- What are the health benefits of matcha?
- How do I make matcha?
- How do I store matcha?
- How do you rate your matcha? Do you have any buying tips?
- Which matcha is the best?
- What should I be looking for when I taste my matcha to determine quality?
- What’s the difference between matcha and sencha green tea powder?
- What’s the difference between organic and non-organic matcha?
- Should I be worried about radiation in my matcha?
Matcha has 10 times the antioxidants of green tea (70 times that of Orange Juice), because you’re consuming the whole leaves versus soaking them in water.
Besides being packed with antioxidants, matcha also:
- Boosts metabolism
- Calms and relaxes
- Enhances mood and aids in concentration
- Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
- Does not raise insulin
Note: Some matcha shops are claiming matcha has “137 times the antioxidants of green tea”. This is a bit confusing and a far fetched claim, as the matcha shops are quoting that ratio from one study which compared one particular brand of matcha to Tazo China Green Tips Green Tea. While matcha has many health benefits, be skeptical of any outrageous claims such as this. To learn more, read the post on Green Tea Guide.
Making matcha is a much different process from steeping tea. First, you add a small amount (1/2 – 1 teaspoon) of powder to your bowl. Next, you pour in a small amount of hot water (158-185 degrees F). Do not add boiling water (let it sit for 3-5 minutes). Finally, whisk for 30 seconds – 1 minute (ideally with a Japanese bamboo whisk).
After opening, it’s best to store matcha in a airtight canister in the fridge. Keep it away from moisture and light.
Here at Matcha Reviews my goal is pretty simple: help matcha lovers like myself, as well those newly introduced to this unique form of green tea, find the “best matcha.” How exactly do I do that? See my personal Matcha Tasting Guide, which helps me write each matcha review I post here. I’ve also included some general guidelines for buying quality matcha (hint: where your matcha comes from is one of the most important factors in quality).
It depends on what you are looking for. Best quality? Best value? You can sort all my matcha reviews by rating, price and grade on the reviews page. I also do matcha showdowns periodically to compare the best matchas I’ve tried recently.
Some important factors impacting matcha quality are:
- Where the matcha comes from
- Quality of the tea leaves, process used to grind the matcha
- How much exposure the matcha has had to oxygen
- Price and grade (Culinary vs. Ceremonial)
I go into detail on each of these factors in the second part of the Matcha Reviews tasting guide.
Almost all the green tea powder sold online claims to be matcha. In reality, only a small amount of the green tea powder is actually matcha (most of which is from Japan). Matcha and sencha are both made from green tea leaves, but they go through a different process. Sencha is grown in in the full sun, while matcha is grown in the shade. Additionally, after being harvested, matcha leaves are deveined and have their stems removed. For sencha, after harvest, the whole leaves are ground (with the stems and veins).
Differences in Color and Taste
Matcha green tea powder is bright green, creamy in taste, with no pungent aftertaste. Sencha green tea powder is dark green, refreshing in taste, with an astringent aftertaste.
Differences in Health Benefits
Matcha has more caffeine and more L-theanine (a natural relaxant). This is because matcha is grown in the shade, giving less sun exposure for the tea leaves. More caffeine and L-theanine mean matcha is able to generate a steady balance of energy without the crash associated with coffee.
Sencha has more antioxidants (Catechin / EGCG) than Matcha. Catechins are what is believed to be responsible for green tea health benefits. Sencha green tea leaves get more sun exposure, which increases Catechins in the tea leaves.
Organic matcha is grown according to organic regulations, such as no herbicides or pesticides, using natural fertilizers, using natural pest control, and protecting the tea field from environmental contaminants. Because of the differences in processing and farming organic versus non-organic matcha, there are differences in taste. Conventional matcha has a more full-bodied flavor, while organic is lighter in flavor. Additionally, organic matcha is slightly lighter in color.
Matcha is a green tea powder made from grinding the whole tea leaves. You are consuming the whole leaves, not just brewing them like tea. This is part of what gives matcha so many more health benefits than green tea. But this means that matcha drinkers should be extra cautious when it comes to radiation. As a general rule of thumb, you can be more confident that your matcha doesn’t have radiation the further you go from Fukushima region. Luckily, the main growing regions of matcha in Japan are Uji (Kyoto Prefecture) and Nishio (Aichi Prefecture). Both of these are far west of Fukushima.