Why the founder of Holy Matcha goes grocery shopping every single day

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Photo: Taylor Balding

New Yorkers have the likes of Cha Cha Matcha and Chillhouse, but San Diego’s gold standard for the earthy green tea is Holy Matcha. The café’s decor is imbued with (appropriately) beachy vibes and, of course, plenty of millennial pink. But while the Instagram potential is obvious—and impossible to resist—it’s the ceremonial-grade matcha that keeps patrons coming back.

Ordering at Holy Matcha is an exercise in decisiveness (how many matchas is too many matchas?). Sure, you could get your matcha fix in the classic latte form, but you could also try the café’s one-of-a-kind matcha horchata—a twist on founder Geraldine Ridaura’s grandmother’s traditional horchata recipe. If you’re in the mood for another kind of sweet treat, give the house-made matcha soft serve a try. Even the lactose-sensitive can enjoy all that Holy Matcha’s menu has to offer because everything is dairy-free (!).

I had the chance to take a peek into Ridaura’s fridge, which is just as meticulously kept as her café. We talked about the importance of fresh produce, living a processed-food-free life, and using food as a medium to share our traditional Mexican culture—something she and I share—with others.

So what does San Diego’s resident matcha queen keep in her fridge?

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Holy Matcha refrigerator
Graphics by Abby Maker for Well+Good

The first thing I noticed when looking through your fridge is that I don’t really see any processed foods.

Correct—I haven’t been eating any processed foods for about the past three years. I like everything as fresh as possible and grocery shop almost every day, which is why I love the farmer’s market. If I see fish or anything fresh I get it and make it that day. I also don’t like to buy a lot of extra food to freeze and eat later.

This glass bowl on the second shelf—is that pesto I see in there?

It looks like it! But no, that’s my matcha chia seed pudding. It’s what I eat for breakfast every single day. I use Silk coconut milk for my chia [on the top shelf]. By using coconut milk, the consistency is always the same—it’s very pudding-like. I make it for the café as well, but it all started with me making it at home.

Can we talk about the sweet potatoes on the top shelf?

Oh yeah, those are Japanese sweet potatoes; they’re the best! They’re loaded with so many wonderful vitamins and antioxidants. I bake them with olive oil, a little bit of pink Himalayan salt, and cinnamon. That’s what I eat for dessert every evening. I think I heard about that from Jessica Alba once when I was reading about her diet. They sounded so exotic, and with me being so involved with matcha, it caught my attention. It was actually her recipe to make it with olive oil and cinnamon and I just added a bit of salt.

What about the green beans and fingerling potatoes? Will you use them together in a dish?

The green beans I sauté of just eat raw. The potatoes, I bake. I love baking all different kinds of potatoes. I’ll bake those fingerling potatoes with just a little bit of salt, pepper, olive oil, and cardamom. It just tastes delicious.


Geraldine's matcha horchata

Are these three bottles in the door of your refrigerator green smoothies? They look delicious!

Oh! That’s my matcha horchata. I sell that at the café. I sometimes use almond milk and make some for myself at home. I’ll store it in Califia almond milk bottles that I would have thrown away. It’s delicious; it’s my grandmother’s recipe that I somewhat altered by adding almond milk and matcha. I’m obsessed with it and I consume it at home with a little bit of ice and sprinkled cinnamon on top.

I also noticed you have a shelf of mostly kombucha.

I’m obsessed with kombucha. I have a GTS Organic Trilogy kombucha every morning. That’s my dessert after my breakfast—but it is loaded with sugar, so I try to watch my sugar intake for the rest of the day. I get them by the case at Whole Foods—I think they even give you a discount if you get the whole case.

What about the coconut water—do you drink it straight?

I use that in my smoothies. I never finish a bottle when I drink it straight. In my smoothies I add a lot of herbal supplements, and sometimes they’re not the best-tasting so I like to add a little coconut water to lighten that intense flavor that they sometimes have.


Geraldine's refrigerator produce drawer

In your produce drawers I see tomatoes, red bell peppers, a white onion, and a red onion. Is that going to be a made into a salsa?

No. Onions, I eat raw. If not, I’ll sauté them. The tomatoes are cherry tomatoes. When I bake salmon, I put the tomatoes around it on a baking sheet and, oh my goodness, the flavor it produces is just out of this world. I’ll also just sauté it all together, putting the salmon on a bed of kale. It’s making me hungry just talking about that!

I see these beautiful heirloom carrots; can you tell me about those?

Those babies are delicious! I’ll bake them with the fingerling potatoes.

Has your matcha obsession hit your top shelf yet? Start with these 12 matcha-infused beauty products. And here’s how to figure out if you’re drinking the right kind of matcha.

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