the Ahwatukee Farmer’s Market as well as online at

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or

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