Matcha Quality – How to Identify Good vs Bad Matcha

Matcha Quality

Matcha is quite popular due to its natural benefits. Many people drink it daily, but they don’t know how to identify the quality of matcha green tea.

Basically, it is not as difficult as we think. I will share the best tips with you to easily understand the difference between good and bad quality matcha.

So, all the below points will help you identify the difference between good and bad quality matcha. These points not only help you to understand the difference but also explain how matcha tea is prepared from tea plants.

Before going deep into this, I want to share some basic details.

As you know, generally, people define matcha in 3 grades: ceremonial, premium, and culinary grade. But in my opinion, it’s not the best way to define quality. Also, there is no standard definition to divide matcha into the above 3 grades. Because what you understand from these terms, ceremonial and premium grade, is high quality, whereas culinary or cooking grade is known as low quality matcha, right?

But actually, if the person packs the low or standard quality and labels it as ceremonial grade, you understand. Nothing right?

So, you should have some basic knowledge about matcha. Here are some easy ways to identify the quality of matcha. These tips will definitely help you choose the right quality matcha at the right price.

9 Ways to Identify the Quality of Matcha Tea

1. Color

Matcha Color

Original matcha is always vibrant green in color. If the matcha color is yellowish or brownish, that indicates poor quality matcha. It means the plant is not properly shaded from direct sunlight for 3 weeks before harvesting. Hence, the leaves have very low chlorophyll, which makes the end matcha powder yellowish and brownish in color.

2. Texture

By touching matcha powder, you can easily judge the texture. if it is very smooth and silky. That means it is very well grounded in a stone grounding machine that produces very thin matcha powder, about 10 microns. If the powder is rough, it means it is not real matcha. It also doesn’t dissolve easily in water.

3. Smell of Matcha

Authentic, high-quality matcha always smells sweet. because it is produced from fresh first flush hand-picked quality tea leaves. which is genuinely very sweet in its taste itself.

4. Taste of Matcha

Matcha tastes play a major role in identifying the quality of matcha. Good quality matcha is always sweet, creamy and has a vegetal taste. Poor quality matcha has a bitter taste and produces very little froth in water.

Tip: Good quality matcha foam takes a long time to disappear, about 30 minutes, whereas low-quality matcha foam disappears in 5-10 minutes.

5. Shading

Proper shading of matcha tea plants before harvesting for 3 weeks is very necessary. because it gives vibrant green, chlorophyll-rich tea leaves. This process also produces L-theanine and amino acids. which helps to prevent diseases like cancer.

6. Raw form of Matcha (Tencha)

Tencha Leaves

Tea leaves are plucked from shaded green tea plants. They are steamed and then carefully removed from all veins. These high quality leaves are called Tencha, which are finally used to produce a fine, vibrant green color powder called Matcha.

7. Stone Ground

Grounding is one of the most important steps in producing high quality matcha. A single granite mill produces 30gm of fine matcha powder in 1 hour of rotation, and the powder is approx 10 microns thin.

8. Organic

Make sure you buy organic matcha from Japan. Basically, the farm where the tea plants are grown should be organic and not have any pesticides used. If your matcha is not organic, it’s OK, but you should have the test report. It really helps to understand that all the nutrients are in the range and there are no harmful ingredients in the matcha.

9. Origin - Source (Japan vs China)

High quality matcha always comes from Japan, not from China. While China is the founder of this tea, It was founded by Zen monks in the 18th century.

Japan produces high quality matcha because of less pollution and strict farming rules, regulations, and processes than China.

Conclusion

In this article, I have explained how to identify low quality matcha, in other words, culinary grade or cooking grade matcha, and last, which is not matcha at all. Now you can easily differentiate various matcha qualities.

Do let me know if you have any further queries in the comment box.

Share your thoughts with us. Does this guide really help you to pick good quality matcha?

One reply on “Matcha Quality – How to Identify Good vs Bad Matcha

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    Freja Hammer

    This means you know that the stems and veins have been removed from the tea leaf and that you are consuming the best quality. In fact, the matcha particles should be around 5 microns in size, similar to baby powder. Compare that to a strand of human hair which is around 75 microns thick and you get the idea of how fine good quality matcha really is. It should be cold and warm water soluble and should dissolve without clumps in a water bottle after shaking for around 15 seconds. When the matcha is this fine you know that the stems and veins have been removed and that you are drinking the best part of the tench (green tea) leaf. Lower quality matcha needs to be whisked in a bowl to remove clumps before it can be consumed and this prevents most people from getting their matcha goodness on the go. No one wants to be whisking their matcha at the gym or work!

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