25 Frequently Asked Questions about Matcha!

FAQ

1- What is matcha? What is the difference between matcha and green tea?

Matcha is a type of green tea; it is a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves (watch how we make our matcha in the video below). Matcha is considered a more powerful version of regularly brewed green tea; instead of steeping and removing the tea bag, one would be consuming the entire tea leaf that was ground up into fine powder. Matcha is the favorite of centuries-old Japanese tea ceremonies, and its pleasant taste and health benefits make it a favorite of many tea-lovers today. Matcha powder is whisked in a bowl with hot water to create a frothy, bright green, and nourishing beverage.

2- What makes Japanese matcha different?

While green tea is harvested in many regions throughout the world, Japan produces the highest quality matcha. China has introduced tea to Japan in the 7th century, but since then, a unique tea culture has evolved and lead to matcha. Also, Japan has one of the strictest farming regulations in the world.

3- What are the health benefits of matcha?

Matcha is believed to have many benefits, such as being a rich source of antioxidants, a metabolism booster, and having the ability to increase endurance and promoting focus. Please check this article for more details and for research behind those presumed benefits.

4- What is the difference between "ceremonial" and "culinary" matcha?

In general, matcha graded as "culinary" is a more affordable version of matcha powder. It is of lower quality (dull color, unpleasant aroma and flavor, etc.) and the cost of its production is low, hence the cheap price. On the other hand, matcha graded as "ceremonial" is of higher quality (jade green color, richer aroma, pleasant flavor, etc.). Watch this video to learn more.

5- What is the difference between thin (usucha) matcha tea and thick (koicha) matcha tea?

Thin (usucha) matcha is when tea is brewed with more water and less powder, and it is the most common method of preparing matcha. The vigorous whisking at the end will give usucha matcha the popular frothy layer.With thick (koicha) matcha, the rich viscosity is created by gently massaging the tea with the bamboo whisk and slowly pouring in the water until the desired thickness is reached. Thick tea is prepared with approximately three times the amount of powder as the much more popular thin tea. Watch this video for a demonstration.

6- Why certain types of matcha are more expensive than others?

Why is matcha expensive? Producing high-quality matcha is truly an art! It is a labor intensive process that is influenced by many factors. Food grade, or culinary matcha, is relatively inexpensive. The price goes up when choosing high-grade matcha powders that are appropriate for tea ceremonies. This video explains why sometimes ceremonial matcha can be very expensive. 

7- What does matcha taste like?

This greatly depends on the quality of the matcha you are drinking. With excellent quality matcha, you should expect vegetal grassy notes, subtle sweet nuttiness, and pleasant bitter undertones if any. When matcha is prepared right, using the proper grade, it will have an irresistible flavor. 

8- What is the best matcha powder?

There are many brands and different types of matcha green tea; how do I choose the right matcha powder?  This is an extremely important question as there many online and in-store brands to choose from. To truly enjoy matcha, you need to be able to identify excellent quality. Details to pay attention to when making your selection are price range, packaging, origin, color, odor, and finish. Please read this article or watch this video for more details on this topic. 

9- Are there safety concerns with matcha?

Is matcha safe? While it is reassuring to know if your matcha is organically farmed and free of pesticides, it is also important to make sure that the matcha you are consuming is free of pesticides and lead contamination. At Matcha Konomi, we test our matcha to confirm absence of radiation or lead contamination, and the results are available to the public. Click here to view results.

10- Is organic matcha better?

Organic matcha is not necessarily better than conventional matcha. In fact, with non-organic ceremonial matcha, there is a potential of reaching a higher umami profile, a sweeter taste, and a more vibrant jade green color. The reason for that is that the most robust and the sweetest tasting leaves will attract more bugs, and it impossible for them to survive without the application of pesticides which is strictly regulated in Japan. Given that it is a non-organic matcha, we test it for pesticides contamination as customer safety is our priority; NO pesticides detected above permitted levels. Our non-organic (conventional) ceremonial matcha variety is called Amaya Matcha.

11- What accessories do you use with matcha?

While it is advised that you use a traditional bamboo matcha whisk, we have made a video to show how you could enjoy matcha at home in a number of other methods for those who do not have a traditional whisk.

12 - How do you prepare matcha?

watch video

13- How do you prepare matcha latte?

14- Why does my matcha taste bitter?

Matcha will taste bitter if it was of a low quality or when using boiling water to prepare the matcha. Excellent quality matcha must not taste bitter, however, do not confuse bitterness with strong green tea flavor. Matcha with strong green tea flavor is preferred when you are mixing the powder with multiple additional ingredients that could overwhelm the flavor of matcha (like in sweetened lattes, smoothies, baking, desserts, etc.). Oishi Matcha is a variety we carry that has a strong green tea flavor, and it is perfect when creating any of the above. On the other hand, if you are drinking matcha as an unsweetened latte or as a tea with water only, then choose one of our ceremonial varieties. Learn more about our different matcha varieties by clicking here.

15- Why doesn’t my matcha froth well?

This could be due to not whisking the matcha thoroughly, or due to not using enough matcha powder for the amount of water. Whisking properly to create a beautiful froth might need some practice, so don't get disappointed at the beginning! 

16- Why do I have clumps when drinking my matcha?

Some matcha tea varieties will need to be sifted before preparation, and that should prevent clumps from forming. Please note that our Akira Matcha and Oishi Matcha do not need any sifting if you are whisking them properly. 

17- Will the water temperature affect my matcha taste?

If the water is too hot, it will alter the overall flavor and aftertaste of matcha, and the tea could loose its umami. The optimal temperature in winter is 160-170°F.

18- How much matcha is in a single serving?

The typical serving size is 1/2 teaspoon, which is approximately 1g. Many people find themselves enjoying more than 1/2 teaspoon, but we always recommend starting with the normal serving size to make sure you tolerate and enjoy matcha. 

19- How much caffeine is there in matcha?

Matcha has significantly less caffeine than coffee (around 34mg per serving of matcha compared to 90-200mg per serving of regular coffee), but the caffeine in matcha is believed to be slowly absorbed into the body producing long lasting energy (up to 4-6 hours) with less likelihood of jitters.

20- How long will matcha tea last? Does matcha go bad?

Matcha should be consumed within 12-14 months from grinding, assuming it was properly stored in a cool and dark environment, away from heat, light, and humidity. Once package is opened, it should be consumed within 1-2 months, and continued to be stored properly (preferably by refrigeration).

21- How do you properly store matcha tea?

You must be careful with how you store your matcha since it loses its color and quality quickly when exposed to any of the elements; matcha green tea is very sensitive to heat, humidity, and light. As we said previously, once the package is opened, matcha should should be consumed within 1-2 months. After opening your matcha, please close the lid or bag tight after each use and keep it in a refrigerator. If you move it to a different container, avoid glass jars that would let the light in. Please note that if you do not seal your matcha container, the flavor may be influenced by what you have in your fridge!If matcha has to be kept for a long time, it may be stored in a freezer. To prevent frozen matcha from becoming wet when exposed to air it should be thawed up to room temperature before the package is opened.  The same for your refrigerated matcha. Ideally, it should be returned to room temperature before being opened for use.

22- What is the benefit of L-theanine in matcha?

Matcha is also rich in the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine is believed to promote alpha waves in the brain[1], and possibly raise the levels of Dopamine, Serotonin and GABA[2], and those are neurotransmitters that play a very important role in determining mood and mental state. This is the reason why L-theanine is believed to have the ability to reduce stress[3], boost mood, and get you closer to that sense of cognitive synergy. The combined effect of L-theanine and caffeine is believed to be responsible for what is called the "calming focus" that is often described by matcha drinkers.[4]

23- How is matcha harvested and processed?

Creating matcha is a delicate art and labor intensive process, and the quality of the final powder is greatly influenced by the soil, the climate, and the farmers. We have created a beautiful video to show you the process from shading to stone grinding. 

Steps of creating matcha
  • Shading the tea leaves 3 weeks before harvest
  • For the highest quality matcha, the leaves will be hand picked
  • Steaming to stop the oxidation after harvesting
  • Air drying where the steamed leaves are quickly cooled by a strong blast of air that blows them almost 20 feet into the air.
  • Oven drying
  • De-stemming and de-veining, and removing the old leaves, forming what is called now "Tencha" (碾茶).
  • Stone grinding that will produce around 30-40g per hour.

24- What is the difference between sencha and matcha?

Sencha and matcha are derived from the same plant (camellia sinensis), but there are many differences. Unlike matcha, sencha is a loose leaf tea, it is produced from leaves that were not shade grown prior to harvest, and sencha leaves are rolled after drying instead of being destemmed and deveined like matcha.

25- What is the difference between konacha and matcha?

Matcha tea is ground using granite stone grinders, while konacha is made up of the dust and bits of leaves and buds that are left behind after the processing of sencha.

Thank you!

Thank you for reading this article. If you have any other questions about matcha, please write them in the comment section and we will be happy to answer them!

Disclosure: The statements mentioned above have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

8 comments

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