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 prior to extended meditation sessions. While other green teas are grown throughout the world, true authentic matcha is unique to Japan.


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 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


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 ground 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 grade matcha is ground from second harvest tea leaves, still providing beautiful color and rich, distinctive flavor to blended preparations including lattes, smoothies, baked goods, and other recipes.

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

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.



Matcha naturally contains beneficial antioxidants.


One antioxidant found in matcha, EGCG, has been shown to help support healthy metabolism.


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.


Matcha also contains fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins.