Culinary Grade vs Ceremonial Grade: What's the Difference?

Culinary Grade vs Ceremonial Grade: What's the Difference?

Matcha comes in all shapes and sizes -- well, more like in different aromas, textures, and shades of green. That is to say, not all Matcha brands are created equally.  

In this post, we are going to be discussing the importance of quality and Matcha, and the reasons why you should opt for high-quality, ceremonial grade Matcha. 

Q: Culinary Grade vs Ceremonial Grade: What's the difference?

Culinary grade matcha is low quality matcha. More affordable, it is used primariy in bulk for cooking, baking desserts, and making lattes. The color is a darker, muddy green-brown, there are little to no hints of umami flavor. It is overwhelming bitter when mixed with plain water, and has a grassy muddy taste profile. It is not ideal for consuming as a beverage and is best for cooking.

Ceremonial grade matcha, on the other hand is high quality. It has been carefully shaded, picked, steamed, de-and ground.The color is vibrant green, with hints of blue and yellow. It has a sweet aroma and a slightly bitter aftertaste. The umami flavor lingers on your tongue, and the texture is creamy and nutty at the same time. High quality matcha comes at a higher price but for a reason: preparing authentic traditional matcha is a timely and delicate process. We ensure that the finest, highest quality tea leaves are selected upon harvest We carefully steam, air dry, and de-stem the leaves to reduce oxidization and maintain the high level of antioxidants.

Q: Why Shouldn't I drink Culinary Grade Matcha?

While it is true that ceremonial grades are much more expensive than culinary grades, a culinary grade is not ideal for consuming as a beverage. It is perfectly fine for using in bulk in cooking and baking, but it does not make much sense to drink it for the following reasons: 

One enjoys Matcha either for:
1) The delicious taste 
2) The health benefits it provides

Culinary grade is inferior to ceremonial grade when it comes to flavor. Most people are turned away from Matcha due to the fact that they have only tasted a culinary grade: it is bitter, overly grassy, and muddy. It tastes like mowed lawn with a hint of tea. 

Ceremonial grade, on the other hand, is sweet, umami, nutty and creamy. It's flavor profile can change depending on whether it is served hot or cold. Warmth brings out its natural earthy undertones, while the chill of ice highlights its natural sweetness. High quality matcha also tends to have a smoother consistency as it has been properly harvested, steamed, dried, de-stemmed, and ground. It does not make any sense, therefore, for one to drink a culinary grade. 

Q: "I am willing to deal with the flavor. I am just in it for the health benefits."

But the reality is, high quality matcha doesn't just taste better than a low quality culinary grade, it is better. What makes high quality matcha so delicious also happens to make it so good for you. The green brown color and bitter taste in a low quality grade is a result of oxidization. Matcha is rich in antioxidants, which are destroyed when oxidized. A recent scholarly article points out how high quality matcha also has a higher concentration of L-theanine, the relaxing, meditative-compound present in green tea. 

Q: "Well since culinary grade is cheaper, I can just consume much more of it and get all the health benefits of a ceremonial grade" 

True, to some degree. The problem is you probably don't want to do that for two reasons:  

1) If you consume more culinary grade, you might eventually get to the point to where you are spending the same amount of money. 

2) You could consume a lot of lead. 

Soil naturally contains lead. Matcha, while it is basically an elixir of health, is going to susceptible to lead present in soil. If you over-consume matcha, you will have a higher chance to consuming high levels of lead. Basically, you want to limit the physical amount of matcha, but increase the quality of it. 

 Also keep in mind that different regions have different levels of lead present in the soil. China has a high count, while Japan has a very low count. Most top-selling culinary brands are sourced from China, while authentically grown Japanese Matcha is pure and clean. Given all of these reasons, it is one's best interest to drink high quality ceremonial grade matcha.

Q: Where can I buy Lead-Free High-Quality Matcha?:

 Look no further -- You've come to the right shop! We supply only the highest quality Matcha green tea, keeping all of these aforementioned reasons in mind! 

 If you have any questions about Matcha & Quality or about our Matcha specifically, please feel free to reach out to me at! :) 

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"I love this product the taste is really good I use it instead of coffee now for my morning drink and it gives me clear minded energy"

– Kirsten R. on "Usu" Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha (30g)