Tea 101: Matcha

Want to learn more about   Matcha? Read our introductory guide for information on Matcha, as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

What is Matcha?
Matcha is a tea made from finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves , otherwise known as Tencha. It’s most famously produced in Japan.  Because Matcha powder embodies the ground tealeaf in its entirety, it contains more vitamins and nutrients than loose-leaf green tea.

How is it processed?
Before harvesting, the tea leaves are shaded for 20 to 25 days. They’re shaded around 80% during the time period and then up to 90% or more 3 to 4 days before harvest depending on the weather, forcing the tea leaves to become very nutrient rich.

After harvest, the tea leaves are steamed and dried in a furnace made of bricks called the 'Tencha Ro'. Because the dried tea leaves will be milled into powder to make Matcha, there is no need to roll the leaves like you would for other types of green tea like Gyokuro or Sencha.

Quality
The overall quality of any Matcha can be determined by three things: color, taste and smell . Where leaves are located on a tea bush also plays a significant factor; softer tea leaves develop higher on the bush, resulting in a higher grade Matcha.

Ceremonial-grade Matcha is the highest quality Matcha, offering a vibrant and recognizable green color, subtle taste and fine texture. It’s made from the youngest tea leaves, resulting in a thick and creamy tea.

Good quality Matcha has a shade of vibrant green, along with a deep umami sweetness and a fresh green, spring-like aroma known in Japanese as “Ooika”. This is a way of telling whether or not the tea leaves have been shaded prior to harvest. Tea leaves that are shaded have a high content of Theanine, a kind of amino acid, which helps to enhance moods, concentration and alertness.  

A low-grade Matcha will have a tinge of yellow or brown in color, with a certain degree of acidity in taste and an aroma very close to Sencha green tea. 

For ingredient grade Matcha , in which coarser leaves are used, the taste is astringent and the foam produced from whisking is very light and disappears within a very short time after the whisking is finished.

For our flavored Matcha , color should not be considered as they are blended with ingredients such as cinnamon , cocoa , ginger, and turmeric.

Is our blended Matcha “ceremonial grade”?
No, but we use a very good, organic Matcha for our blends. While our blended Matcha contains the same nutritional benefits, it would be silly to use ceremomial grade Matcha with cocoa or other ingredients. It’s equivalent to making a mimosa with Dom Perignon; mimosas taste just as good with sparkling wine or Prosecco as they do with expensive champagne such as Dom Perignon.

Our Everyday Matcha ( note: we should link to the EM product detail page) is considered A1 grade. It’s a very high-quality Matcha that would be considered a better quality than most “ceremonial Matcha” being sold on shelf by other brands.

Our Selection Process
It is a common practice to use the first top eight young leaves during the spring harvest when selecting tea leaves for making Matcha. However, in our ceremonial and everyday Matcha we use only the top four young leaves, which are the most tender leaves. This is part of the reason why our Matcha tastes creamy and produces a thick, creamy foam that stays in place when whisked.  What’s more, all of our Matcha is 100% organic. 

Benefits of Matcha
Matcha is not only a delicious drink, it’s a nutritious one too. Matcha:

  • May help to enhance moods, concentration and alertness.  
  • Is a great source of energy
  • May help to boost metabolism and burn calories
  • contains powerful antioxidants such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg);
  • is loaded with vitamins such as vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium
  • may help lower cholesterol and blood sugar
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