Evolve Coffee + Matcha Opens Lakeview Location

NEW ORLEANS — The second location of Evolve Coffee + Matcha will open July 19 at 400 Harrison Avenue. 

Owned by former investment banker Yvonne Pichoff, the shop specializes in ceremonial grade matcha (high-quality green tea) and sustainably sourced coffee and espresso via New Orleans-based coffee roaster Mojo. There’s also a sweet and savory menu. 

Pichoff said the popularity of the shop’s matcha offerings, which account for about half of its beverage sales, has helped build buzz, no pun intended. And she’s pleased that customers are discovering the benefits of a drink that originated a millennium ago.

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“The term ‘ceremonial grade’ comes from Japanese tea ceremonies dating back to the 12th century,” she said. “Traditionally, Zen Buddhist monks would drink matcha during hours-long meditations to stay alert and awake.”

The other matcha grade, called “culinary,” is used primarily for cooking and baking.

Img 7753 1“Ceremonial grade leaves are picked during first harvest, in the spring, when they are younger and more delicate,” said Pichoff. “They are found at the top of the tea bush. As a result, they contain more chlorophyll and a higher concentration of L-theanine,” which is a naturally occurring, non-protein amino acid found in tea that promotes relaxation.

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“The taste is smooth and earthy, sometimes described as umami,” she said. “And the color is a vibrant, deep green.”

The first Evolve location opened in early 2020 on West Esplanade Avenue. In hindsight, it was not an ideal time to launch a business. But Pichoff persevered.

“While I was a brand-new shop and very few people knew it was open, we set up a Stripe link so people could make monetary donations and, in turn, I delivered coffee and pastries to various hospitals,” she said.

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Over the next three years, Pichoff built a community of supporters. Several employees at the new location began as customers, for instance. And she has discovered a few vendors — even a muralist for the new shop — via conversations with regulars.

Now she hopes to take advantage of the new location’s larger dimensions (twice the size of her Metairie location), to continue to grow the Evolve community.

“I’m currently brainstorming how we can use some of the space for different events, like coffee cupping, matcha workshops and business networking,” she said.

Taking over a building on Harrison once occupied by a toy store, Pichoff has created a “calming” interior with help from Metairie-based AGL Commercial Interiors, who provided design and architecture, and Keta Construction, a New Orleans-area general contractor.

For more information, visit evolvecoffeenola.com.


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