Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won't cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running. Please check out our disclosure policy for more details. Thank you for your support!




What is Matcha


What is matcha


Best matcha green tea
By Koumei Matcha (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Matcha a refined form of pulverized tea leaf which is fully grown and made in Japan. The tea leaf leaves shaded from the sun for a previous couple of weeks of their growth, increasing the photosynthesis effect and chlorophyll content and making a stunning greenish color. Then, the leaves rigorously ground with stone grinding wheels to provide a fine powder. The powder will then be added in hot water to form a brew full of rich antioxidant frothy tea or in recipes like smoothies or baking. In contrast to alternative types of teas, the tea powder not strained out before drinking, thus you're drinking the complete leaf, creating Matcha more potent than alternative tea varieties. In fact, a mere 1/2 tsp is sufficient to brew a standard cup of Matcha.

About Matcha


Matcha is prepared from the original plant where normally all teas come from i.e camellia sinensis, the leaves of which might be processed into green tea (unfermented tea; it’s merely steamed and dried), into oolong tea (the leaves part ferment), and into black tea (fully fermented). Camellia sinensis have varieties, and a few of them, it seems, produces higher quality matcha than others. The highest grade matcha is virtually invariably from one among 3 Japanese varieties (they’re referred to as sami Dori, Oku Midori, and yabukita in Japanese) These 3 varieties of the noble tea plant are explored, chosen for, and cultivated in Japan for over 900 years. Several Japanese growers/farmers know about this, and in several cases cultivated by family lineages for many many years. These families have the skills and expertise to cultivate these 3 varieties to get superior matcha.

Superior grade matcha possess the following key characteristics:

  •  Brilliant color intensity Texture, quality, and density 
  • The area where it is cultivated
  •  Rich froth ability
  •  Silky looks that contains crème to the final drop. 
  • Fineness of the powder 
  • Whether there has been any prolonged exposure to oxygen
  •  How it was ground 
  • Treatment prior to processing The combination of these characteristics is a very rare chance.

The combination of these characteristics is a very rare chance.

This miracle elixir has been consumed for over a millennium in the Far East, and is now considered to be one of the most powerful superfoods on the market today.

Know more about matcha green tea powder here!

The main place of matcha cultivation is in Japan known as Uji, which sits on the southeast border of the city of Kyoto. This is the homeland of almost all traditional Japanese arts. Uji climate for matcha cultivation is the most favorable here. It is from this place where many of Japan’s most distinguished (and most expensive) matcha comes from. Uji’s climate exclusively created for matcha cultivation produces one of the finest varieties of mouth-watering with a pleasant savory taste which is combined with the skills and expertise of the family lineage who were the oldest matcha growers to the entire world. Therefore, matcha coming from Kyoto is considered to be one of the world-class varieties satisfying all the quality requirement that makes a wonderful elixir drink.

The other distinguished matcha cultivation is in Aichi Prefecture, in a town called Nishio, a historic tea-cultivating region dating back to the late Heian Period (12th century). Nishio has what many considered being an ideal terrain for matcha cultivation. The climate is mild, it is a remote place free from any pollution, its soils are fertile, and it is elevated (roughly 600 meters above sea level), all of which add up to wildly bright color, pleasant savory taste, and maximum nutrients. Many teas are harvested several times throughout the year; a second harvest is sometimes referred to in the literature as a “second flush.” Many matcha producers create second and even third flushes.

There are over 25 matcha sellers that we consider to be the front runners in this category ceremonial grade matcha green tea powder and a good place to start your research is our review section.

Matcha Production


Matcha’s specially crafted production and process forms the key to its high-potency health advantages. Below mentioned are the steps followed that are reliable traditions still adopted by producers of Japan for producing top quality Matcha.

Shade Covering

The perfect Matcha, in comparison to normal black tea or green tea production, gets harvested—always by hand—just once each year, generally in may. Roughly six weeks before harvest, that is in late March or early April, the tea fields, are enclosed by an enclosure. To protect the matcha from direct sunlight, tea fields are generally lined with bamboo and rice-mat shades before harvest. Shading reduces the direct sun rays on the tea leaves and reduces photosynthesis. Therefore, forces the tea plant to spice up its natural production of chlorophyll and therefore the healthy organic compound L-theanine — that not only adds to the calm, mental alertness impact of matcha, however additionally provides the tea a smoother, satisfying pleasant savory taste.

Hand selecting

While hand selecting inevitably will increase the cost of production, it guarantees that only best tea leaves are chosen for the process. Nothing beats the trained eyes and delicateness of this centuries-old tradition. It is, in fact, the only way to guarantee the highest quality matcha tea. Young and old men and girls participate in the hand selecting method. Only the smallest, youngest/greenest elements of the plant and especially the 2 leaves at the tip of every new shoot are picked.

Light Steaming

As soon as the tea leaves are collected from the farms, they are gently steamed to stop oxidation. Oxidization could be a chemical reaction that causes rusty blemishes to appear on natural organics like vegetables, fruit and even tea leaves. Matcha leaves are best kept naturally fresh and green. In order to preserve the color and nutrients, and prevent the enzymatic action inside the leaves, they are then completely dried in massive cages equipped with heated blowers.

De-stemming / De-veining

Before matcha tea leaves are stone ground to an expensive green powder, they are de-veined and de-stemmed to make sure, only the sweet centers of every leaf are sent to the mill. The leaves that make it through this rigorous method are referred to as ‘Tencha’, and, of course, the standard of ‘Tencha’ also varies according to segregation process. ‘Tencha’ is then kept froze till it’s ready to be ground. A hundred years ago this painful method was performed by hand. Today, producers use air chambers and agitators designed specifically for tea leaves.

Stone Grinding

Finally, these selected, gently steamed, de-stemmed leaves are slowly ground between slabs of pure granite. It takes one full hour of grinding to supply one ounce of Matcha tealeaf. In contrast to steeped tea, matcha tea contains the whole herb. As a rich, naturally ground powder mixed with hot water, matcha tea provides nutritional values no other natural drink can give. The ground tea is then vacuum packed and cooled at low temperatures until it is shipped.
Know more about matcha green tea powder here!

Types of Matcha


Matcha tea a refreshing variant to normal green tea is a bright greenish elixir that is abundant with antioxidants that enhance your mood, health, and energy. You’re most likely already accustomed to normal green tea, however, matcha contains a distinct character that has an especially potent profile of nutrients. In contrast to normal green tea – it is a powder instead of loose leaves or tea bags. There are many completely different “grades” of matcha tea leaf powder, that is determined by the standard of the appearance, the method of process and ingredients used:

  •  The color of the tea 
  • The texture, quality and density
  • The quality of the product – is it stem or is it leaves?
  • The fineness of the powder
  • Whether there has been any prolonged exposure to oxygen
  • How it was ground up
  • Treatment prior to processing

Matcha green tea are separated into two main categories based on the process of preparation ceremonial grade and culinary grade.

CEREMONIAL GRADE MATCHA GREEN TEA POWDER

Ceremonial grade matcha is the highest quality green tea powder available. This premium grade is vibrant green in color, with a pleasant savory delicate taste (Ummami flavor) and superfine texture. Ceremonial grade matcha is made from the tender most tea leaves, with the stems and veins entirely removed. The leaves are stone-ground, which makes the rich frothy matcha suitable for consumption. Matcha can easily be identified from the other tea grades.

Purpose
Matcha is an exclusive blend for consuming with hot water and drinking as it is. Ceremonial grade matcha should be consumed straight. Just as in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, it should not be mixed with sweeteners or other ingredients.

Flavor
This premium matcha is naturally sweet, mild flavor that is softened by the adding milk, sugar, chocolate or soy products. The delicate nuances of this high-quality tea are best enjoyed pure and mixed only with hot water. Color & Texture Matcha is a bright green, talc-like powder should smell fresh and slightly grassy. It should not be coarse or gritty blend, and its color hue should always be a brilliant green.

Usage
One half-teaspoon of ceremonial grade matcha is the correct mix for every cup (8 ounces) of hot water. Be sure to whisk your beverage thoroughly. This premium grade is not recommended for cooking and baking.

CULINARY GRADE MATCHA GREEN TEA POWDER

Culinary grade is most often used for cooking and baking. It is also fine to drink, which is still a very high-quality tea, just with a slightly different flavor profile than ceremonial grade matcha. Culinary grade matcha is still good quality product, has a slightly different process of preparation and it has different characteristics.

Purpose
Culinary grade matcha blend is used with other ingredients in recipes for food and beverages. It goes well other flavors, creating delicious green tea lattes, matcha smoothies and green tea based baked foods.

Flavor
It is slightly less sweet than the Ceremonial grade, with more bitter tastes.

Color, Smell & Texture This matcha smells grassy and fresh, and feel soft and smooth. It may look less vibrantly green than ceremonial grade matcha, but it should still possess a noticeably green color.

Usage
Adding a little more of this matcha green tea powder should make a tasty beverage. To get the equivalent taste of ceremonial grade, the quantity consumed should be more than the ceremonial grade. You need at least one to two teaspoons of culinary grade matcha into every cup of hot water. Most cooking and baking recipes will call for one to two tablespoons of the powder. You can also drink culinary grade matcha mixed with hot water however, a little-added sweetener is required.

Culinary grade matcha powder can be further broken down into five main sub-types: premium, café, ingredient, kitchen and classic.

1. Premium Grade
Premium grade matcha tea is right for everyday consumption, from a morning espresso to a day matcha smoothie. Compared to ceremonial grade matcha tea, the premium grade may be an excellent mix at a rather lower cost. This makes it a superb alternative for everyday use. Premium grade matcha tea contains a good fine texture, that breaks up simply in water. it is slightly less bright greenish than ceremonial grade matcha, however, don’t let the color fool you – it’s even as satisfying.

2. Café Grade
Made with less delicate leaves than ceremonial and premium grade matcha, café grade matcha offers an especially stronger flavor. This is excellent for recipes and baking. It is one among the costlier varieties of matcha powder, and you will be able to tell it with the exception of the lower grades by its attractive greenish color. Café grade matcha tea contains a fine texture that blends well, whether or not you're serving a cool tea smoothie or hot matcha cappuccino.

3. Ingredient Grade
Ingredient grade matcha tea is a superb selection for recipes that contain milk and different dairy farm foods. Use it for matcha tea ice cream, a matcha smoothie, or matcha latté. Owing to its thick consistency, it works well once added to sauces and desserts. Remove lumps in your recipes by stirring the matcha well, ideally with a whisk.

4. Kitchen Grade
Kitchen grade matcha tea is one among economical brands and is prepared with less delicate leaves than the usual grades. It has a powerful astringent flavor; hence, it is excellent for large-scale tea making and mixed into different foods. It is not as fine as the other kinds of matcha powder, kitchen grade matcha tea may be a bit darker in color and frequently sold in larger quantity. This matcha is good for experimenting with new recipes and obtaining artistic within the kitchen.

5. Classic Grade
Classic grade matcha tea is a pleasant mix with a superb value. It is one amongst the upper grades however sometimes, costs less than the other grades. Classic grade matcha contains a stronger and distinct flavor, that can be used to prepare several Recipes.

Finally a word of caution

It is true that matcha has a number of benefits but there is also a caution to be noted. That is its lead content. Though its percentage is very negligible and much lower than permissible limits, it is better to consume maximum 1 - 2 cups per day. From all the literature that I’ve read, this is not a reason to avoid matcha tea, since the levels are still low, but I would exercise more caution when pregnant for this reason. Every day, innumerable folks not knowing the power of green tea throw away valuable antioxidants and minerals. When you brew a cup of tea water will extract a fraction of teas advantages. The bulk truly remains unused, locked within the tea leaves. In reality, way to really benefit from tea's full potential is to consume the complete leaf. However, that doesn’t mean you should start consuming tea leaves. The best answer is to only relish a bowl of matcha because matcha is straight, stone ground tea leaves. Matcha provides you with a tea packed with an arsenal of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids in a very proportionate amount which no alternative tea will give. You may take a look at the popular brands of matcha that are imported from Japan, the main producers of matcha.
Know more about matcha green tea powder here!

Related Guides

The History Of Matcha Tea
6 Things To Know About Matcha
Nutritional And Chemical Compositions In Matcha
How To Make Matcha Tea
Tips To Buy Best Matcha Tea Powder

No comments: