Blast from the Past: How to Choose the Perfect Matcha
Posted by Erin Young
Friday November 6, 2015 | 1 comment
For those new to matcha, it can be a challenge to understand the different varieties of matcha and determine which one is right for you. We hope to help you with this guide to matcha. An authentic matcha will always have distinct characteristics. These are:
1. It will always be made from the tea plant (Camellia Sinensis).
2. The tea plants are grown slowly on shaded tea plantations. The process of shading – unique to only matcha green tea – promotes the production of extremely high levels of chlorophyll within the leaves. The fresh leaves are hand picked and steamed very briefly to preserve their nutritional properties and taste.
3. The leaves are milled using granite stone mills into an ultra fine, jade green powder. This creates matcha’s unique molecular structure.
4. Fresh, spring taste – there will be no bitterness.
5. Bright, beautiful green colour: This indicates the tea maintains its full nutritional profile
There are broadly three grades within matcha:
• Ceremonial-grade : Used by the majority of tea schools and Buddhist temples. It is extremely rare and very expensive. Similar to wine connoisseurs, those who are not matcha experts may not notice the subtle additional flavours of “Umami” which characterize the ceremonial grade
• Premium grade: A very high-quality matcha which is best for daily consumption. It is packed full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and is characterized by a fresh, subtle flavour. It’s perfect for the new – and every day – matcha drinker!
• Ingredient grade: This matcha is best used for cooking purposes.
In addition to these three grades there is two styles of matcha tea preparation: koicha and usucha.
• Koicha is used in only tea ceremonies and produces the thick emerald brew.
• Usucha is less sweet and is whisked vigorously to create a thinner, frothier tea.
TChing Tea Blog