Review: MatchaBar Gets an Update for 2017

Posted: Mar 30, 2017 at 12:55 PM (Last Updated: Mar 31, 2017 at 1:19 PM)

Covers Products: Hint of Honey Matcha (2017), Mint Matcha (2017), Original Matcha (2017), Apple Ginger Matcha (2017)

MatchaBar, which we first took at a look at back in early 2016, is a brand of a ready to drink matcha beverages that are packaged in 10 oz. glass bottles.

The line, which originally featured a more squat looking bottle and brightly colored labels, has been given a refresh for Spring 2017. Now available in four flavors, including Original Matcha, Mint Matcha, Hint of Honey Matcha, and Apple Ginger Matcha, the product line has taken a different approach to its appearance. Gone are the bright colors and in are white labels that feature a more subtle accent color to distinguish the flavors.

The design, which is somewhat text-heavy in nature, also features some lighthearted copy, such as “Hint of Honey Matcha...knows exactly how to pronounce acai.” This approach isn’t something that we’d expect to catch the eye, but it definitely does. However, it feels like there will be a somewhat limited shelf life to this type of copy, so we hope that they have plans to change these out with some level of frequency. (Editor's Note: After this review was published, the company stated its intent to change its label copy seasonally)

As for the liquid, what MatchaBar has come up with are four flavors that are quite similar, but also different. While they are all matcha-based and have dark green liquid, they’ve essentially crafted four products that feel like they are for somewhat different (as opposed to the same) drinkers.

Two of the flavors, Mint Matcha and Original Matcha, are very low in calories (10 and 5 per bottle, respectively). However, the Original variety features monk fruit, a zero calorie sweetener, which adds just a touch of sweetness to the product. For our palates, we preferred the mint offering, which benefits from a secondary flavor and a slightly cleaner finish.

The other two varieties, Hint of Honey and Apple Ginger, both feature higher levels of sweetness (7g and 12g of sugar and 35 and 80 calories, respectively). However, there’s a gap of sweetness between the two offerings, which is slightly confusing as you drink your way through the product line. In our opinion, the hint of honey flavor is closer to where we’d like MatchaBar to focus, especially since the combination of apple and matcha isn’t a perfect one.

If MatchaBar were to continue to refine their flavors, we’d suggest trying to make an experience that’s somewhat consistent -- at least as far as sweetness and type of sweetener are concerned -- across their entire line. Mint, ginger, and honey all seem like workable flavors (as does unflavored) that they should continue to play with.

Overall, we appreciate MatchaBar’s efforts to evolve and innovate. There are definitely some good ideas here, both in their approach to packaging and in some of the flavors, and at this point they should continue to dial in the liquid a bit.

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