5 Ways to Tell if You're Consuming Good Quality Matcha
The green tea plant, called the camilia sinsnus, is like a sponge and heavily absorbs whatever is in its environment. This, coupled with the fact that with matcha you are consuming the tea by actually ingesting the whole leaf, it is extremely important that you are drinking good quality matcha. So, how do you know if you're consuming the best quality matcha? Here are 5 ways you can tell:
This is the easiest way to tell the difference between good and bad matcha. The rule is simple: the greener your matcha, the better it is. Not to mention bright green smoothies and cookies look awesome (see for yourself on our recipe page)! In order to get this bright green colour, matcha needs to be grown in the shade to produce more chlorophyll & antioxidant content. This is what gives it its nice bright green colour.
In contrast, lower quality matcha will be darker green and sometimes even yellow. You should always seal your matcha after use to ensure oxidisation does not occur as this will darken the colour of your matcha and negatively affect the taste and quality.
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!
Loose leaf green tea has a bitter taste. This is the same with most matcha products and many will have added sugar or artificial sweeteners to hide the bitterness. The best quality matcha will have a smooth, sweet and non-bitter taste without requiring any additives to mask the taste. It has all the good flavour from green tea without any of the bad. Even the kids will love it!
It's easy to tell good matcha from bad matcha once you've opened the packet. However, unless you're able to try the matcha before you purchase, you will probably have nothing but the information on the packaging to go by. In this case you should always pick the "ceremonial" grade organic matcha. There are lower grades of matcha, such as culinary grade, that are much cheaper and clumpy. These are great for saving money when cooking in large quantities but the ceremonial grade will always taste better. If the packaging does not mention the grade, it is most likely a lower grade and should be much cheaper.
The best matcha needs no additives. It is made from harvested baby tencha leaves that are naturally sweeter and have a mellow fruity flavour. The tencha leaves should be grown in the shade to increase their chlorophyll and antioxidant content before they go through a rigorous process of refinement to ensure only the best and tastiest matcha is produced. It should be 100% organic and tested for heavy metals and radiation. You can learn more about how Matcha Ninja is sourced here.