| Marie R

Your Guide To Matcha: What To Keep in Mind When Buying Matcha Green Tea

Not All Matcha Is Created Equal...
Ceremonial vs Culinary Grade - What Should You Be Drinking?

 

Ceremonial Grade Matcha: 

  • Used for Drinking/Enjoying
  • Best for health benefits due to high nutritional content

Culinary Grade Matcha:

  • Used for Baking/Cooking
  • Best for baking Matcha & Green Tea flavored treats

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Same Plant, Different Soil
How The Location of Where Matcha is Grown Affects The Quality

Quite interestingly, the location where the Matcha was grown can affect the taste and quality of it, not only due to the soil composition and regional climate but also due to the history and attitude towards Matcha!

Japanese Grown Matcha = Higher Quality Matcha

Japan takes their Matcha seriously. It is viewed not only as a commodity to be consumed and sold but also as an art form meant to be presented in Japanese Tea Ceremonies. Matcha, in this way, is enjoyed as a spiritual beverage for relaxation, meditation, and its medicinal properties. This is why most Japanese-grown Matcha falls into the high-quality category. That being said, if you too value Matcha for its aesthetics, taste, and health benefits, you will surely enjoy Japan's finest Matcha!


Chinese Grown Matcha = Usually Lower-quality Matcha

Of course, this cannot be said of all Matcha grown in China. There are indeed brands that are of higher-quality than even some in Japan. It is merely a general rule of thumb to keep in mind when distinguishing the many varying grades and types of Matcha grown. 

Telling Them Apart
How to Find The Finest Matcha Tea

1. Location

The first step in finding the best tasting Matcha Green Tea is to check where it was grown. If it is from Japan, you are in luck!

Uji city is home to some of Japan's oldest tea fields and is at the center of Matcha Green tea harvesting and cultivation. Knowing the rich history and artistic care that comes along with Uji-made Matcha, we source our finest Matcha from the city.

While the Western world does not seem to mind where Japanese Matcha is grown, the Japanese Tea market does. Japan is proud of Uji-grown Matcha, much like how France is proud of Bordeaux wine produced in Bourdeaux, France. So, while there are many different regions where Matcha is grown in Japan, we prefer Uji-grown Matcha for its rich history and distinct sweet flavor!

  1. Go For Japanese Matcha
  2. ​Avoid Matcha Grown in China
  3. Check for Region in Japan
  4. ​Uji-Matcha is Famous in Japan

2. Price: Not all Matchas are created equal and not all are priced equally.

You pay for what you get when you purchase Matcha- due to its delicate and meticulous harvesting process, high-quality Matcha comes at a higher price. This does not mean that the more expensive the Matcha is, the better the taste is, however! Instead, most ceremonial grade Matcha is priced between 24-40 US dollars per 30g, and hence, it is best to stay within that range.

Note: If you ever find a Matcha that is a fantastic deal, for example, 100g for 10 dollars, you best avoid it if you want to enjoy the experience of drinking Matcha. These Matcha brands are only selling low-quality Matcha that carries with it a muddy grassy taste and little nutritional value.

  1. Higher Price = Higher Quality 
  2. Avoid "Super Deals" or Very Low Priced Matcha
  3. Stay within $24 - $40 When Purchasing
  4. Japanese Matcha = More Expensive but More Delicious

3. Color
High-quality Matcha is praised for its vibrant green color and blue-green hue. This color combination signifies a Matcha's high chlorophyll content, which is a result of adequate shading before harvesting. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to tell apart low and high-quality Matcha is the presence, or lack thereof, of a stunningly beautiful color.


4. Aroma
One of the best 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.


5. Texture
High-quality Matcha is made from the softest and youngest, high-quality leaves, and therefore its texture is very smooth when ground. Low-quality Matcha, on the other hand, is made with older, coarser leaves, and is not always properly deveined and de-stemmed, leaving it with a grassy-like texture. A soft-textured Matcha will ensure a thick-creamy foam when whisked or blended.

6. 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, bitter, grassy taste.

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