You've probably gathered that Mizuba is all about Japanese green tea — but, at the end of the day, the reason we're all about tea is relationships!
From the very beginning of Mizuba, sharing tea has been a meaningful way for us to connect with others. The minute we began our first wholesale partnership, we realized just how fun it was to meet the owners and employees of other businesses, learn about what makes them tick, and share our passion for tea and tea culture.
400+ wholesale partnerships later and our main emotion is gratitude: we are thankful to have such a wide range of incredible, inspiring businesses that offer our product.
We thought we'd take a moment today to highlight one of these partners: Boon Boona Coffee, in Renton, WA. Much like matcha is the star of Japan's iconic tea ceremony, did you know coffee has a similar history with its very own ceremony? The founder of Boon Boona, Efrem, is sharing that special piece of coffee's culture with his community and we are excited to experience it. We hope their story is just as meaningful to you as it is to us, and we look forward to highlighting more of our friends in the future.
Read on for our full interview with Efrem and one of his teammates, Isabella.
Mizuba: What inspired you to open a coffee shop?
Efrem: I fell in love with coffee after a trip to my homeland Eritrea in 2011. I grew up with the traditional coffee ceremony practiced in East Africa, and living in Seattle I was exposed to Starbucks — but it was nothing like what I experienced in Asmara, Eritrea. I wanted to focus on relationship building on the Mother Continent, Africa. I reached out to friends and family in Ethiopia to source green coffee to then distribute it to my community of Ethiopians and Eritreans who practice the traditional coffee ceremony. By 2013-14 I was distributing green coffee throughout Seattle, and eventually into LA, the Bay, Atlanta and Toronto. In 2016, I collaborating with friends to have some of my green coffee roasted, and by 2018 I had saved enough to open my brick and mortar location in Renton.
Mizuba: Such a cool story. We're curious — what do you enjoy most about Mizuba matcha?
Isabella: One of my favorite things about Mizuba Matcha is how smooth and fragrant it is. It’s super versatile and can be utilized in so many different ways. I wasn’t a matcha drinker until I was introduced to Mizuba.
Mizuba: Last question! We know it's a crazy time for cafe owners and small businesses. How can we all support you during Covid?
Efrem: Covid has been tough on everyone — we are no different. We are surviving through the support of our community and the amplification of friends such as Mizuba. Honestly, there's nothing more rewarding than building relationships and helping one another out through these challenging times.
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Recently we had a chance to sit down with Abbie Tjaden of ARTJADEN and ask her a few questions. Abbie is a Portland-based artist, and she is responsible for designing our incredible matcha-grams, which you can see here.