Real matcha originates from Japan. It is made from tea leaves that are shaded from direct sunlight 3 to 4 weeks before harvest. This slows growth, resulting in long, slender leaves and stems. It also stimulates the production of chlorophyll. The amino acid content of the tea is also significantly increased, especially L-theanine is increased by this method. The higher content of amino acids in real matcha tea is the reason why it is naturally sweeter and creamier in taste. When it is ready for harvest, only the finest tea leaves are hand-picked from the top. The leaves are steamed and freeze-dried, and veins and stems are removed from the leaves. The leaves are then ground in a granite millstone to a very fine, light green powder.
Now you know how good quality Matcha is grown, but how do you know if you are dealing with good or bad quality Matcha? We have put together a list of things you can keep an eye on:
Matcha means powdered leaf in Japanese, and real Matcha originates from Japan. The Japanese have high standards for the cultivation and manufacture of Matcha, and authentic Matcha requires the particular geography, latitude, climate, weather pattern and soil found in Japan
Good quality matcha has a strong green color. The greener the better! Matcha is grown in the shade, which results in a significantly increased content of chlorophyll and L-theanine. These are the important Matcha ingredients that give it a nice bright green color. Lower quality matcha typically consists of leaves that have not been properly shaded, or of leaves that are older and/or harvested further down the stem; and therefore the color will not be as bright green.
Matcha tea has a great taste when it is of good quality. Poor quality Matcha can have a bitter aftertaste of 'hay' or 'grass', while good Matcha has a sweet, round and creamy taste, somewhat reminiscent of nuts. Good quality Matcha should have a sweet, vegetable-like aroma. Low-quality matcha lacks L-Theanine and therefore tends to have a bitter taste.
The texture of Matcha is also an indicator of quality. A high quality Matcha is very fine and silky. Its particle size is only 5-10 microns, making it as fine as baby powder. A lower quality Matcha has a larger particle size and will feel coarser when rubbed between the fingers.