A Matcha Made in the Mission

Matcha tea, once exclusively prepared and consumed in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, was experiencing a global renaissance. As matcha took off, the marketing around the product quickly overtook the quality, creating an opportunity for Suntory-backed Stonemill Matcha to deliver a modern, yet authentic matcha experience. To introduce their premium offering, Stonemill set out to open a café in San Francisco’s Mission District where customers could experience everything from hand-whisked ceremonial grade tea to Tartine-crafted Japanese desserts. In preparation for their opening, Stonemill engaged our studio to launch their brand with a new visual system, photographic assets, website and café materials.

The café and visual expression collectively tell a story steeped in tradition and enriched with a modern touch.

Drawing from a wabi-sabi philosophy, we explored the use of watercolor artwork to pair with the soothing environment of the café and the peaceful energy of matcha.

The typographic system and watercolors were paired with tactile-rich paper stock to extend the Stonemill brand expression into a packaging and café to-go program.

The photographic assets were developed to drive home Stonemill’s modern take on tradition, balancing the warmth and well-lit welcome of its California space with the authenticity and shadow-driven aesthetics of its Japanese roots — all of which brought their story to life in a newly designed web and integrated e-commerce site.