Nowadays every other matcha seller lists their products as a ceremonial or premium grade, but not all of them are truly representative of the quality indicated.... Some sellers will claim their matcha is "ceremonial grade" for example, but that does not guarantee the matcha will be of high quality.
There are a few factors that come in to play when determining the quality of a matcha powder and we are going to cover them here.
The Origin of the Powder
You might think the tag “ceremonial grade” or “premium grade” should mean that the matcha is high quality, authentic and handpicked from Japanese farms but that’s far from being true. While matcha is grown and exported from various parts of Japan, only the ones which come from Nishio city are likely to be true ceremonial grade. The 80/20 rule applies here as well - 80% of the best comes from 20% of the farms.
The Price You Pay
It’s simple - you pay more for a higher quality matcha powder. Usually, a 30-gram pack of ceremonial grade matcha is supposed to cost you somewhere between $26 to $30. If you aren’t paying in that range, it's possible you aren’t getting the quality you want or you are overpaying for what you are receiving.
The Matcha's Color
Very bright green is your color to go for! The more green it looks the better its quality. Matcha is grown in shade, hence, the lack of sunshine promotes the growth of chlorophyll. More chlorophyll means more antioxidants, which in turn means better hair and skin. So, the leaves which aren’t properly shaded will have a faded green tint and those are the ones you need to avoid.
The Taste of the Matcha
Matcha has a bitter-sweet smell to it because of the amino acids and L-Theanine present in it. The sweeter it is, the better the quality. Lack of Theanine marks the absence of health benefits and the powder has a bitter and astringent taste. If possible, try to smell and taste your matcha powder physically before you make a purchase.
Lastly the Feel of the Powder
The powder should be fine. When you dissolve it into a bowl of hot water, the mixture should be a thin liquid unless you blend it and make a Koicha, thicker version of matcha tea. The powder is super light, almost feel like eye shadow. The lower the quality, the bigger the particle size.