How to Tell If Your Matcha Is High Quality
Since matcha powder is still relatively new in western countries, it can be challenging to know whether the products you find in stores or online actually contain high-quality matcha. Matcha found in grocery stores will more than likely be very different from Japanese matcha powder available at specialty tea stores and vendors like Matcha Outlet.
Another thing to keep in mind when purchasing matcha, either for personal use or wholesale for your business, is that there are different grades of matcha for different uses. The two primary grades of matcha are ceremonial grade matcha and culinary grade matcha. The grades are determined by when the leaves are harvested and how they are processed for consumption.
Learning which brands sell high-quality matcha will take trial and error unless you can get free samples before purchasing. So, what are the different ways you can tell if your matcha is high quality?
When purchasing matcha, one of the most significant indicators of quality is the cost. While prices can vary greatly depending on the quantity and the grade of the matcha you are buying, the price should not be considerably lower than others on the market. Cultivating and harvesting high-quality matcha is a laborious process that only occurs during particular times of the year. For the farmers and laborers creating the perfect matcha to be adequately compensated, the best matcha powder will not be at the lowest overall price.
Once you open the package or container, put it to your nose and give it a slow, deep inhale. Ceremonial-grade matcha should smell fresh, slightly sweet, and possibly similar to leafy green veggies or grass. This aroma is due to the green tea plants used for making matcha being purposely grown in the shade to promote the production of chlorophyll and L-theanine, an amino acid that is great for focus and brain functioning.
Some matcha smells stale, similar to dry hay, and can even smell a bit fishy. This is a sign that it’s lower quality and/or was not appropriately sealed. Because matcha is a very fine powder, it is prone to oxidation, which can affect its smell and taste, if it is not stored correctly.
The color of matcha powder varies depending on when it was harvested. Ceremonial-grade matcha is made from the first harvest and tends to be deep jade in color. The leaves used in this grade of matcha come from younger sprouts that have been shaded for over three weeks with all of the stems and veins removed.
The younger leaves give traditional Japanese matcha powder the ideal smooth and subtle flavor that is meant to be enjoyed by whisking into hot water.
Premium grade matcha is typically from the second harvest, giving this powder a bolder and slightly more bitter flavor than ceremonial grade matcha. Because the leaves for this harvest are exposed to the sun for a bit longer, the powder is closer to a lime-green color.
Culinary-grade matcha is harvested during the second and third harvests. This matcha powder is the most yellow of the three. It has more bitterness, which is excellent for cooking and baking as it will blend well with other flavors and ingredients without overpowering them.
Suppose the packaging claims to contain high-quality organic matcha powder but has a very yellow or even brownish color. In that case, there’s a strong chance the level of quality is not as advertised. There is also a possibility that the powder was not correctly sealed, allowing oxidation which can alter the matcha's natural properties.
The leaves used to make the highest quality matcha powder should have all stems and veins removed prior to the grinding process. This ensures that the powder is as fine as possible for a perfectly smooth tea or latte. A quality organic matcha powder should be able to mix well into water or milk without much effort.
A high-quality matcha powder should have a silky consistency similar to that of baby powder. If you pour a little bit of the powder onto a sheet of white paper and drag your finger through it, it should leave a clean, long line with few to no breaks. If the powder does not feel silky and the line has many breaks, it is likely the stems and veins were not removed before the grinding process. This type of matcha should not be used for drinks like teas or lattes, as it will likely not dissolve well in the liquid.
As previously mentioned, when matcha powder is not adequately stored, it will oxidize and go bad quickly, no matter the level of quality. To ensure the best taste, use your matcha powder within a month after opening. However, if you don’t drink matcha every day or are going on vacation, store it in an airtight container and place it in the fridge. It will last longer while still retaining its quality.
Matcha Outlet Is a Vendor You Can Trust
At Matcha Outlet, we offer a variety of matcha products, including standard or certified organically grown. Additionally, we want to ensure that any matcha you buy from us is safe, high quality, and enjoyable. That is why the matcha powder we offer has been tested for radiation, pollution, heavy metal contamination, and salmonella prior to packaging for sale. All of our certifications and test results are available upon request.
If you’re looking for matcha to use in your bakery, café, or restaurant, we also offer matcha or drink powder wholesale. In addition, wholesale customers can request free samples of any matcha or drink powder to try before purchasing. With free shipping to the contiguous 48 states, Matcha Outlet can deliver our delicious matcha and drink powders right to your door.