Culinary and Ceremonial Matcha Teas
Know what they are and when to use them
Culinary and ceremonial matcha are types of matcha but their similarities end there as they couldn’t be more different from each other. To start off, their names alone suggest they’re on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Culinary matcha, the more utilitarian of the two, is primarily used in cooking meaning this is what your favorite cafe is using in its matcha flavored smoothies, pastries and ice cream. The reverence in ceremonial matcha being named as it is was out of its role in the ancient art of the Japanese tea ceremony whose origins are firmly intertwined with matcha
Once you see and taste them for yourself, it’s quite easy to tell them apart.
Appearance wise, ceremonial matcha has the distinctive vibrant color that pops off on your Instagram feed. The electric shade of green with hints of yellow is due to the tea leaves getting plucked when they’re still young. Culinary matcha are made of tea leaves a bit older so it’s darker and less vibrant.
Between the two, you’ll find out with just a sip that ceremonial grade matcha tastes better. High quality ceremonial grade matcha tea should taste naturally sweet thus no bitterness and an extra long finish with the umami lingering on your tongue. On the other hand, culinary matcha grade tastes bitter, not because it’s an inferior kind, but because it’s not meant to be taken as tea in the first place. It’s better off being whisked into a latte than drank straight.
If you look up matcha tea online you’ll find out that culinary matcha is cheaper than ceremonial grade.
Does that mean I should go for ceremonial matcha tea powder?
That depends entirely on what you’re looking to get out of matcha. Though bitter, matcha flavored pastries and drinks have found a loyal following thanks to the distinctive taste that only matcha can bring. If you’re looking to spice up a bland cake or inject new flavors to your morning latte, then culinary matcha tea grade powder is perfect for you.
Ceremonial matcha tea will open you up to new flavors - matcha’s umami has been raved about by its devotees - and welcome you into the experience of drinking matcha tea. Getting into that clear headspace and achieving lengthened mental focus can be well worth the price of paying for premium matcha tea powder. Over time, the cost of ceremonial grade matcha will pay off through the improvement of your overall health and wellness.