GOOD vs BAD Matcha: How To Tell Them Apart
I've made a post before about the importance of quality when it comes to drinking Matcha, and to briefly summarize my argument: While baking with low-quality Matcha is perfectly fine, you want to be drinking high-quality Matcha no matter what. It tastes better and is better for your health! Win-Win!
Knowing the importance of high-quality grade Matcha, you might be wondering how to easily distinguish the two. In this post, therefore, we will be exploring the 6 best ways to tell good and bad matcha apart!
Before anything, let's make something clear :
High Quality Matcha = GOOD Matcha
Low Quality Matcha = BAD Matcha
STEP ONE: Location
Check where the Matcha is grown. Green tea is very sensitive to the soil it is planted in, and therefore the taste of it can vary depending on its harvested location. Stick with Matcha grown in Japan and avoid Matcha grown in China.
One, there is a lower concentration of lead. Matcha grown in China is known to have higher concentrations of lead due to the soil composition. Consuming a lot of Chinese Matcha (because it is so easily affordable) can lead to unhealthy amounts of lead in your body.
Two, Japan takes their Matcha seriously. Low-quality Matcha is cheap for a reason -- It's easy to produce and there is no time and effort involved in it. The effort that Japan puts into producing vibrant green Matcha results in delicious, umami, antioxidant and L-theanine-rich Matcha. Sure, it is a delicate process that involves hand-selecting tea leaves for quality, steaming, de-stemming, and grinding it stone mills, but the result is simply breath-taking.
Another thing to keep in mind is the location in Japan. Japan has a very diverse climate due to its unique placement on the globe, and therefore the climate can vary drastically depending on the location. We prefer Uji-grown Matcha, (which is in the Kyoto-prefecture) as it has a noticeable umami-kick to it. Uji-Matcha is pretty famous, as the city is also the hub of everything Matcha! Plus the tea-fields are just stunningly beautiful!
So before you buy a can of Matcha, check to see where it is harvested from and stick with Matcha grown in Japan.
STEP TWO: Color
So congratulations on picking a Matcha-brand from Japan -- you are one step closer to delicious high-quality matcha! The next step is to check the color of the Matcha!
High-quality Matcha has a vibrant green color with a pops of cyan and yellow. It is hard to put into words, but you'll know what I mean when you see it for yourself.
Here is a un-edited picture of our ceremonial grade. (I'm actually really proud of this, haha). Notice the combination of blue, green, and yellow -- this color combination signifies our Matcha's high chlorophyll content, which is a result of adequate shading before harvesting. Chlorophyll can help to detoxify the body of harmful toxins and even protect your skin from sun-damage!
Keep in mind that lighting can affect the color of Matcha -- below is our same matcha but without direct lighting (Both the spoon and matcha are a darker color). Nonetheless, our matcha's rich green color still pops out. Overall, aim for a consistent rich-green color that is not a muddy-green.
When buying a Matcha brand, aim for a vibrant green color such as above!
STEP THREE: Aroma
Perhaps my favorite thing about high-quality Matcha is the smell. When you open a can and hold your nose to the fresh powdered Matcha, it should be shockingly sweet. Sweeter than it tastes. It has an earthy undertone but is accompanied by an almost floral sweet tinge. Low-quality matcha lacks this sweet aroma, and instead smells overwhelmingly grassy.
STEP FOUR: Texture
This next step is to check if your matcha has been properly ground and if the stems have been removed. Let's refer back to our previous photos.
Notice how pure the consistency is -- It is as soft as flour with little to no clumps. This shows that our Matcha has been properly de-stemmed and ground. A soft-textured Matcha will ensure a thick-creamy foam when whisked or blended (and honestly that is so important when it comes to drinking Matcha).
STEP FIVE: Blended Color:
While the color of blended Matcha is different than powdered Matcha (The water naturally darkens and adds richness the color), you should make sure that it is still vibrant green.
Aim for a vibrant and rich green, as opposed to a light colored yellow-green.
STEP SIX: Taste
Yes, my friends, the last and most important key in selecting a high-quality Matcha is the taste. Matcha naturally has some bitterness to it, (think of the tart-bitterness in dark-chocolate or in blackberries -- it's what makes it so good for you!!), but the flavor should be accompanied by earthy, umami (savory) and amami (sweet) undertones. The flavor can vary depending on how you prepare it - heat brings it our it's earthy-richness, while ice brings out it's floral-sweetness. Overall, it should be an enjoyable experience, with no muddy or grassy taste.
So heres to your health, your happiness, and your DELICIOUS cup of Matcha!
Thank you so much for reading this post! I hope it may of been of some help in distinguishing good and bad matcha!
If you have any questions about our brand or Matcha in general, feel free to chat with me on our site or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Till next time!