Matcha Grades

MATCHA GUIDE:

Matcha Grades

Much like wine, matcha is sold in a very wide range of quality levels (and a very wide range of price points to match). This quality is determined by where it is grown, how it is cultivated, when it is harvested, and how it is processed. Grade designation and pricing is entirely up to the brand selling the matcha - so please keep that in mind and always purchase matcha from a trusted source, with accurately assigned grades and fair pricing for the grade of matcha you receive.

In general, there are three main categories of matcha: ceremonial, culinary, and ingredient.

Ceremonial grades are from Ichibancha or (first harvest) leaves, have a smoother flavor suitable for traditional preparation as tea (just mixed with hot water and whisked), and are more expensive. These grades are characteristically more vibrant green in color.

Culinary grades are from Nibancha (or second harvest) tea leaves, still providing beautiful color and rich, distinctive robust flavor to blended preparations (like lattes and smoothies) and recipes.

Ingredient grade matcha is from later harvest tea leaves, with a more yellow color and pronounced green tea bitter flavor. It is the most affordable grade, and is best used as an ingredient in food production or supplements.

As far as health benefits, all three grades of matcha have similar base nutrient profiles; however, ceremonial matcha will have a higher caffeine and l-theanine content (good for energy and focus), while later harvest grades will actually have a slightly higher antioxidant catechin content. Learn more about matcha health benefits here. (insert link to health benefits page)

It is entirely up to your personal preference which grade of matcha you use for your own enjoyment (plenty of folks use culinary matcha for tea, while others won’t even bake cookies with anything less than ceremonial). Our grade designations are simply guidelines for what we think works best for each use case.