Matcha shopping can be intimidating, especially if it’s done online and you can not sample the tea beforehand. With many different qualities of matcha out there, how can one actually tell what they are buying is authentic? Aroma, Feel and Taste are all important things to look at for matcha, but again, this can be difficult to do when you are shopping online. For myself, I look for 6 key characteristics that usually helps me decide if this is the right matcha for me before I confirm an online order. I hope this list helps you in your matcha shopping adventures, too!
1. The Colour
This is the most common talked about matcha feature. When looking for matcha green tea, your first clue at if it is a higher grade is the green colour. You may find some matcha that is brown and dull but the best matcha will be a luscious, vibrant green. The brighter, the better! Companies should have pictures of the packaging and inside contents on their website. If they don’t, that may not be a great sign.
2. The Origin
While matcha can be sourced from various countries, Japan is the top matcha producing country. If you were to ever compare matcha from Japan to matcha from China you could notice the difference almost instantly. That’s why the second clue I look for when shopping for matcha online is where it is sourced. Anywhere in Japan is usually a safe bet, but more specifically Uji, Kyoto, Japan.
3. The Price
This isn’t the easiest way to tell if matcha is high quality because sometimes companies can overprice bad quality matcha, but there are many cases when I see 80-100grams of matcha being sold for $20-$30. Sounds too good to be true, right? Yup! If you find something like that it is most likely a lower grade of matcha that people can use as an ingredient for baking or cooking, not as hot tea. I’m not saying you have to pay a high price for a high matcha grade though. You can typically find 30-40 grams of ceremonial grade matcha for around $30-$40 (including shipping cost) and that’s a fair price.
4. The Ingredients
This might be a step that can be overlooked when shopping for matcha online. How can there be ingredients in matcha except for, well, matcha green tea? I’ve learned the hard way when I started drinking matcha that companies can actually add filler ingredients to the matcha to offset the price for themselves. High quality matcha should be nothing but 100% pure matcha green tea. No sugar. No artificial or natural flavours. No additives. Ever.
5. The Reviews
I’m more likely to try a matcha brand if I have heard good things about it from a fellow matcha drinker. Reviews are great for getting an idea of some of the things you may not be able to experience when shopping online (ie. aroma and taste). Some companies can manipulate the colour of the matcha they’re selling by photoshopping the images on their website. Some companies can actually lie about where it is source or, truthfully, they may not even know. That’s why it’s also best to start with online matcha companies that already have positive feedback.
6. The Owner
Lastly, if you don’t know too much about the matcha you’re looking at purchasing online because the website doesn’t have enough information, don’t be afraid to reach out to the company and ask questions prior to so they can fill in the gaps. . If the owner of the company is familiar with Japanese Green Tea, there should be no reason for he/she to give you answers.
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