Matcha green tea has become a popular alternative to traditional tea due to its antioxidant properties such as high energy level, enhances your mood and promotes your general health. Unlike traditional tea, matcha comes in form of a powder that contains a profile of nutrients. There are different grades of matcha tea powder and they’re determined by processing method, quality of the appearance and ingredients used.
Although this tea was first discovered in China, it’s widely produced in Japan. The bushes are covered with tarps or mats to protect the leaves from being exposed to direct sunlight. This is done before plucking the leaves in order to increase the chlorophyll in the plants. This is what makes the powder achieve dark green colour. Covering the bushed also makes the leaves more tender and increase the level of amino acids.
The leaves are then plucked and dried. The next step is to de-stem and de-vein the leaves in order to create Tencha, which is separated by grade. Different grades of matcha are determined by location that the leaves are plucked from the bush. The leaves plucked from the top of the bush are very soft and tender compared to the ones plucked from the bottom. The top leaves make the tea sweeter, finer and great taste.
Another factor that determines the grade of the tea is the duration of exposure to sunlight. The longer the duration the lower the quality get. Also the season the leaves are harvested can determine the grade. The leaves that are harvested early in the year produced higher grade. Finally, the way the tea is processed will determine its grade. The higher grade is processed by hand as compared with tea that is produced mechanically.
Taste of the Green Tea
Matcha is known to have different tastes. Its can be vegetal, strong, earthy and sweet. The taste is determined by the processing the method. Since the tea is rich in amino acids and chlorophyll, the process of exposing leaves to sunlight and shading them, will determine the flavour.
Colour of Matcha Powder
If you’re looking for high quality tea, go for the one that is vibrant green. The greener matcha tea is due to overproduced chlorophyll. The lower quality tea is processed from leaves that were not properly shaded or were older or maybe they were harvested from the bottom of the bush and the colour tends to be brownish/yellowish in hue.
Texture and Feel of Matcha Powder
High quality matcha tea powder is finer than a traditional leaf tea. Its feel and texture will clearly reveal the quality of the tea. When you’re for high quality tea, look for the one that is fine and silky, with a size of between 5 and 10 microns. The lower quality grade will have coarser feel due to bigger particle size when you rub between your fingers.
Price of Matcha
The price of matcha is determined by the quality of the tea, just like many things in life. That means the price of this tea can vary. You will find 30g of ceremonial-grade costing between $26 and 32. The lower quality tea is much cheaper since you can find 100g going for $15.
Origin of Tea Leaf
Take some time to check the origin of the tea. The best quality matcha come from Japan. There are two famous regions in Japan that are known to produce quality tea, which are Nishio and Uji cities and account for more than 70% of Japan tea. China and Taiwan also produce this type of tea, but Japan still remains the favorite.
Some of the Matcha tea grades include;
- Ceremonial grade – This is the highest grade. It’s quite common in Japan and also used in Buddhist temples and major tea schools in Japan. This grade is specifically blended and served to everyone during the tea ceremony.
- Premium grade – It’s used as an everyday beverage. This tea is great and easier to find in many food store and online store.
- Ingredient grade – This is a much cheaper tea that is commonly added to beverages and foods.
Apart from the 3 grades mentioned above, there are two common types of matches, which are usucha and koicha. Koicha has a sweet flavor, mellower and is mixed little water that makes thicker. Usucha is a lower grade, less sweeter and needs more water to make frothier.
How to buy Matcha?
Make sure the tea was produced and processed in Japan. Look at the color, and buy the greener one if want the best quality. The powder that has been stone-ground is better than the one that was mechanically produced. Stone-ground tea retains the health properties in matcha tea.
Looking for high quality Matcha? Be sure to check out Matcha Power Singapore (www.matchapowdersingapore.com) for a range of Matcha Powder that will fit your needs.