Mizuba is the brainchild of Lauren Danson, a bright, passionate creative who developed a way to share her love and ever-expanding knowledge of tea. As Lauren invited us to her beautiful studio in North Portland for an intimate tea party, we quickly discovered Mizuba was more than a storefront for matcha- the website hosts inspiring recipes and educational stories. When asked about her creative process, she explained,
“I have to say my creativity always stems from the relationships I have and get to make. I’m so inspired by my community, and the brilliant, supportive feel that Portland has. And as I’m living and interacting with this great community every day, I have to say it always 100% involves brewing tea – I can’t leave my house without having had tea! As far as the actual process of brewing / making matcha – I tend to make matcha in the company of others. I do make it myself, but these days, if I know I have meetings it will always involve making matcha for people. So I wait to make the tea with them, and yes, lots of creative conversations happen over that chawan of tea!”
I originally discovered Mizuba through the Sundaze Collective, a monthly exhibition of pop-up shops with a focus on local businesses. I was thoroughly impressed with the presentation of Mizuba and how approachable the flavor of the matcha was. It was complex, earthy, and had no twinge of bitterness. If you are new to tea, she advises the following:
“I always ask if their prior experience with green tea has been bitter. Usually, people say yes! There were decades of tea consumption in America that involved brewing green tea bags at boiling – which should never happen, it scalds the leaves and essentially burns the flavor – ick! So I have them try Mizuba, at the proper temperature of water, and lo and behold, they almost always love how smooth it is. A lot of folks are also very keen on the health benefits, of which matcha has many. I tend to focus on the flavor profile, though. It’s a bonus if something healthy tastes great, right?”
She also offered a collection of lip balms and bath salts infused with matcha. It was all too alluring.
Mizuba’s expansion is impressive. You can find a Mizuba matcha lattes all the way in New York City, sweeping through Alabama and Kansas, and back up the West Coast. Rawdacious desserts even created a raw vegan cheesecake.
Lauren’s explanation of how Mizuba came to be is uplifting. Her passion of tea beginning with Constant Comment led to hosting pop up tea shops at her dorm in college and visiting the Twinings Tea House while studying everything Charles Dickens abroad in London.
She mentioned while traveling in Japan even the most economical teas tasted better than what we were able to obtain in the states. She was surrounded by all things tea-related and ultimately found her current farmer that she works with directly in Japan.
“What I experienced in Japan for the first time really will be a once in a lifetime experience. The first time is so surreal. It’s a completely different culture, with a countryside that’s lush and green and full of nature. Of course, with my personal affinity for tea… when I realized Uji was the birthplace of Japan’s tea industry and tea ceremony….oh man. I could hardly catch my breath! You could smell matcha in the air, every store was pretty much dedicated to tea, tea ice cream, tea noodles, tea everything. We found the best matcha soft-serve I’ve ever had. My friend traveling with me ran back a half mile to order a second cone before the shop closed! I felt a little overwhelmed – I just wanted to learn about everything!”
For those looking to create a healthy self -care ritual, Mizuba matcha seems to align perfectly with those values. The deeply comforting atmosphere Lauren radiates passes into her business and product. The art of matcha encourages you to stop, breathe, and appreciate.