Recently I acquired a great deal of matcha powder and with that came a lot of research and acquired knowledge on how to tell the difference between low quality and high quality matcha, a lot of recipe searches on how to utilize its distinctive flavor and even a few hydrating face mask recipes..
So why all the matcha? My fiancé works for a health, beauty & wellness company and recently they decided to up their matcha game, so we have an abundance of matcha samples from growers all over Asia. Needless to say, we have been doing a lot of taste tests and have adopted some helpful tips about this lovely and beneficial green powder.
So how can you tell if your matcha grade is high quality? Heres a couple of tips for your next tea time.
Lets start with color, high quality matcha is a vibrant shade of green, lower grades will appear almost muddy looking, more on the brownish-green side. This is a result of the amount of shade that it was grown in, matcha that is grown in the shade produces more chlorophyll which in turn gives the tea plants their lovely rich green hue.
The second indicator is texture. It may sound crazy but there was a huge difference with the feel of each matcha power. The lower grades felt coarse and rough but the higher grades, especially some of the ceremonial grades, felt smooth, fine and silky.
Smell. A high quality matcha will have an earthy, sweet aroma. If you go to give your matcha a sniff and you smell nothing, then chances are you got yourself a low quality matcha. Once again, this is all due to the shade growing process. The more exposed the tea plants are to the sun, the more the matcha’s amino acids are depleted and converted into catechins. Once this happens, the natural pleasant aroma dies off.
The taste test. A high quality matcha will have a natural sweetness to it. Why are some sweet and some are not you ask? It’s all due to the environment that its grown in, the more shade, the more sweetness. No shade for you!? Then your matcha will most likely have a bitter flavor profile.
Whisky business. My last tip for identifying good matcha is to do a whisk test. Measure out 1 tsp of water to 8 oz of water in a bowl and whisk vigorously. A good quality matcha will start bubbling and foaming up and will maintain that foamy layer for longer periods of time. The longer your bubbles last, the better. No bubbles in your bowl? or they dissolve a few seconds after you stopped whisking? Then unfortunately that means your matcha just isn’t up to par.