Earlier this year, Michael DeLaCruz, product development director at Starbucks, convened his team to generate ideas for new Evolution Fresh green juice flavors.
“We looked at trends on nutrient density and energy,” said DeLaCruz. “We hoped to find a new ingredient for Evolution Fresh to add to one of our existing green juices that would make for an uplifting beverage. Our thoughts went immediately to green tea.”
Evolution Fresh juices are cold-pressed using high pressure processing, so DeLaCruz and team didn’t want to alter the development method by adding a hot, brewed tea. Instead, they settled on matcha – green tea that is dried and ground into a fine powder – as the perfect addition to their new green juice.
“Matcha is made from a whole green tea leaf,” he said. “It provides a bit of caffeine, more flavor and texture.”
New Evolution Fresh Juices
The team initially conceived of eight different variations for green juices with matcha before arriving on the final two flavors. “The pairing of matcha with orange juice is a well-known combination and green tea combined with ginger and citrus is also popular,” he said. “We looked at existing flavor combinations that have proven successful and considered a unique twist on them for our new green juices.”
DeLaCruz then invited a team at Whole Foods to provide their feedback on the flavor concepts given their knowledge of customer preferences in the natural food industry. Next, partners at the Evolution Fresh juicery in California created samples of the juices, which were shipped to DeLaCruz for tastings at Starbucks Seattle headquarters. After a pilot run at the juicery, the new juices were ready for distribution.
“We now have two great additions to our green juice line-up,” said DeLaCruz. “We’re looking forward to customer response and continuing to innovate around additional juice flavors in the future.”
Organic Coconut Matcha: A smooth Matcha green tea blended with tropical fruit, this juice is good for Matcha and green juice aficionados looking for a green vegetal, purist taste. It’s a good source of Potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin K with 70 calories and 13 grams of sugar per eight fluid ounce serving.
Organic Citrus Matcha: A blend of oranges and mangoes along with vibrant green and slightly sweet Matcha green tea and ginger, this juice is great for newcomers looking for a more vibrant taste. It’s a good source of Potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin K with 70 calories and 16 grams of sugar per eight fluid ounce serving.
Evolution Fresh Organic Citrus Matcha and Organic Coconut Matcha are now available in Whole Foods and other natural grocery stores on the West Coast and in select East Coast cities.
The Growing Popularity of Matcha
“The preparation of matcha during Japanese tea ceremonies has long been associated with Zen, and there is incredible research on the benefits of mindfulness meditation. In fact, I included an entire chapter about this practice in my new book, ‘Slim Down Now,’” said Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD and three-time New York Times best-selling author. “As meditation becomes more mainstream, this might be one reason matcha has become so popular.”
In Linda Kim’s role as an Evolution Fresh brand manager, she is attuned to the flavors and ingredients that inspire the Evolution Fresh customer.
“Matcha is definitely a trend in the health and wellness landscape and people are looking to incorporate matcha into their daily routine to recharge,” said Kim. “Combining it with cold pressed fruit and vegetable juice offers a convenient way to get a vitamin-rich beverage and a lift from matcha without added sugar.”