Review: Cha Cha Matcha Ready-to-Drink

Posted: Sep 11, 2019 at 1:36 PM (Last Updated: Sep 12, 2019 at 10:49 AM)

Covers Products: Activated Charcoal Matcha, Ginger Turmeric Matcha, Half N Half Matcha Lemonade, Matcha Green Tea

Cha Cha Matcha, which operates five matcha cafes that are split between New York and Los Angeles, is launching its first ready-to-drink product with this four-SKU line of low-calorie canned matcha teas.

The flavors include Matcha Green Tea, Ginger Turmeric Matcha, Half N Half Matcha Lemonade and Activated Charcoal Matcha. They are packaged in slim 12 oz cans and will be sold in both 8-packs and 24-packs via the company’s website and in their stores. 

The flagship Matcha Green Tea variety is the lone unsweetened flavor. It is made with a blend of matcha, green tea and a touch of sea salt (there’s also added L-theanine and ingredients for shelf stability). From a taste perspective, mixing matcha with green tea works quite well and results in something that is smoother and less grassy than straight matcha.

The flavored offerings have a touch of sweetness (4-5 grams of added sugars) from honey and monk fruit. The three are mild and refreshing and we think that they’ve done a nice job formulating them. Half & Half Matcha Lemonade is the most mainstream of the bunch, thanks to added black tea and lemon juice that provide more of the base flavor than the matcha itself. Ginger Turmeric, which is the sweetest of the drinks, is a close second and is true to name in that it has notes (albeit light ones) of both ginger and turmeric. Finally, there’s Activated Charcoal, which has a touch of lemon juice, some toasted notes from the activated charcoal, and a touch of sweetness to round it out.

If there’s any room for improvement with these products, it would be to further mask the monk fruit. It’s not bad where it’s at presently, but getting it to the point where you cannot taste it at all feels like it’s within reach.

On the packaging front, Cha Cha Matcha has applied its trademark pink branding to give the can a look that’s in sync with the branding of its shops. The label, which is a shrink sleeve, has a hierarchy that places the logo at the top, the word matcha in the middle, a small illustration of two palm trees, and the flavor name at the bottom. On top of that, there are some curved text callouts that are placed along the sides of the front panel. These include “Jitter Free,” “Fatigue Fighting,” “Smooth Taste,” and others depending on the flavor.

For a first effort that’s going to have limited distribution, this product seems like it’s in a good spot. However, we think that there’s some room for improvement. More specifically, we think it needs a bit more polish. The line perhaps doesn’t feel as hip as the brand that they’ve created at retail, and there are elements of the design, such as the palm trees, that don’t feel like they are cohesive. Reworking these elements and giving the design a bit more polish will certainly help the brand, especially if it’s eventually going to end up on store shelves where it might be a consumer’s first experience with the Cha Cha Matcha brand.

In the end, going RTD feels like a good move for Cha Cha Matcha. While there’s definitely some room to improve flavor and packaging, most of it feels like fine tuning of what is an otherwise really strong first effort.

 


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