On a trip to Thailand in 2019, Eric Hicklen Jr. tried his first matcha latte. Today, he owns Gotcha Matcha, a pop-up matcha and coffee concept that operates inside The Coterie Concept at 222 West Boulevard.
Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves traditionally consumed in East Asia.
“Not only was it as good, but I was wondering why it wasn’t in Charlotte,” the 31-year-old Columbia, S.C. native told QCity Metro.
The shop had its soft opening on Monday.
The idea to start his own matcha business was born soon after his Thailand trip, but it didn’t come to fruition until the contract with his job ended in May of this year, prompting Hicklen to pursue entrepreneurship full-time.
Gotcha Matcha shop serves 17 types of matcha and espresso drinks, with custom recipes created by Hicklen. They also sell homemade pastries.
“I’m a firm believer that I can make anything taste great,” he said.
Hicklen said the soft opening was “promising,” with a number of customers circulating in and out of the shop.
“My favorite part about working behind the counter is greeting the people that come in,” he said. “Being the ultimate extrovert that I am, I thrive off talking to new people.
Gotcha Matcha will be at 222 West Boulevard for the next 90 days to test out the concept and its success in South End before pursuing a permanent brick-and-mortar space, Hicklen said.
“We are just kind of going along for the ride,” he said. “Whatever comes, whatever goes, [I’m going to] look at the end list and see what makes sense in the future.”
The shop’s current operating hours are include:
Monday – 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday – closed
The shop also has a happy hour Monday and Tuesday at 6 p.m., serving 10% off beverages.
To keep up with Gotcha Matcha updates, follow their Instagram page.