Matcha is expensive, so how do you know what brands are worth the money? With all the options out there, online and in shops and cafes, it can be tricky to tell.
Sadly, there are companies selling culinary grades as ceremonial. Some that sell cheap Chinese imitation matcha. We have even seen it in tea bags (matcha doesn't come in tea bags). When you start drinking matcha regularly, you run into this problem. A lot. That's why we set up MYcha.
Matcha is to Japan as champagne is to France. Anything outside of Japan simply must be called, powdered green tea. The difference between matcha and green tea lies in the unusual cultivation and processing methods, making it the king of green teas.
To be considered matcha, only the most tender shade grown tea leaves are hand picked in Japan. The tea leaves are shade grown to encourage the tea plant to concentrate its many nutrients in the leaf, while also achieving a lovely and balanced flavour profile. The harvested leaves are handled in a series of meticulous and traditional Japanese methods including removal of veins and stems, drying and slow stone grinding to ensure the nutritional value of the matcha is preserved. The end result is a finely milled matcha that is then carefully packaged to preserve the peak of freshness.
Green tea powder brands that cost significantly less are probably not true Japanese matcha. Chinese "matcha" only roughly follows these farming techniques. Chinese tea leaves are not generally grown in the shade, and are pan fried to stop oxidation. As a result, Chinese "matcha" does not froth as much and its texture is more sandy.
So, what should you be looking for in a matcha? Matcha that is organically grown and processed in Japan is always going to be a better option. It should be a vibrant green and have a silky feel, similar to eyeshadow.
An average matcha will be a dull green and grainy to touch—the tougher leaves of the tea plant. And because matcha is made from milling the entire leaf, we also believe that you should only buy organic matcha to ensure that your cup is free of nasty chemicals.
Not only can you taste the difference, but you can see it too. The high street brand below was purchased from Holland & Barrett, £21.99 for 30 grams.