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Matcha Magic serves mood-boosting beverages in Old Bellevue

Bellevue's Matcha Magic has become a can't-miss favorite among locals, beloved for its delicious and mood-boosting offerings.

Founder Rachel Barnecut's goal with the venue always has been to introduce and educate people on the benefits of matcha by way of delicious drinks and a welcoming atmosphere.

"I used to drink coffee all of the time; a convenient necessity when working full-time and getting my master's," she said. "Once I pinpointed a general sense of anxiety to drinking coffee, matcha was a happy discovery and easy transition. I felt better, I slept better and I liked the taste way more. It was something that I wanted to share with others."

Not only is the organic, ceremonial-grade matcha dairy-free, but it's also one of the world's most antioxidant-dense foods with stress-reducing energy (thanks to L-theanine). The cafe's recent seasonal flavors have ranged from Magical Pumpkin Latte to Pistachio Blossom Latte and Peppermint White Matcha.

Barnecut is in downtown Bellevue, in the same Old Main Bellevue neighborhood where Matcha Magic is located.

"I love this pocket of the larger city," she said. "This neighborhood has all of the conveniences of a city, but Old Main Bellevue has the feeling of a small community: close-knit and warm. Which made it a perfect community to launch Matcha Magic in."

Barnecut is thrilled whenever folks come in to try matcha for the first time.

"We love to give our house recommendations," she said, "but it's also super fun to get to know customers and know what flavor profiles they like, whether that's something floral, fruity, chocolatey, earthy. Matcha on its own is a fuller-bodied green tea flavor. It's smooth and umami, with a sweet aftertaste."

Her personal preferred way to consume the beverage depends on whether she is in the mood for something warming or cooling.

"If I'm in the mood for a hot drink, I love our Golden Matcha; it is like a cozy hug with warming turmeric and cinnamon. And if I'm in the mood for a cold drink, I love our minty and refreshing Matcha Julep and our Matcha Colada, which is like a productive pina colada."

Since she opened, Barnecut has loved meeting new customers and watching them morph into regulars.

"Many of them have told us that they love how they feel after drinking matcha as opposed to drinking coffee," she said. "We've had people come in and say they would normally be drinking two to three coffees a day, but now that they've incorporated matcha into their routine, they only need one drink; wanting more than one is another story."

As a woman and minority-owned operation, Matcha Magic donates five percent of its sales to Ladies Who Launch. This nonprofit supports women and non-binary small business owners and entrepreneurs by providing access to free resources, capital opportunities and networking.

"As someone who used to work for a big company," Barnecut said. "I was nervous to leave the 'safety' of a corporate job. But if the times of COVID taught me anything, no jobs are safe. I am lucky enough to have been able to rely on my husband and my family for confidence and support in making the leap, especially when my own self-doubt was quick to get in the way."

"If, through Matcha Magic, we as a community are able to help support other women and nonbinary people start and grow their own businesses. I'll continue to be proud about not just introducing people to matcha, but more importantly helping others achieve and expand upon their dreams."

Learn more about Matcha Magic here.

Corinne Whiting is a freelance writer for Seattle Refined. Follow her work and adventures here.

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