a cup of Matcha latte

7 Matcha Green Teas For a Proper Japanese Tea Ceremony

Matcha tea is steeped in Japanese history, culture, and tradition.

Way of Tea

Centuries ago, Zen Buddhists in Japan made a discovery. They found that the way to inner harmony and spiritual awakening lies through the cup of tea. Not just any tea, though. Their preferred variety was, and continues to be, matcha, the tea used in traditional tea ceremonies. Harmony, respect, purity, tranquility are the principles of the Japanese tea ceremony, “way of tea”.

What is Matcha?

It’s a special, chlorophyll-rich green tea with a long list of health benefits. To begin with, the way we consume matcha tea is unique. Matcha consists of finely powdered green tea leaves, which are dissolved in water when preparing the tea. What this means is that all the nutrients and minerals are actually delivered to your body instead of being thrown out once you’ve steeped your tea.

Speaking of nutrients and minerals…

Matcha is extremely rich in antioxidants, leaving even pomegranates and blueberries far behind. The tea antioxidants themselves belong to a special type – catechins, that are especially effective in tracking down free radicals from the body. In the holistic community, matcha tea is known to speed up metabolism and fat burning rates, reduce stress, and boost mental concentration with L-theanine. It also gets you a healthy dose of vitamin C.

Why is Matcha so special?

It’s a known fact that all Japanese teas – Sencha, Genmaicha, Hojicha – are rare and valuable. The key to Matcha’s unique properties lies in the way it is cultivated. Premium Japanese Matcha teas are made of Gyokuro tea leaves grown in the shade, covered with straw mats. This slows the growth of the tea plants, thus increasing their levels of chlorophyll. Hence the color – the most beautiful shade of green. The slow growth of the tea leaves also allows them to accumulate more antioxidants, amino acids, and flavor. 

Is Matcha good for your skin?

Being a powdered tea that you consume entirely, Matcha packs quite a punch in terms of the antioxidants it delivers to your body. In fact, the antioxidant level in a serving of matcha tea could be over a hundred times higher than in an average cup of green tea. In addition to antioxidants, the tea is also higher in its vitamin A, C, K, and B-complex content. Together, these compounds can work wonders for your skin. They get rid of free radicals that tend to speed up aging and reduce acne-producing sebum and bacteria. In the long term, they also provide UV protection and reduce the risk of skin cancer. In fact, matcha tea is so good for your skin that it’s actually used in face masks!

Grades of Matcha

Did you know that it isn’t just premium matcha teas that deserve a special place on your kitchen shelf? Lower-grade Matcha teas work great as additives in baked goodies, smoothies, ice-creams, and so on.

matcha green tea cake

Different retailers might use their own classifications of matcha products. However, there are only three traditional grades:

  • Ceremonial grade
  • Classic, Café, “In-between” grade
  • Cooking or Kitchen grade

You pay for brighter emerald color, finer powder, and delicately sweet taste with a slightly astringent finish. Only the youngest and most tender leaves are used for high-grade matcha. At approximately half or a third of the price, you would get a lower grade green tea powder, which is a little more bitter, but actually has a stronger flavor. It will work better for cooking, baking, and making smoothies, not to mention it is more economical for that purpose. Culinary grade matcha would still make a great cup of tea, and it would be perfectly appropriate to mix it with some milk and a bit of sugar. The difference in nutritional value between the grades is really insignificant.

Tea tips: how to make matcha

Special tea calls for special handling. Never pair matcha tea with boiling water; it can lead to an unpleasant ‘grassy’ taste. Instead, give the boiling water about 5 minutes to cool down before dissolving the powdered tea in it. First, add just a few drops of water to the teaspoon of matcha and mix it into a paste. Then, add more water to the cup.

And just like that, your matcha is ready for you to savor…

Where to buy the best Matcha tea online?

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Uji Matcha

Fine powder made by grinding shade-grown Gyokuro tea leaves. To prepare, place one teaspoon of tea powder in a bowl, add a few drops of hot (160-180F) water, and whisk into a paste. Then add more water and stir to produce a dark green liquor with bright foam. The resulting cup is sweet and vegetal, with hints of grass and a creamy finish. Our Masters-grade Matcha hai..

Matcha Grade A

Organic grade A matcha that provides a rich, complex taste and a boost of calm energy for the day. This Chinese matcha is made from fresh leaves and stone-ground into a powder for a frothy, creamy, and smooth finish when prepared. Delicious any time of day!

Matcha Powder

An invigorating stone-ground green tea powder. This green tea is made from tea leaves that have been stone-ground into a powder, providing a strong, stimulating flavor when brewed.

Organic Matcha Green Tea Ceremonial Grade

The shubei tea species of organic high-grade matcha originate from Japan and then cultivated in Hangzhou city, China. As one of the varieties specialized in producing matcha in Japan, it has the following two advantages:

1. The leaves are tender in dark green color, containing higher chlorophyll content.

2. Lower caffeine content and subtler bitterness, which give matcha better taste.

Matchasticks & Matcha Shaker Bundle

Shake up your matcha routine. We've removed the need for a ceremonial matcha bowl and whisk with the Art of Tea Matcha Shaker Bottle and Matchasticks. Simply add a MatchaStick and freshly-drawn water* to the bottle, seal the lid, and shake. The shaker bottle lid features a fine mesh screen that helps aerate the matcha, creating perfectly frothy matcha every time.

Organic Powdered Matcha Green Tea, Liquid Jade

Grown in Uji, which is regarded as the center of Matcha production. Matcha, has a rich history and a special spiritual significance. It has traditionally been prepared in 'Chanoyu', the Japanese Tea Ceremony, and it said to help bring about mental concentration, emotional stability and composure.

Organic Ceremonial Japanese Green Tea Powder

Our top grade of organic matcha is made from the first springtime harvest of tencha, savored for its umami sweetness, creamy taste and enlivening energy. Prepare Teahouse Matcha in the traditional, ceremonial manner called Cha No Yu using a tea bowl and a bamboo tea whisk.

Matcha Tea Powder Organic, Fair Trade

Our Organic Matcha Fair Trade Tea is a culinary grade matcha. Culinary grade matcha is a very high quality tea, with a slightly different flavor profile than ceremonial grade matcha. Culinary grade matcha isn’t necessarily a lower quality product than ceremonial grade matcha either, it’s just prepared differently for a different use – and it features different characteristics. It has a more robust flavor than ceremonial grade matcha, is slightly less sweet, with more bitter notes.

More tea, please!