High quality matcha buyers guide

Your field guide in choosing the best matcha

 

Let’s get real for a minute here: matcha is expensive.


So expensive that it’s sold in 30g bags that culinary matcha, the matcha grade you use for cooking and shakes, retails at $20 at the least. That’s at the cheapest end of the spectrum and if you’re planning to just roll with it thinking, ‘Matcha is matcha’, you couldn’t be more wrong because grades do matter, especially when you want a good bowl of matcha.


When you’re buying matcha, buy matcha.


High quality matcha delivers the fabled benefits you’ve read about that when you’re savoring the last bowl of a $30 tin, you’ll concede that the price was well worth it.


Authentic organic matcha is pricier than non-organic ones for 1 reason: less than 1% of tea is grown organically, not to mention all the hurdles organic tea farms have to deal with. With those qualities checked, you’re one half of the way to ensuring an excellent bowl of matcha tea.


With the price that matcha commands, there’s a lot of times you’re tempted to fork over more than what you plan to pay for, and you’ll never know if it was the right call until you have the tin in your hands. It maybe plastered with labels claiming it’s ‘organic’ and that it’s from ‘Japanese origin’ and a long list extolling its virtues; and while there maybe a grain of truth in those bold proclamations, the matcha powder inside will never tell a lie.


Matcha’s color alone is a revelation.


Ceremonial grade matcha has a bright, electric green color that’s brought about by the overproduction of chlorophyll when the tea bush is young and grown in the shade which is crucial stage in farming matcha.  


The key is vibrancy: not dark, army green or washed out green.


Culinary matcha on the other hand, is made out of the second harvest of the year when the leaves are a mixture of young and mature leaves so it’s a few shades lighter than ceremonial. If your matcha grade and color don’t match up, well...find a reputable seller the next time.


Next, take a deep smell of that powder.


Good, high quality matcha has a sweet aroma on top of an earthy tone. The mental picture it evokes is of blended green vegetables. A flat, dusty or grassy matcha is not high quality matcha.


And finally, the taste.


You can nitpick matcha powder for its texture, clumping, frothiness, etc., but the ultimate truth teller of quality is the taste. It definitely should NOT taste bitter, grassy and certainly not fish meal-y.


What it should be is naturally sweet on its own, an indication of the amino acids it’s abundant in, and a great deal of savory sweetness or ‘umami’. If the matcha’s flavor profile doesn’t fit any of these, it maybe dangerous matcha - a rogue imitation of matcha that’s actually just colored powder.


A lot of people’s first brush with matcha has been unpleasant because they don’t know what to look out for. Most of the time, they whisked a bowl of culinary matcha which left a bitter taste in their mouth, because well, culinary matcha is bitter and shouldn’t be drunk straight up.


Having a good experience with matcha shouldn’t be hard or too expensive. A 30g tin of our Premium Ceremonial Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder will set you back $28, which hits the sweet spot of being just the right price.


If you’re in doubt, why don’t you try one yourself? We’re pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.