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September 06, 2011

30 and under

BY Gianna B. Villavicencio

Green Tea Fever

Move over, coffee. The milk tea craze is making a splash this year and has even inspired two young entrepreneurs to concoct their own line of green tea desserts.

From left: Nicole Cambal and Mae Veloso

Everything Green Tea by The Busy Bums is the brainchild of Nicole Cambal and Mae Veloso, who have known each other since high school. The two maintained close ties at the Ateneo de Manila University, where Ms. Cambal is taking English Literature and where Ms. Veloso just completed her Health Sciences degree. They also happen to be neighbors, so they move back and forth between each other's homes to whip up goodies with the simultaneous use of two ovens.

The idea to put up Everything Green Tea stemmed from the girls' blog,, which they manage with their friend Cara Rina. From a chronicle of surfing adventures, the site eventually began to cover the girls' other interests, including food. Baking through trial and error, they thought of turning the hobby into a sideline.

"[Starting] the business was really spontaneous, but the planning stage actually took two months. We tried out a lot of different recipes to see what would work and what wouldn't. We also conducted a taste test with our friends—though we didn't tell them what we were up to at the time," said Ms. Veloso in an e-mail.

All of Everything Green Tea’s products come from basic recipes that have been modified to suit the founders’ tastes. “Our business is unique because all the items in our menu contain green tea. We like the flavor and love drinking tea. Also, we had fun thinking of different ways to adapt [green tea] to recipes because it’s not something that’s usually sold or eaten. We like expressing our creativity through the desserts that we make,” said Ms. Veloso.

Aside from the use of green tea, another unusual aspect of their desserts line is that many of their creations are named after their close friends. “We named our first cookie after our friend Cara because she was our most avid supporter,” said Ms. Veloso of Cara’s Dark Love Cookies, which are green tea chocolate chip. The cake dubbed Meet Me After The Show takes its name from DJ Show Suzuki of Jam 88.3, while Mint Tea-to Domps is a cupcake after a friend called “Tito Domps.”

Everything Green Tea’s best-sellers are the Matcha and White Chocolate Panna Cotta, Matcha Munch (donut holes made of chocolate and green tea), Kalil’s Ironic Cookies (green tea cookies filled with white chocolate chips) and I Don’t Understand Why They’re Addicting Cookies (Earl Grey tea cookies). The Matcha and White Chocolate Panna Cotta in particular is one of the founders’ favorites.

The Busy Bums’ latest product is “A Bum’s Bento Box,” patterned after a Japanese bento box but filled with pastries instead. It contains strawberry cake with matcha frosting in the shape of onigiri or rice balls, vanilla cake with chocolate masquerading as tamago sushi, and bite-sized chocolates made to look like small sushi. Dark chocolate sauce, white chocolate, and matcha on the side are their versions of soy sauce, Japanese mayo, and wasabi, respectively.

To try the selection of sweets from Everything Green Tea by The Busy Bums, visit Moonleaf Tea Shop at 103 Maginhawa St., UP Teacher’s Village, Diliman, Quezon City.

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