Matcha’s new popularity especially among western consumers has created an unprecedented interest in this centuries old tea. For those just discovering matcha, a little investigation is probably a good idea.
Store shelves today — those intended for matcha tea drinkers — often present a confusing array of different brands, all with different prices and all claiming to be “premium” matcha.
The trick is knowing which ones are truly good quality, fairly priced, and the right choice for you. Price alone can be misleading. To guarantee good value for your matcha money make a point of following these seven simple buying tips:
7 Matcha Buying Tips
- Make sure the matcha tea you’re buying is 100% Japanese matcha green tea powder. Only Japan adheres to high quality authentic processing standards.
- Never buy products that claim to be matcha in loose-leaf form or teabags. So-called matcha teabags contain only about 3% matcha powder, the rest is tea leaf.
- Never buy powdered sencha or simple green teas that claim to be matcha. Neither is cultivated nor processed as true matcha tea.
- Read the label. If it uses terms like “premium” or “hand-picked” then lists sugar (or a sugar derivative) as an ingredient, run the other way!
- Understand price. The best matcha tea leaves are generally reserved for ceremonial grade matcha, which you whisk in hot water and usually retails for about $30 per oz. A good mid-grade matcha used for lattes and blended drinks usually retails for $30 – $35 for 2.8 ounces. Good Culinary matcha retails at about $21 – $25 for 3.5 ounces (keep in mind, as you go lower in grade, you get fewer nutrients, more astringent taste and a less vibrant green color).
- Beware sweetness. If the product is sweetened, it will be made from low-grade tea leaves, contain mostly sugar and should be labeled and priced accordingly: about $10 per 3.5oz or 10 cents per gram.
- Be color wise. Good quality matcha should be a rich vibrant green. It should also be finely ground and have a full fresh aroma.
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