Oh Matcha, Matcha, Matcha

Bruvi • January 23, 2024 • 3 min read

Oh Matcha, Matcha, Matcha


Everywhere you look, matcha tea is there. Amazing to think that this vibrant green tea has been used in Japanese tea ceremonies since the 12th Century. Now ubiquitous, you’ll find matcha on menus everywhere, from lattes to desserts. While recognition of its health benefits helped drive interest and popularity, it's now also a social media phenomenon.

Whether you’re a matcha purist or adventurer, here’s the 101 on this distinctive tea. With apologies to Kermit the Frog, we think you’ll find that matcha tea makes it easy to be green. 

What is Matcha?

Matcha is a Japanese green tea that has been finely ground into powdered form. Unlike other tea that is steeped in boiling water, matcha powder is whisked with hot water to become a frothy, bright green tea. Matcha has a complex flavor profile with slight grassiness, a bit of sweetness, astringency and a savory umami note. 

How Matcha is Produced

Tencha tea is the raw material used to make matcha. Tencha is a high quality Japanese tea grown in the shade for about a month before harvest. This results in a high level of chlorophyll, creating the deep green color. To make matcha, young tencha leaves are steamed to preserve color and nutrients. The stem and veins are removed, then it is dried and cut, and finally milled into a powder. Unlike other forms of tea where you enjoy an infusion of the leaves, with matcha powder, the entire leaf is consumed. 

Grades of Matcha

Matcha grades range from food ingredient up to the highest quality used for formal tea ceremony, commonly referred to as ceremonial grade matcha.  Ceremonial grade matcha is produced from first flush tea, brews a vibrant green cup and has more characteristic umami and less bitterness than lower grade matcha.

Other grades of matcha tea are made with either second flush tea or a mixture of first and second flush. Culinary grade matcha is what is typically used as an ingredient. It has a more astringent flavor but can stand up to being paired with other ingredients in recipes. Culinary grade will be duller green or yellowish than ceremonial grade.

Because of the variance in quality, you will find matcha at different price points. If you’re drinking it as tea, premium matcha is a superior tasting product and worth the higher price. For cooking, culinary grade is fine but we still recommend buying a better quality product.  For Saka Matcha, Bruvi sources only ceremonial grade matcha for our matcha tea B-Pods. 

Nutritional Benefits of Matcha 

The unique growing conditions for tencha tea plants result in higher levels of amino acids - including L-Theanine. L-Theanine has been shown to improve brain function and focus, and to reduce anxiety. Matcha also contains antioxidants such as polyphenols and vitamin C. Note that matcha is relatively higher in caffeine than other forms of tea. Lower grade matcha tea won’t have the same nutritional benefit as premium grade. 

Matcha Tea Versus Coffee

Though a completely different taste experience, matcha can be as satisfying as a cup of coffee. Both contain caffeine and can provide an energy boost. However you may find a faster boost from coffee, while matcha will kick in at a slower pace. Both also contain polyphenols which provide antioxidant benefits. 

How to Enjoy It

To get the true matcha experience, try a traditional cup of matcha. To prepare it yourself, you’ll need a small bowl and bamboo whisk. But you’ll also find it on the menu at most coffee houses.  For some, matcha is an acquired taste; others crave it. If you find straight matcha too intense, you may enjoy it as a latte - either hot or iced - with your favorite type of milk and a little sweetener.   And you don’t have to search far to find matcha ice cream, cookies, muffins or other desserts. 

With Saka Matcha B-Pods made for the Bruvi single-serve coffee brewer, it’s easy to enjoy delicious matcha tea pods with the convenience of single touch brewing.

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