Matcha Buyer's Guide - Things to Consider
Enso Matcha - 09/04/2020
Maybe you’ve already tried matcha in its drinking form, in ice cream or cakes. Or perhaps you’ve seen the stunning, vibrant culinary creations with matcha on Instagram. If you’re ready to try it but you’re not sure what to look for, you’re in the right place!
Like wine, beer and coffee, navigating the world of matcha can be intimidating. There are so many brands out there, and so much choice. How do you avoid purchasing poor quality matcha that’ll leave a bad impression – and taste? What should you look out for?
To help you, we’ve put together 6 things you should consider when buying your matcha, and how to store it at home.
The more information you get about the origin of your matcha, the better. While you can get cheaper matcha from China and Taiwan, Japan have perfected the process and their matcha is far superior. Sometimes you’ll see a specific region on the label – look out for Uji (Kyoto prefecture) or Nishio (Aichi prefecture), as these are the top matcha producing areas in Japan.
If your matcha comes in a tin, then that’s a good sign, as that’s how it is packaged in Japan. High quality matcha can technically come in any type of packaging, though. The most important thing is that the container is airtight to preserve freshness before it reaches you. Bags are common for larger quantities of matcha, but tins are ideal for smaller quantities of 20-30g.
Like when you’re buying wine and coffee, you get what you pay for. Good matcha is produced in small batches – it’s a slow, meticulous process involving a lot of labour. Cheaper matcha is typically produced using more industrial methods and ground using electric jet mills, which heats up the matcha and spoils the aroma and taste. A traditional stone mill can only produce 40 grams of matcha an hour, but this process creates a much higher quality tea.
Vibrancy is the key here – the greener the better! Good matcha is properly shade grown, which causes the plants to over-produce chlorophyll, giving matcha its vibrant green colour. Lower quality matcha with a dull green, brown-ish or even yellow colour indicates that the leaves have not been properly shade grown, or they may be older leaves. Dull and yellow matcha can taste bitter and, well, just plain bad.
Matcha powder should have a similar consistency to eye shadow and the texture of the powder can tell you something about the quality. If it is lower quality matcha, the powder will feel coarse when you rub it between your fingers and it may feel grainy while drinking it.
Taste & Aroma
The most important things are taste and aroma. The L-theanine in matcha gives it a sweet, vegetal smell – it should be fragrant. Good matcha should taste a little sweet, savory and may have a small hint of bitterness. Matcha of different grades and from different producers can have different flavour profiles, like when you’re buying wine. Our best advice is to try different matchas to see which suits your tastes. If it doesn't taste nice and is very bitter, it’s a sign that you haven't bought good quality matcha powder.
Storing Your Matcha
Now you know how to look for great matcha, it’s important that you know how to store it correctly to get the most flavour from it. You should keep it in the fridge and in the original packaging, as light and moisture can cause it to go bad. The original packaging should also protect it from the odors of your fridge. Storing your matcha powder properly will help to preserve the freshness, taste, colour and aroma.
Typically matcha lasts for 6-12 months, but once opened consume within a month for the best experience.
Share your Matcha experiences and creations with us on Instagram, we love to see people enjoying the benefits and getting creative with it! Just use the hashtag #EnsoMatcha.