Matcha is very popular all over the world due to a large number of beneficial trace elements and vitamins. Matcha improves health, strengthens the immune system, invigorates, improves metabolism and produces a tangible fat burning effect. Not only does it generate a huge demand for matcha powder, but it also facilitates counterfeit products. To not waste your money and get the most out of the drink, it is crucial to learn how to pick the best quality matcha.
How do you pick matcha powder? When picking matcha, make sure it has a bright, lustrous green color, sweet, vegetal flavor and rich, creamy smell with notes of caramel, chocolate and nuts. Matcha should be from Japan, from the Uji mountains and packaged in an airtight container. High-quality matcha should cost $90-120.
Ultimate Guide on Picking the Best Quality Matcha (Useful Tips)
When choosing matcha, pay attention to:
How do you choose matcha green tea powder? When choosing matcha green tea powder, make sure it has a bright green color without swampy or yellow hues and is packaged in an airtight container (metal, copper, iron). Matcha green powder should be produced in Japan, in the Uji mountains.
How Do I Buy Real Matcha?
What should I look for when buying matcha tea? When buying matcha tea, look for authentic Japanese powder of fine texture and rich vegetal smell. Matcha should not taste or smell fishy or earthy or have dull brown or yellow hues. Real matcha is fresh, sweet, chocolatey, nutty, creamy. Expect to pay anywhere between $0.25 to $1.20 per gram.
See also: Why Is Matcha So Popular? The Real Truth
Japanese matcha tea should have a bright green color. It should not have swampy or yellow tints, which are a clear sign of a Chinese counterfeit or Japanese tea of the lowest quality, which is not at all suitable for drinking and is only suitable for baking bread. There is no good matcha without a good matcha whisk. To keep your matcha whisk in good condition, head over to Ultimate Guide on How to Care for a Matcha Whisk (Chasen)
When you drink high-quality Japanese Matcha tea in a ratio of 2 g to 80 ml of water, it should not have any lumps and unpleasant bitterness. Matcha should have a delicate, herbaceous flavor with a slight tart sweetness.
To get all the beneficial properties of matcha tea, it must be fresh. The recommended shelf life for matcha is 12 months from the date of manufacture. It is believed that after this time, tea begins to lose gallates of epigallocatechin, the substances for which it is so valued. (The production date is not the harvest date, but the grinding date of raw materials and packaging)
Matcha tea must be packed in a tightly closed package without oxygen. The packaging must not let in light. Under no circumstances should you buy matcha in transparent jars or bags or by weight in tea shops. Real matcha is sold in small containers of 30 and 50 g to ensure its freshness and sweet taste since opened matcha must be consumed within 4 weeks. Check the packaging carefully before purchasing. Give preference to pure matcha as any additives or sweeteners indicate low-quality green tea.
Are you wondering why your matcha is not frothing? Check out 7 Reasons Why Your Matcha Does Not Foam!
The thickness of the foam depends on the temperature of the water, which should be no more than 80°C and the intensity of the whipping. The best foam is obtained by whisking with a bamboo whisk with a lot of fibers (100+) and as hot as possible. The foam should be thick, densely cover the entire surface of the matcha tea and shine beautifully in the light.
Which grade of matcha is best? Ceremonial matcha is the best grade as it is made from top-quality fresh leaves, which give matcha a vegetal, rich sweet taste and strong nutty, chocolate aroma and bright green color. Culinary grade matcha is not as green and sweet and is considered worse and cheaper than ceremonial matcha.
How to Find the Best Quality Matcha
How do I find the best quality matcha? To find the best quality matcha, make sure it was made in the Uji mountains and is ceremonial, not a culinary grade. High-quality matcha is bright green, has a mild caramel aroma and silky, delicate texture. Good matcha is sold in small containers (30, 50 g) and costs $0.75 to $1.20 per gram.
Quality matcha tea is produced only in Japan (prefectures Yame, Fukuoka; Uji, Kyoto). This tea is not produced in any other country, and what is sold under such brands is most likely ordinary grated green sencha tea. Matcha tea powder resembles baby powder of uniform consistency and dissolves quite easily in water. Chinese teas, even those that are quality fake, are heavy enough and sink to the bottom of the bowl. Fake matcha tastes like regular green tea. In addition, the real matcha has a deep dark green color, in contrast to the fakes, which are quite pale and dull.
For matcha to retain its naturally sweet and vegetal flavor and nutty, creamy aroma, it is important to use a high-quality Japanese bamboo whisk (chasen). Check out Useful Tips on How to Pick a Good Matcha Whisk for more info.
Choosing Authentic Matcha
How to tell if matcha is authentic? To tell if matcha is authentic, rub it between your fingers and smell it. It should have a texture reminiscent of baby powder and have a rich vegetal aroma. Authentic matcha must be produced only in the Uji Mountains, Japan. Authentic matcha costs from $0.25 to $1.20 per gram.
Real matcha tea has a complex natural sweetish taste with no bitterness. Flavoring shades vary depending on the category of tea, territory, seasonality and taste buds. The ceremonial matcha tea has a fresh, subtle chocolatey sweet-creamy taste and a harmonious pleasant aftertaste. Premium matcha tea has a slightly more pronounced bitterness with a sweet-creamy aftertaste and nutty notes. Regardless of the category, real matcha tea has a unique aftertaste.
Real matcha tea should be kept in a tightly sealed package without access to light and air. Due to its sensitivity, it is better to give preference to small packages and close them tightly after each use.
Is low-quality matcha bad for you? Low-quality matcha will not harm your health, but it will also not bring any health benefits. To get the most out of matcha vitamins and trace elements, opt for a high-quality ceremonial grade. Low-quality matcha is bitter, sour lumpy without a pleasant nutty aroma and bright green color.
How much should I spend on matcha? As of 2021, high-quality matcha in the USA costs from $0.75 to $1.20 per gram, while a gram of culinary matcha costs from $0.25 to $0.60. Any matcha cheaper than $0.20 per gram is artificial and not organic thus must not be consumed. A cup of matcha drink in a coffee shop costs $5-$9.
Real matcha tea cannot be cheap, but the high price is not the determining factor either. The price can vary greatly depending on the category and country of origin.
If you are just going to get acquainted with matcha tea for the first time, we advise you to first try the drink in a tea house to get the first idea of its color, taste and aroma. When buying matcha in a shop, pay attention to:
- Texture. Matcha tea powder resembles a powder of uniform consistency of bright green color without any lumps.
- Country of origin. The highest quality tea comes from Japan. Authentic matcha is not produced in any other country.
- Price. Remember that matcha tea is not cheap. So be prepared to pay $20 to $50 for 30 g.
- Packaging. Correct packaging is the key to the long-term storage of matcha. This is the best way to protect the tea from the harmful effects of air and light.
Picking the Best Quality Matcha Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What is a good quality matcha powder? Good quality matcha powder is bright green, has a sweet, creamy, vegetal flavor and rich caramel-like aroma. Good-quality matcha powder costs anywhere between $0.25-$0.60 per gram for culinary grade and $0.75-$1.20 for ceremonial grade and is produced in the Uji mountains in Japan.
- What is the best way to pick matcha? The best way to pick matcha is to check if its color is bright green without brown or yellow hues and the smell is creamy and vegetal. Before ordering matcha, check its expiration date and whether it was produced in the Uji mountains in Japan.
- How do you know if matcha is good quality? Good-quality matcha texture is similar to baby powder, dissolves in cold or warm water without lumps, is smooth to the touch. It has a sweet, creamy, vegetal and non-bitter flavor, caramel-like aroma and bright green color. It should not have any additives (100% organic) and be tested for radiation.
- What type of matcha powder is the best? Ceremonial matcha powder is the best as it has a fine texture, dissolves in cold and warm water without clumps, has a bright green color, has a non-bitter, chocolate-like nutty flavor and strong vegetal aroma. Ceremonial matcha has no additives and is always tested for heavy metals.
- How do you know if matcha is real? Real matcha costs between $0.25-$1.20 per gram, has a strong vegetal aroma and sweet, nutty flavor. It has a fine texture and easily dissolves even in cold water. Real matcha can be produced only in Japan and must be sold in non-transparent containers.