Do you have the full scoop on what’s in your teacup? When it comes to matcha, you certainly should — because where your matcha comes from can make all the difference.
What Does Ceremonial-Grade Matcha Mean?
What exactly is ceremonial-grade matcha? To understand the significance of the term, we first need to give a little background: Matcha can either be prepared as a thin tea (called “usucha” in Japan) or thick tea (known as “koicha”). Most everyday matcha is made in the thin-tea style, but koicha is used for traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.
Ceremonial-grade matcha is distinguished from other types of matcha because it is a high-quality type of matcha that can be used for koicha, or thick-tea preparation. This tea offers a much more intense, rich experience in comparison to culinary-grade matcha.
While ceremonial-grade matcha is produced with quality in mind, most types of culinary-grade matcha are poorly processed, bitter, and dull in color. This is because culinary-grade matcha was designed to be used as an ingredient in foods like ice cream, baked goods, mochi, and more.
Ceremonial Tea Tradition
As the name suggests, most ceremonial matcha is reserved solely for special ceremonial use within Japan. Ceremonial matcha preparation in Japan involves a higher ratio of ceremonial matcha powder to water, creating a tea with a syrupy (not watery) consistency. The matcha powder and tea are slowly whisked together with a chasen matcha whisk made from bamboo.
Because this ceremonial preparation — known as koicha — creates a thick, rich tea, the smell and taste are amplified — highlighting the quality of the matcha. To complement the mild sweetness and umami flavor of the koicha, it is typically served with wagashi — small snacks that highlight the flavor of the koicha.
The Art of Growing Matcha
Picture a small, sacred tea farm at the base of breathtaking Mount Fuji. This environmentally protected land makes the ideal setting for growing matcha, and it’s where all of our ceremonial-grade matcha is grown and harvested.
Like all true matcha, ours is specially shade-grown. Covers are hoisted over the tea plants up to several weeks before harvest. This shading inhibits photosynthesis, causing the plants to concentrate large amounts of chlorophyll and other nutrients in the leaves. This is what gives matcha its vibrant green color and intense concentration of antioxidants.
But there’s more to what makes our matcha a cut above the rest: Our Organic Matcha Power® is hand-harvested in early spring from only the youngest, sprouting leaves of the heirloom tea plants. Each leaf is inspected to make sure it meets the highest ceremonial-grade matcha standards.
Then it’s carefully prepared in the ancient traditional manner, slowly cold-milled into an ultra-fine, jade-green powder on a patented, ceramic stone-tipped mill. After that it’s vacuum-packed to protect all of its unique healing properties.
The “Greenest” of all Green Teas
If you haven’t figured out by now, genuine, certified-organic matcha is something that takes effort to produce and isn’t available at local big box stores. Our ceremonial matcha is organically grown under the most pristine conditions, and is naturally processed without the use of any solvents, chemicals, or other compromising substances. We regularly test our matcha to make sure you’re getting nothing but the purest, safest matcha, free of heavy metals, radiation, microbes, and more.
An Antioxidant Powerhouse
When traditionally made, genuine matcha is packed with unique, well-researched antioxidants like the famous catechin EGCG that supports healthy aging. The USDA’s ORAC test method results show that matcha is about 10 times greater in antioxidant potency than so-called “superfoods” like acai berry, dark chocolate, goji berries, and several other trending fad foods.
What Is the Best Ceremonial-Grade Matcha?
We’ve sung the praises of ceremonial-grade matcha, but there is a caveat: Not all ceremonial-grade matcha is created equal. To make sure you’re actually getting high-quality matcha that’s ideal for koicha (or thick tea) preparation, you’ll need to do your homework.
To start, it’s important to only buy ceremonial-grade matcha that is from Japan, has been grown in the shade, is produced from tencha tea leaves, and has been traditionally stone-ground.
To learn more about the different types of green tea and where they come from, check out our post on the different types of green tea.
How Do You Matcha?
No doubt about it: Authentic matcha green tea is more than just tea, it’s an art. At Pure Synergy, our Organic Matcha Power® green tea is a labor of tradition and love. In fact, less than 1% of all matcha matches up to the purity and quality of our authentic, certified organic, matcha green tea.
As the only company in the United States with exclusive rights to ceremonial-grade matcha, grown on a family-owned tea farm in Japan, we are proud to offer this high-quality tea to our customers.
Our bright green powder is ideal for whisking up your morning tea, your matcha latte, or afternoon smoothie. And if you’re looking for convenience or don’t love the taste of green tea, we also offer Organic Matcha Power® Capsules so you can get an antioxidant and energy boost on the go.
Check out our Organic Matcha Power® powder today and get the benefits of ceremonial-grade, organic matcha.