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Updated: November 13, 2023

Matcha-themed café is a dream project for two sisters

2 people hugging and making heart sign with hands Photo / Tim Greenway Sarochinee Tiparos, left, and her sister Phuntira opened a matcha-themed café in Portland’s arts district.

A café that features a type of green tea called matcha in its beverages and baked goods opened in a 640-square-foot, street-level space in downtown Portland.

Sisters Phuntira and Sarochinee Tiparos, who signed a two-year lease for their shop Matcha Mood, at 654 Congress St., from Portland-based Reveler Development.

Matcha Mood specializes in matcha-based beverages, baked goods and merchandise. Matcha is a high-end tea that can be ground into powder and used in different forms. Matcha is known for its rich antioxidant content and has some caffeine. According to WebMD, the compounds in matcha are similar to those in green tea, which have been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Congress Street lease was brokered by Anthony Struzziero and Emmett Peoples of Porta & Co.

“Matcha Mood brings a new, fresh perspective to Portland’s café community,” said John Laliberte, CEO of Reveler Development. 

Located in Portland’s arts district, the space was marketed as offering high traffic and high visibility, with exposed white brick, ample signage opportunities and large windows. 

storefront with brick sidewalk and lights
Photo / Tim Greenway
Matcha Mood is open, after renovations and fit-up that included building a counter, separating front and back areas, and painting inspired by matcha’s distinctive green color.

Sarochinee Tiparos said she expects the shop will attract both local residents and visitors.

Matcha cafe trend

The sisters are originally from Thailand. Sarochinee moved to Maine 12 years ago to attend the University of Southern Maine, where she studied marketing. After finishing her bachelor’s degree in Thailand, Phuntira moved to Maine about six years ago to take English classes. The sisters have some family in Portland.

Over the past eight years, the sisters have worked in the restaurant and café business.

“It’s always been a dream to have our own business and to work for ourselves,” said Sarochinee Tiparos. “We had so many ideas — maybe open a restaurant or a coffee shop.”

The looked around Portland especially and realized there were already a lot of coffee shops — and both don’t drink coffee. 

“So we thought of something we both like to drink, which is matcha,” she said. 

While other coffee shops might have a matcha option among its beverages, none was entirely focused on matcha, she said. Larger cities like Boston and New York have matcha cafes.

“We thought, Why don’t we bring that to Maine?” she said.

The sisters started look for a space in January throughout Greater Portland.

“We wanted to start small,” she said.


The space at 654 Congress St. fit the space consideration. Plus, it is surrounded by other restaurant and cafes, and pedestrians pass by all day long, she said.

An advisor with the Maine Small Business Development Center helped them draft a business plan and find financing of close to $80,000, including a micro-loan from the city of Portland for $50,000. The money went to hiring a contractor to perform renovations and fit-up for the empty space, including building a counter, separating the front and back areas, and painting. The interior design was inspired by matcha’s distinctive green color and has some indoor seating, with plans to expand into patio seating during the warmer months.

The café opened in September, providing carry-out hot and cold matcha beverages, including lattés and lemonade, matcha-filled food from ice cream to homemade coconut cake, and retail items including tea equipment, accessories and branded merchandise.

“After a thorough search for the right space, we could not be happier to open at 654 Congress St.,” said Tiparos. 

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