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What’s Matcha Tea?

Matcha is 100% natural, organic green tea leaves which have been carefully ground down to form a fine powder.

Green Tea has long been a part of Japanese heritage, dating back to when green tea seeds first arrived from China by a Zen monk named Eisai in 1191 AD. Matcha green tea has been used by Buddhist monks for centuries to stay awake and alert during long days of meditation. The word Matcha is a combination of the Japanese words ‘Ma’ and ‘Cha’ which literally translates to ‘powdered’ and ‘tea’ respectively therefore Matcha refers to a powdered green tea.

This superfood is a shade grown green tea which we source from an organic, family run farm located just outside of Nishio, Japan.

The shading part of the growing process is essential as the tea bush forces all of its energy, chlorophyll, antioxidants and nutrients to the top leaves of the plant to maximise the effect from the sun. The tea leaves are grown in shade for the last six weeks before harvesting. The tea leaves are then picked dried and the stems and veins are removed. The remainder of the leaf is then gradually ground between two granite rocks until it becomes a fine powder. Stone grinding prevents the degradation of nutrients in the leaf due to heat. It takes a full hour to grind just 30g of this super food.

Up until lately most Matcha was consumed in Japan, more recently it’s been gaining traction in western society due to its numerous health benefits. Gaining popularity in the UK Matcha Tea can be found in health food shops, most smoothie bars and cafes (often sold as a Matcha latté or blended drink).

Our Kineta Matcha is a 100% natural, Japanese, high grade organic green tea which has been carefully ground down to form a fine powder.

How to Judge the Quality of your Matcha

There are many different matcha powders available on the market but they are not all equal. When it comes to Matcha you really do get what you pay for! So here is our guide to buying Matcha powder in the hope that once you’re equipped with the right information then next time you’re in the market for good quality Matcha you will choose Kineta Matcha. It’s a game of quality not quantity:

1. Colour

The main indicator of quality is the colour of the Matcha tea. Top quality Matcha (from the very top of the plant) has the most vibrant, fresh green colour; the colour becomes duller, browner and even yellow as the quality decreases.

2. Taste

A good quality Matcha has a smooth, sweet taste balanced with slightly bitter, vegetal undertones. The taste increases in bitterness as the quality decreases.

3. Aroma

The L-theanine in Matcha gives off a sweet, fresh, grassy smell. Lower quality Matcha has less L-theanine so the vegetal aroma isn’t as strong and can be oxidised with an earthy, hay like ‘off’ smell.

4. Packaging

Matcha should always be stored in an air tight container to prevent it oxidising and going stale. All Kineta Matcha is stored in sealed, air tight tins to prevent oxidisation of the Matcha powder.

As a general rule ceremonial grade is the highest quality Matcha you can buy, this is split into two grades, Finest and Everyday Matcha. Both of these are delicious for drinking the traditional way whisked up with hot water in a bowl but we suggest Finest for the purist Matcha drinkers and Everyday for those of you who like to experiment and blend the powder.

5. Origin

The country of origin is a big indicator of the quality of Matcha. It is accepted that the higher quality Matcha comes from Japan, having originated there over 800 years ago. There are two particular regions in Japan, Nishio City in Aichi prefecture and Uji City in Kyoto prefecture which produce 80% of Japan’s Matcha. China and Taiwan also produce Matcha, but not to the quality of Japan.