Before we get started, I would like to note that I have been drinking matcha almost every morning for the past year and a half. I am no expert, nor a master of matcha, but I do know a good one when I see it (taste it). I have noticed that a lot of people don’t really know what the different kinds you can find in the market. So let me make it easier for you:
What is Matcha? Is it Green tea?
Yes, it is green tea. Unlike the tea bags though, matcha is dissolved not steeped, because of its very fine powdery body who’s texture is achieved by grinding up the leaves of green tea.
The process is simple:
- Leaves are harvested
- Leaves are dried
- Once they have dried, they are put through an extensive process that ends up grinding the whole leaves into a magical powder if you ask me
Since the whole leaves are being used, the antioxidants are greater, and some benefits that come from green tea are only heightened.
Why drink matcha?
I can’t tell you why you should drink it, but I will say why I drink it. I was never a big coffee drinker but always found myself wanting an extra boost of energy. I remember reading an article about matcha and how it gives you so much energy with no crash and a more concentrated mind. This caught my attention and immediately started my search for the perfect brand. After a myriad of reviews, websites, recommendations, and late-night article readings. I decided to go for Encha’s ceremonial grade matcha, and ever since then, I swear by it. Although , I recently tried Vital proteins new matcha collagen and I must say I was pretty impressed. Those would be the top 2 matcha brands I’d go for.
What’s ceremonial grade? Are there different kinds?
Yes, there is CULINARY GRADE AND CEREMONIAL GRADE. Pretty self-explanatory, the culinary grade is mainly for cooking and baking, while ceremonial is to be enjoyed straight with only water, as tea. There are five different types in the culinary grade and vary depending on its purpose. Here’s the breakdown:
Purpose: This one is made to enjoy mostly on its own, whisked into boiling water and consumed straight. No added sweeteners or other ingredients
Flavor: Naturally sweet, mild flavor that is consumed by the addition of milk, sugar, or soy products. The subtlety of this high-quality tea is best when enjoyed pure, and is mixed only with hot water.
Color, smell & texture: Bright green, talc-like powder should smell fresh and a bit grassy. It shouldn’t feel coarse or gritty, and its hue should always be a bright green.
Usage: You’ll need about one half-teaspoon of ceremonial grade matcha for every cup (8 ounces) of hot water. Be sure to whisk your beverage thoroughly until frothy, and all the matcha has completely dissolved. Using this grade for cooking and baking is not recommended. (it’s like using a very expensive wine to make pasta sauce)
Here’s a video on how to make matcha appropriately:
- CULINARY GRADE MATCHA GREEN TEA POWDER
Purpose: This is the second main category of Matcha, and the name says it all. It is mainly used for baking and any other culinary use you might need it for.
Flavor: This has a more robust flavor than ceremonial grade matcha, the culinary grade is slightly less sweet, with more bitterness to it.
Color, smell & texture: This matcha should smell grassy and very fresh, with a soft & smooth texture to it – never gritty or coarse (like ceremonial). It may look less vibrant green than ceremonial grade, but it should still possess a noticeably bright green color.
Usage: You’ll need to use a bit more of this matcha green tea powder to make a drink. Mix one to two teaspoons of culinary grade matcha into every cup (8 ounces) of hot water. Most cooking and baking recipes will call for one to two tablespoons of the powder. You can also drink culinary grade matcha mixed with hot water; however it will taste best with a little added sweetener, milk, or soy products.
The 5 Types of Culinary Grade Matcha Powder
Culinary grade matcha powder can be broken down into five main sub-types: premium, café, ingredient, kitchen and classic.
1. Premium Grade
Premium grade matcha tea is ideal for everyday consumption. This could be a morning latte or an afternoon matcha smoothie. Compared to ceremonial grade matcha, premium grade has a very good quality at a slightly lower price. This makes it perfect for your everyday caffeine fix. Premium grade matcha has a very fine texture that breaks up easily in water. It is slightly less vibrant than ceremonial grade matcha, but don’t let that scare you – it’s just as tasty, with the same benefits.
2. Café Grade
Made with less delicate leaves than ceremonial and premium grade matchas, café grade matcha usually has an extremely strong flavor – perfect for cooking and baking. It’s one of the more expensive types of culinary matcha powder, which you can tell it apart from the other lower grades by its unique green color. It has a fine texture that blends well, whether it’s a cool green tea smoothie or warm matcha Latte.
3. Ingredient Grade
Ingredient grade matcha is an excellent choice for recipes that contain milk and other dairy products. It is mostly used to make green tea ice cream, matcha smoothies, or matcha lattés. It’s thick consistency, works well when added to sauces and desserts.
4. Kitchen Grade
Kitchen grade is one of the most economical brands and is made with less delicate leaves than the other grades. It has a strong astringent flavor that makes it perfect for large-scale brewing. Not really as fine as the other types of matcha powders. This kitchen grade matcha is darker in color and usually sold in larger quantities. I like this grade since it’s ideal for experimenting with new recipes.
5. Classic Grade
Classic grade has an excellent economic value. It’s one of the higher grades but usually, costs less than the other grades. Classic grade matcha has a strong and distinct flavor, which lends itself to many uses – and it is more widely available, this would be the one that is easiest to find.