Buyers guide to purchasing Matcha

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.

Harvesting Process

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.

Revealed: An Overview Of Matcha – 6 Things You Need To Know

Variously referred to as the mother of all green tea, Matcha is the oldest and most premium green tea variety in Japan. With a name that literally translates to ‘finely powdered tea’, this deeply alluring beverage has rich roots within Japanese tea drinking ceremonies and is made from young green tea leaves that are strictly harvested from certified organic plantations. With a mildly sweet flavor, bold color, and a green tingle with fluent polish and a refined body, most people are likely to find this tea to be purely delectable.

For over 800 years, Matcha green tea has been used by Zen Buddhist monks as a meditational drink. Its exquisiteness means that only a few dozen farmers across all of Japan have the knowledge required to produce it, with its tea leaves grown slowly in shaded tea plantations. Matcha’s fresh leaves are primarily handpicked, dried, and then ground by low friction granite stones to produce a jade green, ultra fine powder which is then whisked using a bamboo whisk. The result is a full-bloodied and creamy velvet cup of premium green tea which is rich in amino acids, antioxidants, and other nutrients. If you are curious about this trendy beverage, here are 6 things that you should know as follows:

1. A special type of green tea

Whenever you order a cup of traditional green tea, components from the leaves are infused into hot water before the leaves are then discarded. But with matcha, you get to drink the actual leaves that have been powdered and made into a solution- usually by mixing a teaspoon of the powder with a cup of hot water. This mixture is thereafter whisked using a bamboo brush until it froths.

2. Health benefits

Because this Japanese beverage is derived from high-quality tea with its leaves being ingested, this makes it a more potent source of nutrients in comparison to other varieties of green tea. Besides providing small amounts of minerals and vitamins, it is also rich in polyphenols (antioxidants tied to protection against cancer and heart disease as well as blood pressure reduction, better blood sugar regulation, and anti-aging). EGCG (another polyphenol in this drink) has also been shown to halt or slow the growth of cancer cells and boost metabolism.

3. Contains caffeine

Because you are consuming matcha’s whole leaves, you are likely to get double the amount of caffeine that would be found in a normal cup of brewed coffee. Aficionados of this beverage claim that in comparison to the buzz that one derives from coffee, this Japanese delicacy creates an ‘alert calm’ owing to the presence of I-theanine, which is known to induce relaxation devoid of drowsiness.

4. Traditionally synonymous with meditation

Matcha preparation has long been the focus of Japanese tea ceremonies, and it is often synonymous with Zen. This is, perhaps, one reason why this beverage has taken the world by storm with meditation becoming more and more mainstream. If preparing and sipping on this drink can be a way for you to slow down, and be in the moment, then its benefits are likely to extend far beyond the antioxidants it possesses as meditation, in whatever form, offers a myriad of rewards.

5. Concerns about lead contamination

Even organically grown teas have been found to contain lead, which is often absorbed by the plant from the environment, especially tea that is grown in China. When traditional green teas are steeped, almost all of the lead remains in the leaf, which is then discarded. With this powdered tea, since whole leaves are consumed, you are likely to ingest more lead- with independent groups estimating that just one cup of this powdered beverage may contain up to 30 times more lead than would be found in a cup of green tea. This explains why its recommended intake is one cup daily for adults, and none for children.

6. Incorporated with meals

Lately, this Japanese miracle has also taken on immense popularity with chefs, not just as a beverage, but as an ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes. If you look up its recipes online, you will find everything from puddings, brownies, and muffins to guacamole, stir frys, and soup. However, due to the aforementioned lead concerns, it is advisable to avoid ‘matcha madness’ because even with superfoods, you are likely to get too much of a good thing. Therefore, always look out for organic, pure, and quality forms of this drink, and enjoy it in moderation.