About Matcha Tea
What is matcha powdered green tea?
Matcha is premium green tea powder from Japan used for drinking as tea or as an ingredient in recipes. While other green teas are grown throughout the world, matcha is unique to Japan. It is the heart of the Japanese way of tea and has been celebrated in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony for hundreds of years.
What does matcha taste like?
Chlorophyll and amino acids give matcha its unique rich taste, an initial vegetal, astringent taste, followed by a lingering sweetness. Matcha made in the traditional Japanese style, whisked with water, is a full-bodied green tea. The intensity of the experience compares to one’s first taste of dark chocolate or red wine. When added as an ingredient, the taste of matcha becomes subtler. It adds the flavor and color of green tea to your creation, be it a smoothie, latte, savory sauce or pastry.
What are the health benefits of matcha?
Matcha is renowned for numerous health benefits. It is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, fiber and chlorophyll. It is sugar-free, an ideal drink for diabetics and others wishing to reduce their sugar intake. The health benefits of matcha exceed those of other green teas because matcha drinkers ingest the whole leaf, not just the brewed water. One glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidant content.
Read more about the health benefits of matcha powdered tea.
Amino Acids in Matcha
Matcha contains L-theanine, an amino acid known to relax the mind. For this reason, matcha is also known as a mood enhancer. Buddhist monks drank matcha to assist in meditation, as matcha’s amino acids, combined with caffeine, offer a sustained calm alertness over time. Amino acids are also what gives matcha is distinctive taste. They contribute to what is known as the fifth taste, or umami, characterized by a rich creamy mouth feel.
How is matcha produced?
Matcha is grown only in Japan, where local farmers cultivate it by traditional methods, from growing to grinding. Matcha Source matcha is farmed by the Yahagi river whose micro-climate and misty fog air make for ideal growing conditions.
Several weeks prior to harvest in the Spring, farmers cover the tea plants with bamboo mats or tarp, gradually reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches the plants. This step increases the chlorophyll content and turns the leaves dark green, giving matcha its distinct green color.
After harvesting, the leaves are steamed and then air dried. Next, the leaves are sorted for grade, and then destemmed and deveined. At this stage, the leaves become tencha, the precursor to matcha. The tencha is then ground and becomes matcha.
Tea grade matcha is ground on a stone mill to achieve a fine powder texture, unlike industrial grade matcha which is ground by machines. The stone grinding produces a specially shaped powder molecule which impacts the taste and mouth feel of the matcha. All grades of Matcha Source tea are stone ground.
Why is matcha tea relatively expensive when compared to other green teas?
Japanese tea, in general, tends to be more expensive than teas produced in other countries. It’s the rule of supply and demand. Japan is a small country that only exports about 1 percent of its teas, due to high domestic demand.
Taking that into account, matcha production is limited. Covering the fields with bamboo mats, or tarps, weakens the tea plants, and a longer recovery period is needed before they can be harvested again. Most farmers pick matcha leaves entirely by hand – although machine picking is not un-common. Local farmers closely supervise the growing, harvesting and sorting of matcha leaves. At the factory, production requires several processes including steaming, drying, destemming, sorting, grinding and packaging. Each stone grinder produces only about 40 grams of matcha in an hour.
Matcha has always been specially crafted tea in Japan, expensive and made in limited amounts since its introduction to Japan from China in the 1200’s.
The pricing of matcha in Japan is directly related to which leaves are used, where they were grown and which farmers cultivated it. When you look to buy matcha, you’ll find the most expensive ones are the greenest color and the softest in texture. This denotes that only the youngest leaves were used and de-spined (all coarse fibers, i.e. the stems, removed). Matcha is made in relatively limited quantities, and because it is so popular in Japan, relatively little remains for export.
Does matcha have caffeine?
Yes. Matcha is a type of green tea, and green tea contains caffeine. When drinking matcha, whole tea leaves are consumed (not just the steep as with other teas), providing 4 to 6 hours of mild steady energy. Matcha is both a stimulant and a relaxant, perfect for focusing on work, meditation, exercise or play.
How is matcha prepared?
Matcha can be prepared in many different ways. We
offer guidelines and ideas. Click here to read our Preparing Matcha Guidelines.
What are the differences between the different grades of matcha?
Premium matcha is traditionally divided into two categories, thin and thick. These terms denote the grade and style of the tea, rather than texture of the liquid or the quality of the tea. Thin matcha, or usucha, is prepared with less tea to more water. Thick matcha, or koicha, is made from the youngest, most tender leaves, and is prepared with more tea to less water. Koicha is more flexible and can be used to
make both thin and thick styles.
Matcha Source offers three grades of matcha tea –
What is ingredient grade?
- Extra Super Premium Ceremony Grade
highest concentration of amino acids, adding to the complexity of the taste and aroma of the teaMORNING MATCHA
- Organic Premium Ceremony Grade
certified organic by JAS, the Japanese Agricultural Standards, recommended it for those new to matcha
- Ingredient Grade
perfect for adding to blended drinks or for use in recipes try it in smoothies, lattes, savory sauces and desserts.
Ingredient grade matcha is made from the same plants as premium grade;
the difference is which leaves are used and the process of grinding it
into a powder. With ingredient grade, the leaves used are found below
the top leaf and bud set of the tea plant. These lower leaves are a
little older and less delicate; their stems are not removed when ground
into powder, as with premium grade. The taste is less complex and
bolder, holding up well to other ingredients, hence the name. It is
ideal for cooking and making drinks with. It compliments both savory
and sweet recipes.
What matcha utensils are best?
The history of matcha utensils is as old as the Japanese tea ceremony itself. Traditional utensils include a bamboo whisk (chasen), tea sifter, ceramic tea bowl (chawan) and tea scoop (chashaku). If you can choose only one, we recommend starting with a bamboo whisk, which froths the tea in the bowl and brings out the delicate flavor profiles of KAMA MATCHA and MORNING MATCHA.
How do I store matcha?
Store matcha in your refrigerator in an air-tight, light-tight container. When making tea, scoop out a serving of matcha and immediately replace the tin in the refrigerator. Once opened, use within 2 to 4 weeks for maximum freshness and best taste.
Still have questions?
Call us toll free at 1 877 9+MATCHA (1 877 962 8242) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.