Everything You Need to Know About Authentic Matcha

It feels like everywhere you turn there is some new popular latte, dessert, or power health bowl infused with matcha-this or matcha-that. What started out as a healthy and historical drink has turned into the latest trend-gone-viral.

Before matcha found its way into the mainstream hands of health enthusiasts, culinary chefs, and your candy bowl, it was a beautiful cornerstone in the Japanese tea ceremony. Matcha and certain varieties of green tea might have been perfected in Japanese society, but they were created in China first. 

What is Green Tea?

Did you know that about 80% of the world’s green tea is grown in China? As the official birthplace of all real tea, China is credited with inventing the vast majority of green teas — from their unique flavors to the artistic shapes of the leaves.

Green tea — and every other variation of true tea — is harvested from the Camellia sinensis plant. In China, green tea leaves are harvested in a cooler climate which creates a sweeter and smaller tea leaf variety that’s worthy of the delicate complexity of green tea. 

The biggest variable that sets green tea apart from other teas is its lack of oxidation. Because green tea isn’t oxidized it’s sensitive to high heat. You must steep it at a lower temperature otherwise your water will scorch your tea leaves and release a bitter flavor.

You’ll find the enormous world of green tea is filled with pride for artistic craftsmanship. Great care is taken to shape and sort individual tea leaves to create a superior, unique, and exceptional tea experience found in every single batch. 

There is no doubt that China has perfected the art of growing and creating some of the best green teas in the world. Notable flavors like jasmine pearl dance on your tongue with iconic notes of fragrant flowers and sweet undertones. But there is one specific green tea that was adopted and perfected by Japan:  the recently-popularized matcha.

What is Matcha?

Matcha is made from the same Camellis sinensis leaves as every other true green tea. This bright green tea is ground into a powder that is mixed with warm or hot water. Matcha can help with concentration and it’s known for its stable caffeine boost. 

Today, you can find all kinds of drinks, candy, food, and sweets that have matcha incorporated in them — for either flavor or color. But in its purest form, matcha is rich in history, ceremony, and health.

What is the Origin of Matcha?

The first kind of matcha was invented in China during the Tang Dynasty between the 7th and the 10th centuries. Green tea leaves were broken from dense tea bricks and ground into a powder. This powder was whisked in warm water with a pinch of salt to create the very first kind of matcha tea — but, matcha has changed a lot since then. 

In 1191, Myoan Eisa — a Japanese monk who studied Buddhism throughout China — was credited with bringing green tea seeds — and ultimately matcha — back to Japan. Today, there is no doubt that Japan has perfected the craft of matcha. Japan now grows certain green teas in the shade, and from this harvest, specific leaves are chosen for the creation of matcha tea.

5 Ways Matcha is Different From Green Tea

Matcha and green tea might come from the same plant, but the final cup of tea is completely different in almost all aspects — from preparation to taste to caffeine content. Here are 5 incredible differences between green tea and matcha:

  1. Tea Preparation

Green tea must steep at a lower water temperature so the leaves don’t burn and release bitter flavors. The tea leaves are removed before you drink your tea. 

Preparing matcha is very different. With matcha, you whisk your tea powder into your hot water — which can range from warm to pre-boiling — and you will drink the suspended tea powder.  

  1. The Color of Your Tea

You’ll find that your green tea looks a lot different than your typical cup of matcha. When you steep green tea, you’ll notice it’s a greenish brown or even a little yellow in color. 

On the other hand, matcha’s signature bright green hue is what makes it so appealing in the culinary world. The tea itself is just as light and vibrant.  

  1. Where Your Tea is Grown

Green tea leaves are grown in cooler climates, which creates a smaller sweeter leaf. But it’s also slightly brown from basking in the sunlight. 

Matcha is made from a particular type of green tea — tencha — which is grown in the shade and laid out flat to dry before being ground into matcha powder. Fun fact: sencha tea is also similar, but these shade-grown leaves are steam dried instead and not used for matcha. 

  1. The Color and Nutrients

Growing green tea in the shade alters its nutrients. When you grow green tea in the shade, it causes chlorophyll levels to increase which makes the leaves a bright green color. 

Tea leaves grown in the shade also have higher levels of caffeine and L-theanine, which helps balance the negative crashing effects of caffeine. Green tea also has L-theanine and caffeine, but the amounts are less than matcha. Green teas are known to have anti-cancer and anti-cavity properties among other amazing health benefits.

  1. The Amount of Caffeine

Matcha is commonly used today as an efficient and stable energy booster — one that’s suitable enough to replace coffee. One of the biggest reasons matcha has become so mainstream is because of its caffeine boost. 

Both matcha and green tea don’t cause your body to crash after the caffeine high thanks to L-theanine. The result is focused and stable energy. These effects are much more potent with matcha. 

Chado - The Japanese Tea Ceremony

The Japanese tea ceremony is called chado — which means “The Way of Tea”. Matcha was first prepared by the monks of Japanese temples to help boost their concentration during meditation. When Japan’s elite discovered the superior quality of matcha, they developed intricate tea ceremonies — some lasting over four hours! 

These intense ceremonies were criticized by notable leaders in Japan, and the ceremony evolved into the modest rituals we see, now. Today, hosts and their guests unite over the thoughtful preparation and enjoyment of tea and connection. This ceremony takes place in a tatami room and the host will prepare and serve matcha after their guests enjoy wagashi — or Japanese confections. 

Chado is a hospitable ceremony that embraces four key principles: Harmony, Respect, Purity, and Tranquility. Every bowl, cup, and trinket used in the Japanese tea ceremony is chosen for a specific purpose. And every movement and gesture — from the whisking of the matcha to the quarter turn of a cup — is executed with meaningful intention. The purpose is to create a unique experience that can never be replicated twice. 

Discover Handcrafted Quality Teaware and Organic Tea

Experience quality teas and teaware made with your health and wellness in mind. Since the beginning, Teabloom has been on a mission to clean up the tea industry one teacup at a time. 

Here you can find borosilicate glass teaware that’s handcrafted with exquisite materials that won’t leach toxins into your tea — teaware that makes every cup taste like a sip of heaven. Teabloom’s teaware is made from a sustainable and non-porous material that’s strong, stain-free, and easy to clean. Borosilicate glass is the future of a better tea industry — and the future of tea that you can feel good about. 

Explore organic single-origin teas, and 100% compostable teabags. Taste the difference in quality ingredients and help create a unique and memorable tea experience with Teabloom.