Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves. 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.
It is special in two aspects; farming and processing. The green tea plants for matcha are shade-grown for around three weeks before harvest, and when creating the highest quality matcha, only the finest tea buds are hand-picked. After harvesting, the leaves are steamed then laid out flat to dry (instead of being rolled up), to eventually become what's known as tencha (碾茶). Then, tencha will be de-veined, de-stemmed, and slowly stone-ground to the fine, bright green, and talc-like powder. This whole process 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.
While green tea is harvested in many regions throughout the world, Japan produces the highest quality matcha. 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.
Matcha Konomi Buying Guide
At Matcha Konomi, all of our matcha are from first harvest. We carry three main varieties that are available throughout the year, and multiple seasonal varieties available only to our subscribers and partner coffee shops given their limited quantities.
We do NOT carry any second/third harvest or "cullinary" matcha blends. We do NOT carry any type of matcha powder that we would not enjoy ourselves. All of our matcha is tested for safety.
Akira Matcha is our most popular matcha powder, and it is currently "Amazon's choice" for the "ceremonial matcha" category. It is an organic ceremonial grade matcha, and it is perfect for sipping as a tea or for creating unsweetened-to-lightly sweetened matcha lattes. Akira Matcha has a creamy, mild, and a pleasantly vegetal flavor. This Matcha does not need to be sifted, and can be easily whisked or shaken without leaving clumps.
Amaya Matcha is our non-organic variety, and it is also a ceremonial matcha powder from Uji, Kyoto. Amaya Matcha has a subtly sweet flavor that is full of character for a robust umami, impossible to put in words! With non-organic ceremonial matcha, there a potential of reaching a higher umami profile, a sweeter taste, and a more vibrant jade green color. Given that it is a non-organic matcha, we test it for pesticides contamination in Japan and we confirm results at FSNS labs in the United States as customer safety is our priority; NO pesticides detected above permitted levels. This Matcha needs to be sifted before it's used to prevent clumps.
Oishi Matcha is our organic gourmet matcha powder. This matcha was developed specifically for creating high-end food items and beverages made with multiple additional ingredients. Compared to "ceremonial matcha", Oishi Matcha will have a stronger green tea flavor that will be easier to surface when mixed with other ingredients. Compared to "culinary matcha", it is of higher quality (first harvest instead of second/third harvest), it will have a more appealing taste (significantly less astringent than "culinary matcha"), and it will give food items a more beautiful color (bright green instead of yellowish-green).
Buying Bulk and Storage
Matcha powder is a very delicate and sensitive product. Please do not leave an open bag of matcha powder on your kitchen counter – when exposed to elements such as heat, air, moisture, or light, matcha will lose its flavor, freshness, and color within days.
Unopened matcha bags will last about one year if kept in a cool and dark environment. After opening the bag, it should be used within two months.
The best way to keep your matcha fresh after opening is to store it tightly sealed in a cool, dark and dry place, ideally in your fridge. Make sure it’s always tightly sealed, not to get wet. We also recommend allowing it to come to room temperature before opening the container.
Another tip for the matcha bags is to transfer small amounts of your matcha powder to a smaller air tight container for daily use, store that smaller container in the fridge, and keep your large bag tightly sealed in the freezer for longer term storage. Freezing is an acceptable way to store matcha that you think you won't use for a while. Check out Handmade Japanese Washi Paper Tea Canisters here.