Taking a moment to focus on self-care can make all the difference in the world. Easy-going hikes, scenic outdoor yoga sessions, and other wellness treatments across the Hudson Valley keep its denizens refreshed and centered. Along this vein, the region’s elegant tea rooms are a special attraction for those seeking renewed peace.
For the Thomas family, owners of the health-centric teahouse Matcha Thomas, the physical act of making tea offers its own calming effects.
“For our family, spirituality and mindful practice in general have been something that we’ve cultivated, basically our whole lives,” Haile Thomas, founder of Matcha Thomas says. “During the pandemic we enjoyed a slower pace. It was really a beautiful time to find ways to nourish ourselves, and a really key practice that was kind of invoked through that was drinking tea together.”
The tight-knit family of four opened their first restaurant late in May 2021. Their business inhabits the former catering space of Homespun Foods. Matcha Thomas joins a rich wellness community on Beacon‘s Main Street, including cafés, skincare shops, spas, yoga studios, and a slew of vegetarian and vegan eateries that get visitors and Beaconites started on their health journeys.
“I do a lot of health advocacy,” Haile Thomas says, understating an impressive career.
The Hudson Valley entrepreneur, activist, author, and influencer has dedicated most of her life to holistic health. She is the youngest certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach in the entire nation, graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition at age 16. She wrote Living Lively, a cookbook chock full of inventive plant-based recipes. The Harper Collins-published work focuses on empowering young people with the tools to improve their own nutrition. Her family has been fully vegan the past seven years.
“So, this is something that is really core to our family. When there was an opportunity to open the shop, it was, of course, a given to want to share that love for plant-based foods with the community,” Haile Thomas emphasizes.
A shared love of matcha, or Japanese green tea in powdered form, founded the perfect opportunity to fulfill the group’s dream of a family-run entry into the restaurant business. Matcha is a symbol of respect, tranquility, and harmony in Japanese culture. Specifically, Thomas sources her ceremonial-grade matcha from the region of Uji in Kyoto, known for farming some of the best matcha in the world. It’s named Chōwa, which translates to “harmony.” Owner Haile Thomas says, “We want matcha lovers and first-timers alike to have an enjoyable and memorable experience that piques their interest in matcha, its origins, and the healing energy it provides.” Outside of the green stuff, Matcha Thomas selects ingredients and products from local producers in the Hudson Valley, including Catskill Mountain Tea Company.
Matcha Thomas teas and lattes are characteristically “healthy”—sustainably sourced, organic, and vegan. Beyond that, Haile Thomas and her family carefully curate a myriad of ingredients in their drinks to boost energy, support immune systems, and more. Sharing the versatility and healing properties of plant-powered beverages and treats is one of Thomas’ “grandest intentions.”
“We wanted our drinks to serve customers using, you know, really functional ingredients. Mucuna, for example, is this amazing super herb that helps you protect your body from stress. It also lowers cortisol levels and increases dopamine in your body.”
Thomas features the adaptogenic herb mucuna in Rose Radiance, a beautifully floral matcha latte. A coconut vanilla cream base and bright rose essence play wonderfully with the earthy tone that high-quality green teas exhibit. She and her family designed Rose Radiance as a morning pick-me-up, promoting an “inner and outer glow.” Another boosting latte is Golden Green, distinguishably bright in color from tons of turmeric. The Chili Cocoa Chai combines warming chai spices, a collagen cocoa blend, and the brain-boosting de-stressing ashwagandha. Of course, there’s always the classic milk and matcha latte, made with oat, almond, or hemp milk and maple sweetener.
Under the “SpecialTEA” portion of the menu, Matcha Thomas highlights its extra sweet and boldly malty crème de la crème matcha. Try this unique beverage with ice-cold coconut water or crisp, clean ginger beer. Plus, for the bubble tea fans visiting Beacon, Matcha Thomas crafts a slew of fruity flavors. Mango and strawberry have earned fan-favorite status already. These tri-color liquid parfaits layer fresh fruit compotes, tapioca boba pearls, oat milk, and matcha. Cardamom and turmeric infuse the mango compote with a distinctly southeast Asian quality, while the strawberry is more simply vibrant and sweet.
Seasonal drinks and new boba concoctions pop up every now and then. Additionally, Thomas bakes fresh vegan treats every morning before opening the shop.
“Typically what we try to do is have our desserts in a rotation. We have brownies, cookies, and then an energy-bite or superfood-based snack….Every two weeks we try to swap these out to give new flavors and concepts a chance,” Thomas says. Toasted walnut-coconut clusters top gooey banana bread brownies, and dried apricot and ginger give energy bars a wild zing. Salted rose and raspberry brownies make an excellent pairing with Rose Radiance.
Of course, matcha is a frequent ingredient. The delightfully green matcha oat cookies are perfect for breakfast.
Above all, Thomas’ mission is to make her customers feel good, with ingredients that support their health and flavors that improve their mood. Who can remain dour after a tri-colored bubble tea or a decadent crème brûlée cookie?
“So, we’re just really thinking about ways that we can help bring balance or support to the lives of any customer. I think that intentionality really carries through with everything we do, ensuring that our ingredients can really support and empower anyone that walks in.”
259 Main St, Beacon