Saffron Matcha

6 Jul 2024 | Works

My friend Lucia runs the bubble tea shop Tea Stories. We’ve been working together for a long time, and if you visit the Eindhoven store, you will see a little exhibition of my paintings that’s updated regularly.

The menu features delicious vegan milk tea drinks from Asia — tea and tapioca from Taiwan, matcha from Japan. Some time ago I asked Lucia whether she had ever considered bringing some of her Italian spirit into the menu.

She thought about it for a moment and then remembered a recipe for a saffron matcha tea that she had tried out a long time ago. Saffron is used in Italian risotto, and Lucia said it really reminded her of home. Truly an East-West concept!

I proposed to create artwork for this drink, to make it a little special when you order one in the shop.

I first thought to do a painting in Japanese watercolour style, which is a very typical way of painting plants and herbs, but that struck me as too Eastern. I decided to combine with an Art Nouveau style, which had inspired me already for some of my previous paintings.

Saffron is native to Greece, was cultivated during the Bronze Age and then spread throughout Europe and Asia from there. In Italy, cultivation is mostly centred around the city of San Gimignano, the “town of fine towers”, where saffron is called the “red gold”. Today, Iran is the biggest producer of saffron.

It is thought to have medicinal effects, including calming anxiety, improving digestive function and weight loss. What an amazing plant!

My goal was to paint the saffron plant in a way that would make it look very fancy and expensive, and healthy at the same time. As background colour, I of course chose yellow! Saffron’s yellow was a very valuable colour in the Middle Ages.

If you order a saffron matcha at Tea Stories, you will get my painting of saffron as an Art Nouveau tile on a sticker on the to go cup, or as a coaster. Enjoy!



Something a bit old, but the ideas are still new