What is Matcha

WHAT IS MATCHA

Matcha is the most premium variety of shade-grown Japanese green tea leaves that are ground into a fine powder. For centuries, monks have enjoyed matcha to support well-being and concentration during meditation. While other green teas are grown throughout the world, true authentic matcha is unique to Japan.

HISTORY OF MATCHA

Matcha as we know it is very much a Japanese phenomenon, where it has played an integral role in their culture since the 12th century, and tea masters have perfected the art of its cultivation and craft. Its history stretches back even further, however.

As far back as the 8th century, Zen monks in China were the first to develop the process of pulverizing green tea leaves (which had first been steamed, then dried, then packed into tight molds for easy portability). Around the year 1190, a Japanese Buddhist monk named Eisai Myoan visited China and fell in love with this unique manner of enjoying tea, and was the first to bring matcha back to Japan.

Matcha History 1
Matcha History 2

Very quickly, matcha spread throughout Zen monasteries in Japan, once monks found that it kept them awake and alert during long periods of meditation, in addition to having valuable medicinal properties.

As the centuries progressed, interest in matcha in China waned, slowly replaced by other forms of Chinese tea that grew more popular.

In Japan, however, matcha became a cultural focal point through a very formal ceremony known as “chado”, as well as a staple part of their diet. The expert cultivation and traditional methods of shade growing and stone grinding were perfected by Japanese tea masters and passed down through generations.

Today, the popularity of matcha has never been greater or more widespread as the world has finally taken note of this Japanese treasure.

HOW MATCHA IS MADE

How matcha is made 1 1

Green tea plants are shaded weeks before harvest to boost nutrient production

How matcha is made 2 2

In the spring and summer, leaves are selectively picked depending on grade

How matcha is made 3 3

Immediate steaming & drying after harvest preserve flavor and nutrients

How matcha is made 4 4

Leaves are de-stemmed and de-veined to improve texture and taste

How matcha is made 5 5

Stone grinding slowly and gently pulverizes leaves into a fine powder

How matcha is made 6 6

The finished matcha is packaged into specialized tins or pouches to maintain freshness

MATCHA GRADES

First, a disclaimer: 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 accurate grading and fair pricing for the quality you recieve.
Matcha Grade 1 Matcha Grade 1 Matcha Grade 1 Matcha Grade 4
In general, there are three main categories of matcha: ceremonial, culinary, and ingredient.

Ceremonial grades are from 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 should be from second harvest tea leaves, and possess a richer flavor meant for blending into things like lattes, smoothies, and baked goods.

Ingredient grades are from later harvest tea leaves, and exhibit a pronounced green tea bitter note, as well as appearing more pale in color. Still rich in antioxidants, these grades are best used as an ingredient in smoothies or commercially produced foods.

As far as health benefits, all three categories of matcha have similar base nutrient profiles; however ceremonial grades will have higher caffeine and l-theanine content (good for energy and focus), while culinary and ingredient grades will actually have a slightly higher antioxidant catechin content.

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.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF MATCHA

RICH IN
ANTIOXIDANTS

Matcha is one of the most concentrated sources of antioxidants on the planet. These compounds help fend off free radicals, the molecules that nutritionists believe are responsible for accelerated aging, tissue damage, and inflammatory issues.

SUPPORTS METABOLISM

One antioxidant found in matcha, EGCG, has been shown to help support metabolism and aid in weight loss.

CALM ENERGY
SOURCE

The unique combination of caffeine and l-theanine in matcha provides a calm yet alert feeling. Unlike the jittery buzz of coffee, many report feeling a better sense of focus.

OTHER BENEFICIAL NUTRIENTS

Matcha is also rich in fiber, chlorophyll, and vitamins.