Although matcha is rapidly gaining popularity in the western world, many customers remain largely unacquainted with the tea’s rich history and uses. At Ikeda Tea World, we’re dedicated to providing our customers with unparalleled customer support ensuring they find the bulk tea that is best for their needs. For common questions regarding our products and on matcha in general, please see below or contact us for more information.
Matcha is a powdered green tea used in Japan’s formal tea ceremony, as well as for everyday drinking pleasure and as a delicious ingredient in countless recipes. Matcha is prized for its high concentration of nutrients as well as its distinctive flavor. In its unpowdered form, it is known as “tencha.” Premium grade matcha is a vibrant shade of green.
The main difference between matcha and other green teas is the way matcha is cultivated and processed. Most green teas are shipped and sold as loose-leaf teas, whereas matcha is produced and sold as a fine-ground powder.
Unpowdered matcha is a near equivalent of two other green teas known as tencha and gyokuro, which are grown using similar techniques. In fact, you might think of tencha and gyokuro as unpowdered matcha.
Yes! Matcha is packed with many valuable nutrients, including antioxidants, catechins, polyphenols, and chlorophyll. In fact, the distinctively smooth and sweet taste of premium matcha is thought to be indicative of its high amino acid content. As a shaded green tea, matcha also has high levels of L-theanine and caffeine which can work synergistically to energize and elevate one’s mood. Several studies have shown that matcha green tea aids with digestion and weight loss, increases energy, decreases stress levels, prevents cancer-causing cell growth and helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, among many other health benefits.
Ceremonial grade Matcha (high-grade Matcha designed for drinking and cooking) is grown and processed in Japan. The premiere Matcha growing regions are located in Nishio and Kyoto, in micro-climates that are the most favorable to Matcha cultivation.
To create matcha, farmers begin by growing many bushes of the plant Camellia sinensis in large fields. Eventually, these tea bushes are shaded to reduce the amount of sunlight exposure they receive. This technique not only slows the growth of the plants but it also alters their chemical characteristics, resulting in dark, distinctive green tea leaves and their rich flavor.
After matcha is harvested, the leaves are carefully washed and dried. After drying, farmers remove any stems and veins and slowly grind the leaves into a fine powder, resulting in a rich, vivid-green matcha tea.
Matcha’s has been used in Japan for centuries. Its history dates back to the 1200’s when it was used by monks as an aid for meditation.
No! Matcha production is a very meticulous process which results in a high degree of product variability. As such, most matcha can be classified into one of three “grades”:
No. Matcha is by definition a powder. It mixes directly into hot water to make tea (or with other ingredients in recipes).
Heat, light, moisture, and excessive air exposure can all quickly compromise the quality of matcha. To ensure the longevity of your matcha powder, store it in an airtight container and keep refrigerated or frozen until use.
Traditionally, most matcha is consumed as a hot, frothy beverage. To prepare matcha tea, a few grams of matcha powder is placed in a cup or bowl and thoroughly mixed with near-boiling water. The ratio of powder-to-water can be modified to create thinner or thicker matcha preparations, respectively known as usucha and koicha.
Today, matcha is also used as a flavoring in various dishes, such as pastries, chocolates, candies, and ice creams. Many health supplements also feature matcha powder as an ingredient due to its abundant supply of nutritionally rich antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Matcha is becoming more widely available in the U.S. through specialty retailers and health and natural foods stores.
If you’re interested in learning more about matcha, visit our blog for comprehensive articles on matcha and the organic tea industry. We also highly recommend reading Mutsuko Tokunaga’s book, New Tastes in Green Tea (Kodansha American, 2004).
At Ikeda Tea World, we supply our customers with expertly-crafted matcha sourced directly from Kagoshima, Japan. Our Master Tea Maker, Kenta Ikeda, carefully selects and blends our teas to ensure that every batch meets our high standards of quality.
We’re thrilled to offer our customers: