Iced and hot blue and green matcha lattes, smoothie and hot chocolate

What is Matcha Tea? The History of Matcha, Types and More

Matcha is tea that has been ground with special granite wheels into a fine powder. Because it is powdered, the tea is not steeped like a normal tea, rather infused and consumed directly. Matcha is green tea but the way it is grown, harvested and produced set it apart from regular green teas.

Matcha is tea that has been ground with special granite wheels into a fine powder. Because it is powdered, the tea is not steeped like a normal tea, rather infused and consumed directly. Matcha traces its origins to Japan where the tea is used for drinking or in cooking.

Iced and hot blue and green matcha lattes, smoothie and hot chocolate

If you want to know what is trending right now, look no further than the storefronts in Manhattan. Manhattan's ultra-competitive, cutting-edge style is always pushing innovation, so when a new type of store starts to make inroads, you can bet that the rest of the country is paying attention. What might these new stores be? According to the Wall Street Journal, purveyors of fine Matcha are making a serious headway in the Big Apple, and the rest of the country is certainly taking notice.

Lucky for most of us, matcha is much older than the New York scene, and is readily available in loads of flavors and styles. Making matcha is very simple, and with the new generation of flavored matcha, the need for separate flavors, syrups or ingredients have been all but eliminated, making matcha easier than ever to enjoy at home, and to enjoy the Matcha health benefits.

What is Matcha?

Whether you ask for matcha, matcha green tea or matcha powder, you are essentially asking for the same thing. Matcha is powdered tea made from the camellia sinensis plant, the same plant all true teas come from. The highest-grade matcha comes from one of the three Japanese variations of this plant.

Matcha was originally used in tea ceremonies in Japan and has grown in popularity around the world. It is high in antioxidants and other healthy compounds, making it a winner for both flavor and benefits. The taste is much stronger than regular green tea, and the caffeine content is higher. This makes it a great choice for an energizing drink in the morning. 

The History of Matcha Tea

Matcha tea was first brought back from China to Japan by the buddhist monk Yosai in the 12th century. He had been studying Buddhism in China, where he found out that Chinese monks had frequently been drinking tea as a form of medicine. The nutrients and caffeine in matcha helped the monks endure their hard training.

Once Yosai returned to Japan, he became the founder of the Rinzai sec of Zen buddhism. It's said that Yosai cured the Shogun who had been suffering from a hangover by serving him matcha tea. Thus, the effect of matcha had been proven to the authorities. As a result, matcha quickly spread throughout Japan.

Green Tea vs Matcha

Essentially, matcha is green tea but the way it is grown, harvested and produced set it apart from regular green teas.

Matcha is made from green tea leaves that are ground into a fine powder. To make a cup of matcha, you simply whisk the powder with hot water and enjoy the bright green brew.

Popular Varieties:

Ceremonial Grade Organic Matcha

Ceremonial Grade matcha is made using pure shaded Gyokuro grown in Japan. These hand selected leaves are picked during a short two-week period in May.  At this point in the harvest, it's been scientifically proven that there are the most antioxidants as it's at its peak chlorophyll content at this stage. There's also a boosted amount of L-theanine, which gives it a natural sweetness, so you don't have to add any sweeteners. The result is a refined brew with the classic umami flavor characteristics that is the signature hallmark of high grade matcha.

Organic Matcha

Organic Matcha brings you quality tea at an affordable price so you can sip this luxury every day. The organic certification ensures that the matcha has been produced using sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices. Organic matcha is often considered to be of higher quality than non-organic matcha because it is free from harmful chemicals and retains more of the natural flavors and nutrients of the tea leaves. It is also a popular choice for those who are concerned about the potential health risks associated with consuming foods that have been treated with synthetic chemicals. It's grown with zero pesticides to ensure the safest product possible. However, many tea farms take great care to minimize pesticide use even if they are not certified organic.

Culinary Matcha & Flavored Matcha

If you plan on using your matcha for matcha lattes, smoothies, and other baked matcha goods, you'll need a matcha flavor that stands out. While ceremonial matcha is the highest grade of matcha, it also has a subtle flavor in comparison to culinary matcha. Culinary matcha has a more bitter matcha taste, allowing for the matcha flavor to still stand out even when combined with other ingredients.

When it comes to culinary matchas, you can choose to stick with the natural matcha flavor or use a flavored matcha such as vanilla, coconut, or blueberry to try out different options. It is much more affordable than ceremonial grade and tastes delicious. There are so many flavors to try, we recommend getting a variety pack to try them all!

Two iced matcha lattes, one normal one blue butterfly
Two iced matcha lattes, one normal one blue butterfly

"A former avid coffee drinker, I am a complete convert to matcha. The flavor, feeling and overall health benefits of Matcha tea far surpass my prior caffeine experience." -Marcia

What does Matcha taste like?

Matcha is tea that has been ground with special granite wheels into a fine powder. Because it is powdered, the tea is not steeped like a normal tea, rather infused and consumed directly. When prepared correctly and consumed immediately, a premium organic Matcha should have a smooth and slight frothiness, with no grittiness.

The result is a rich, earthy tea with a slight bitterness and smooth umami flavor. Matcha is traditionally consumed without milk or added sweeteners, but today many Matcha drinkers choose to add sweeteners to combat the grassy flavor.

For an enhanced flavor experience, we offer 8+ flavored organic Matchas including vanilla, coconut and butterfly blue. Our many exclusive flavors compliment the natural flavors of matcha without the addition of sweeteners.

Iced and hot blue and green matcha lattes

What are the Health Benefits of Matcha?

Like green tea, matcha is loaded with the antioxidants that health experts tout as being borderline miraculous for your overall health. But, since a matcha drinker consumes the entire leaf and not just the brewed leaves, one glass of matcha contains the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of nutritional value & antioxidant content.

Along with the antioxidants, Matcha is also high in polyphenols (plant compounds) including the catechin EGCG. EGCG (or epicgallocatechin gallate) is the catechin with broadest and most potent cancer-fighting properties. Sixty percent of the catechin content of matcha tea is EGCG. One gram of matcha contains 105 mg of total catechin content, or roughly 61% EGCG. ECCG has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels. Research indicates that this blood sugar lowering quality was enhanced by ingesting it with dietary fiber, both of which are abundantly present in matcha.

In addition to all of the commonly cited benefits to matcha, it can also benefit your health in a variety of ways you might not guess. For example, Japanese varieties contain high levels of Chlorophyll which helps to remove heavy metals and toxins from the body, and the high levels of the amino acid L-Theanine in matcha combine with it's caffeine, leading to 3-6 hours of calm, sustainable alertness without the crash typically associated with other caffeinated beverages.

Matcha can also be beneficial for those looking to manage their weight by naturally influencing the process of thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is the process of producing heat, which when not initiated through processes like exercise or shivering, is fueled by body fat. Normally your body is using 8%-10% of daily energy expenditure generating heat, while matcha can increase this by around 4% at resting metabolic rates and as much as 25% when consumed in conjunction with exercise.

Making matcha at home allows you to control the sugar content as well, and therefore keep the health benefits of matcha without losing them through excess sugar. You can also add matcha to smoothies, oatmeal or any other healthy meal.

Choosing your Matcha

According to research done by Tufts University, the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) capacity of matcha green tea is exponentially higher than other foods known for their high antioxidants levels such as blueberries and spinach. The ORAC rating of matcha is 1300 units/g, compared to 105 units/g for pomegranates and 91 units/g for wild blueberries. This is important because this translates to well over 10x the free radical scrubbing antioxidant power of other health foods, with tons of benefits for anti-aging and your general well-being.

Many matcha varieties are sold in tins and bags, committing you to a larger quantity. Single serving sachets offers added convenience by allowing your matcha to remain fresh in individually sealed pouches. Now with more flavors of matcha available, the question is - what flavor will you choose?

If you are not sure, we recommend purchasing a matcha variety pack. Here you can try 8 different samples of matcha to find out your favorites. Each matcha sachet holds 3 grams of matcha, allowing you to make a full 16 ounces of tea.

Farm to Cup Direct Sourcing

We source our organic matcha direct from a family-owned tea farm that has many decades of experience. Each matcha is flavored with natural extracts preserving and unleashing the flavor and aromas from the original ingredient. 

Iced and hot blue and green matcha lattes, smoothie and hot chocolate

How To Prepare

There are many ways to prepare matcha, both hot, cold, as a latte or in a smoothie. You can also add it to baked goods for color and flavor.

Traditionally, Matcha is whisked in hot water and drunk straight. Modern tea culture has moved towards matcha lattes as the preferred method. If you are new to matcha, lattes are the best choice to start. Mix the matcha in hot water first with a bamboo whisk or electric frother, and then add milk and sweetener.