Difference Between Ceremonial and Culinary Grade Matcha

May 14, 2024

Most people who drink matcha outside of Japan distinguish between ceremonial grade and culinary grade. The basic premise is that culinary grade matcha is better suited for usage as an ingredient in recipes owing to its more intense bitterness, but ceremonial grade matcha is of greater quality and can be enjoyed on its own.

As compared to "culinary grade matcha," "ceremonial grade matcha" is often seen to be more costly. Most people think that "ceremonial grade matcha" is the best matcha and that "culinary grade matcha" is the worst.

Is this, however, the most effective method for deciphering matcha grades? Not in our opinion.

What is the Japanese way of judging the quality of a matcha?

Matcha is not divided into "ceremonial" and "culinary" grades in Japan. Actually, there isn't a regulatory-effect grading system for matcha that's widely used. Color, flavor, texture, and other individual qualities are used to assess each matcha blend. They are free to draw the border anywhere they choose, even though the terms "culinary" and "ceremonial" grade have become popular abroad. It is not at all governed.

"Ceremonial grade matcha" and "culinary grade matcha" are terms that are open to a lot of interpretation. That's why we think those are useless words.

Why it doesn't matter if matcha is "Ceremonial Grade '' or "Culinary Grade"?

Clearly dividing matcha into two quality categories is challenging. This is not how matcha is categorized in Japan. Rather, it is evaluated using a range of criteria.

The "ceremonial grade" categorization is not overseen by any global body. Only the honesty of matcha vendors will prevent them from charging exorbitant prices for subpar "ceremonial grade" matcha because no matter how hard matcha firms try, they will simply use their own subjective standards to determine what a "ceremonial grade" is.

But it doesn't help to know that. In order to evaluate matcha quality on your own, you must use a framework. After that, you'll be able to determine whether the price of a matcha product is reasonable. In order to help you make an informed decision, this essay will try to explain some of those quality factors in plain English.

Find out what ceremonial grade and culinary grade matcha are instead.

You should investigate additional criteria that show a matcha's quality and make sure you know what each firm means when they say "ceremonial grade" or "culinary grade" matcha. Inquire further about the matcha goods offered by the company. Before buying, check reviews and see if samples are available.

So According to Yoocha Matha, What Are "Ceremonial Grade" and "Culinary Grade"?

This absolute categorization of matcha into "ceremonial grade" and "culinary grade" is not something we particularly care for. Because of how convenient it is, we've decided to use it.

Here at Yoocha Matcha, we call a matcha mix ceremonial grade if it can be utilized to make anything you drink. The matcha is considered culinary grade if it can be used to prepare food. We are committed to providing you with the highest quality Japanese matcha at a price that suits your budget, regardless of the "grade" we claim the matcha is.

Because of this, we stock a variety of ceremonial grade matcha varieties. Some of our ceremonial grade matcha powders are more suited to iced tea, others to lattes, still others to general use, and we even have a couple that are suitable for the Japanese tea ceremony, among other uses.

Some are crafted from selected cultivars, some from a single source, others from first harvest leaves alone, and yet others from a combination of the two.

How Therefore Is Matcha Quality Evaluated?

When evaluating a brand's matcha, keep these things in mind if they say their product is "ceremonial grade matcha" to indicate high quality.

Look at reviews or contact customer service. Using these few criteria, you should constantly seek additional information.

What factory made it?

If you're looking for high-quality matcha, it's important to source it from a certain region in Japan. Kyoto Prefecture's Uji is well-known as the origin of matcha and green tea in Japan. There may be a premium price for Uji matcha due to the brand name, but don't be surprised if it tastes good. Known mostly for its gyokuro tea, the Fukuoka Prefecture city of Yame has recently started producing high-quality matcha. Closer to Tokyo, the cities of Shizuoka and Nishio are also famous for its matcha. Although sencha is the main crop in Kyoto Prefecture and Kagoshima Prefecture, many farmers are now also growing matcha, and they're doing a great job.

Had it been shaded prior to harvest?

When growing matcha, the shading procedure is crucial. The tea plants are shaded and denied sunshine for the few weeks preceding harvest. This process alters the tea leaves' amino acid profile, imparting the characteristic umami flavor of matcha. The grower has a lot of leeway in deciding on the various shading procedures and how long the shaded growth will last.

Which type of tea plant was used to make the matcha?

Yabukita is the cultivar most commonly used to make tea in Japan. From matcha to bottled tea, this variety is utilized in every product. The Asahi cultivar is often linked with premium matcha from well-known tea brands. But this is a complex subject, so if you want more information, check our page about cultivars.

What is the harvesting date?

As a general rule, the greatest tea is usually picked during the first flush, or Shin Cha, when the plants have stored up all the nutrients from winter. To keep prices down, some matchas use a mixture of first and second harvest leaves, while the best matcha is produced with just first harvest tea leaves.

How the matcha has been handled and how was it kept up.

The tea leaves are transported to a processing facility for steaming, drying, sorting, and cutting after harvest. We eliminate any contaminants, veins, and stems. If the leaves are not turned into matcha right away, they should be preserved in a refrigerator. This is called tencha. To maintain the freshness of tencha (or matcha), it is vital to store it at colder temperatures. The texture of ground matcha shouldn't be gritty; it should be similar to talcum powder. Our faith in the matcha's quality would be severely shaken if even one of these conditions were not satisfied.

Also Read: Matcha Health Benefits for Skin

What shade is it?

A verdant hue is significant because it suggests newness. Powdered matcha that is yellow in color indicates either stale matcha or matcha made from bottom-harvested leaves. But remember that different shades of green could look different. Because of the volcanic soil in the area, Kagoshima matcha is a little darker green, but it would still seem vivid. The Seimei cultivar is one of those that stands out due to its exceptionally vivid green color. The key is the vivid green color, just like in fresh vegetable products. The green hue of matcha, regardless of quality, ought to appear "fresh" rather than faded.

What about the flavor?

Reading a description of matcha online makes it hard to imagine how it would taste. You can get a sense of the matcha's potential flavor from the aforementioned details. Your experience may still be impacted by a degree of subjectivity, though. It is always a good idea to request small samples from the vendor whenever available. We usually advise asking for samples as a smart and necessary step for more costly teas, even though some may impose a little fee to cover shipping and product expenses.

To find out more about the process of making matcha, please contact us Yoocha Matcha.


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