What is matcha?

What is matcha? Hailing from Japan, this vibrant green tea powder has captivated people worldwide with its unique taste and health-promoting properties. This article takes you through matcha’s centuries-old origins, its meticulous crafting process, and its evolution into a contemporary favorite – from elegant tea ceremonies to frothy lattes. Learn why matcha isn’t just another type of green tea and how it can enhance your health and culinary adventures.

Key Takeaways

  • Matcha has a deep-rooted history in Chinese and Japanese cultures, evolving from a status symbol to a central component of the meditative Japanese tea ceremony, chado, emphasizing harmony and tranquility.

  • The production of Matcha involves shade-growing, selective picking, and stone-grinding techniques, resulting in a fine, nutrient-rich powder with distinctive health benefits including improved mental function and disease prevention.

  • Ceremonial grade Matcha offers a delicate flavor ideal for traditional preparation, while latte grade Matcha is more robust, suitable for mixed beverages; both require proper storage and handling to maintain freshness and flavor.

The Origins and History of Matcha

Matcha tea, which is now considered a contemporary superfood, traces its historical origins back to the Tang Dynasty in China. During that period, artisans created bricks made of steamed and roasted tea leaves—a precursor to the powdered matcha form that would later gain immense popularity during the Song Dynasty. The Japanese Zen monk Eisai played a pivotal role in introducing matcha’s legacy to Kyoto’s tranquil temple gardens when he returned from China, blending Zen artistry with the ceremonial aspects of tea.

The allure of Matcha spread among Japan’s elite throughout the Kamakura Shogunate era, where it was embraced as an emblem of opulence and high social standing. Far beyond a mere drink, matcha became integral to an evolving cultural weave prominently featured within Chado—the graceful Japanese tea ceremony. Notable personalities such as Murata Juko and Sen-no-Rikyu interweaves elements like Harmony, Respect, Purity, and Tranquility into these ceremonies. Thus drinking matcha evolved beyond simple consumption into a deeply meditative experience with this exquisite powdered green tea at its heart.

The Unique Process of Making Matcha

Transforming green tea leaves into Matcha is an art that combines age-old traditions with precise techniques. It starts by cultivating the plants in a shaded environment, which intensifies their chlorophyll content and amplifies the health benefits inherent to the tea. When it’s time for harvest, only the freshest young leaves are carefully selected—these will become the essence of Matcha’s superior taste and high quality. These leaves are then quickly steamed to halt fermentation, preserving their bright color and ensuring that Matcha retains its celebrated nutritional advantages. Here is a simpler outline on the steps of making matcha:

  1. Harvesting: Matcha powder is made from the tender, shade-grown leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are carefully harvested by hand, usually in the spring, to ensure optimal freshness and flavor.

  2. Steaming: After harvesting, the leaves are quickly steamed to prevent oxidation and preserve their vibrant green color. Steaming also helps to soften the leaves, making them easier to grind into a fine powder.

  3. Drying: The steamed leaves are spread out evenly and dried using traditional methods such as air drying or infrared drying. This step removes excess moisture from the leaves while retaining their natural nutrients and flavor compounds.

  4. Destemming and deveining: Once the leaves are dry, they undergo a meticulous process to remove stems and veins, leaving only the delicate leaf material behind. This ensures that the final matcha powder has a smooth texture and uniform consistency.

  5. Grinding: The destemmed and deveined leaves are carefully ground into a fine powder using traditional stone mills or modern grinding machines. This process can take several hours to achieve the desired particle size and texture.

  6. Sifting: After grinding, the matcha powder is sifted multiple times to remove any remaining coarse particles and ensure a smooth, velvety texture. This final step results in a high-quality matcha powder ready to be enjoyed in a variety of culinary creations.

The process culminates with these prepared leaves being meticulously ground using stones—a timeless method critical for producing fine matcha powder recognized for its rich flavor profile and smooth consistency. This painstaking technique sets traditional matcha green tea apart from other varieties of green tea, resulting in a powdered form that delights both palette and wellbeing when consumed as matcha green tea.

Ceremonial Grade vs. Latte Grade Matcha

In the realm of matcha powder, there exists a hierarchy of quality. At its zenith is the ceremonial grade matcha, revered for being made from the first pickings and renowned for its intricate flavor that is less bitter than other types. Reserved exclusively to be appreciated in its purest form with water alone, it continues to embody the ancient rituals observed during traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

Conversely, latte-grade matcha possesses a more powerful and pronounced taste profile designed specifically to pair well with milk—a characteristic that has led it to become a favorite base for creamy Matcha lattes savored by countless aficionados. Celebrated particularly is Encha’s latte-grade variety, which offers both affordability and high quality. It allows those looking to experiment culinary-wise access to organic first-harvest Matcha ideal for milk-infused beverages. When enjoyed without additionals such as milk, this particular grade exhibits stronger flavors with subtle bitterness in contrast compared to ceremonial grade’s delicate essence which excels in simplicity.

Encha Ceremonial Grade Sachet


Health Benefits of Encha Matcha

Encha Matcha transcends the ordinary cup of tea, serving as a life-giving elixir brimming with numerous health advantages that surpass those found in traditional green teas. The heightened levels of chlorophyll, caffeine, antioxidants, and L-theanine set matcha apart from other green teas in terms of nutritional value.

The wealth of antioxidants present in Encha Matcha—most notably polyphenols—acts as warriors defending against disease, aging signs, and inflammation. These potent compounds may also exhibit capabilities to hinder certain cancers due to their robust anti-disease properties.

Abundantly packed with EGCG and gallic acid is Encha Matcha. These components have shown potential for thwarting cancer cells’ growth. To this protective barrier against cancerous development are the cognitive benefits stemming from the unique blend of theanine and caffeine within matcha: enhancement of memory functions and focus ability plus rapid switching between tasks without experiencing coffee-like jitters are among them. This dynamic duo Fosters calm yet energetic well-being—a refuge for those unsettled by coffee’s anxious aftermath.

Incorporating regular consumption into one’s diet yields multiple rewards.

  • Cholesterol level improvements

  • Regulation assistance for blood pressure

  • Digestive system support via promotion of friendly gut flora growth along with improved bowel movement

  • Weight loss aid through metabolism stimulation pre-exercise fostering enhanced fat burn

  • Performance edge provision coupled with stress alleviation specifically geared towards athletes

Full List of Matcha Benefits

Lastly but not least, matchas’ skincare triumphs—it bestows upon its consumer UV damage protection which aids skin regeneration while simultaneously minimizing sebum production known to trigger acne breakouts.

Tasting and Appreciating Matcha

The experience of tasting Matcha is as intricate and deep-seated as the tea’s own historical roots. When one takes an initial taste, they encounter a harmonious contrast of sharp bitterness that gracefully transitions into a silky, sweet embrace, underpinned by verdant notes and finishing with the distinctive savory touch of umami. The descriptors used to capture the flavor profile of Matcha cater to a wide array of taste preferences.

  • plant-like

  • sugary

  • richly creamy

  • reminiscent of wheatgrass

  • gently biting

  • robust in character

  • briskly effervescent

For some individuals, the combination of earthy tones paired with sweetness in Matcha taste can be something their palate adapts to over time. Many people are instantly captivated by its soothing vegetal finish, which marks a clear departure from other teas’ more pronounced tannic qualities.

Matcha tea differs from classic green tea for a number of reasons. Firstly, matcha tea leaves, otherwise known as tencha, are shade-grown for three weeks, allowing them to produce more theanine, which balances the caffeine content to induce a sense of calm alertness. Secondly, the leaves are destemmed, creating a softer, more nuanced flavor. And lastly — because you’re ingesting the whole leaf instead of a steeped tea, you get 100% of the health benefits! These are some of the difference between matcha vs green tea.

Louise Chedle, co-author of The Book of Matcha, explained the difference succinctly. When you drink green tea, “it is a bit like boiling spinach, throwing away the spinach and just drinking the water. You will get some of the nutrients, but you’re throwing away the best bit.” 

Of course, Encha Matcha is always sourced from our organic farm in the hills of Uji, Japan.  Matcha connoisseurs consider Uji to have the ultimate terroir for matcha growth and cultivation, yielding the most premium matcha in the world. Our farms never use chemical fertilizers or pesticides, making our tea pure and USDA certified organic. Plus, we never use sweeteners, so you get pure matcha without any fillers or additives. 

Caffeine Content: Matcha vs. Other Beverages

Matcha stands out in the realm of caffeine, creating a unique intersection between the mild energizing effects of green tea and coffee’s robust buzz. With its 60-70 mg caffeine content per serving, Matcha delivers an enhanced energy level compared to traditional green tea which offers only 25-45 mg. While it surpasses green tea, even black tea with its slightly higher caffeine range of 45-75 mg can’t offer the enduring boost that matcha provides. Coffee still tops them all at 80-110 mg per cup.

The key to Matcha’s sustained energy is found in its fusion of caffeine with L-theanine—a compound that modulates how caffeine is absorbed by the body—resulting in a steady surge rather than the abrupt peak and crash associated with coffee consumption. The smooth escalation of alertness afforded by matcha makes it a superior selection for individuals looking for consistent and extended wakefulness during their day.

How to Properly Store and Handle Matcha

Preserving the natural attributes of Matcha requires precise storage conditions. An impermeable container acts as a defense against oxidation, while shielding from light is critical to preserve its distinctive vibrant green color and taste profile. For superior preservation efforts, Miron Violet Glass Jars are unmatched protectors, effectively filtering out harmful rays and sealing in Matcha’s fragrant qualities. Refrigeration provides an ideal climate that guarantees ongoing freshness and efficacy.

Must Read: How to Store matcha

One must be vigilant about humidity—a relentless enemy capable of degrading Matcha’s flavor and leading to undesirable clumps—making moisture management imperative.

To fully savor the peak flavors of Matcha, it is recommended to consume it within several months after opening so every serving remains as compellingly flavorful as when initially unsealed.

Preparing Traditional Matcha and Matcha Lattes

The traditional preparation of Matcha embodies both minimalism and elegance. Utilizing a fine mesh strainer and a quick-moving whisk, one transforms Matcha powder along with hot water into an exquisite drink topped by a light frothy layer. When seeking something more decadent, the velvety Matcha latte serves as an opulent option. It begins similarly but is enhanced when steamed milk—whether almond, oat or coconut—is introduced to create a smooth concoction that playsfully flirts with your taste buds.

Must Read: How to Make Matcha Latte

Each type of milk imparts its own twist on the latita experience. For instance, full-fat coconut milk offers depth for those seeking intensity in their drink, while lighter varieties lend subtlety. The level of sweetness also invites personalization according to preference through alternatives like maple syrup, honey or stevia — each choice ensuring the customization of the beverage’s flavor profile. Whether enjoyed traditionally or as part of a richer latte ensemble at home, this signifies how seamlessly this time-honored practice has been adapted for modern enjoyment.

Replacing Coffee with Matcha: Benefits and Considerations

Transitioning from coffee to Matcha isn’t just about a different taste experience. It’s an entire shift in how you live. The benefits of Matcha include:

  • Gradual and consistent energy delivery, unlike the sudden peaks and troughs associated with coffee

  • A sustained and even feeling of vigor

  • Calmness that pacifies the mind

  • An abundance of antioxidants along with anti-inflammatory properties

The calm yet alert state one achieves without experiencing nervousness or a caffeine crash is why numerous people are embracing Matcha as a comprehensive substitute for their usual daily intake of coffee or regular green tea.


As we reach the end of our exploration into the vibrant world of Matcha, we reflect on a journey that has taken us from ancient traditions to modern-day kitchens. Matcha is more than a tea; it’s a historical artifact, a cultural icon, a nutritional powerhouse, and a versatile ingredient. It offers a unique flavor, health benefits that rival modern supplements, and a ritual that grounds us in the present. In embracing Matcha, we invite a piece of Zen into our lives, a tranquility that can be found in the whisper of a whisk and the warmth of a cup cradled in our hands. May this guide inspire you to discover the serene energy and rich heritage that Matcha has to offer.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is matcha made out of?

While matcha is produced by shading and finely grinding young green tea leaves into a delicate powder, conventional green tea powder comes from mature sun-exposed tea leaves that are crushed using air pressure.

What does matcha do to your body?

Packed with caffeine and amino acids, matcha boasts a high concentration of antioxidants. These may aid in shielding cells from harm and reducing the risk of various illnesses.

Research indicates that matcha could mildly contribute to weight reduction and maintenance efforts.

How does the flavor of ceremonial grade matcha differ from latte grade matcha?

Latte grade matcha possesses a robust flavor that complements milk, creating an ideal mix for a soothing drink, whereas ceremonial grade matcha delivers a finely smooth and subtly grassy taste designed to be savored with water.

Can matcha help improve cognitive functions?

Indeed, matcha possesses the ability to bolster cognitive abilities such as memory enhancement and sharpening of focus, while also aiding in the smooth transition of attention from one task to another—all without inducing nervous agitation.

For those seeking mental clarity and improved brain function, consider making matcha a regular part of your daily regimen to reap its cognitive advantages.

What are some tips for storing matcha to maintain its quality?

Preserve the integrity of your matcha by keeping it in a container that is both sealed tightly and opaque, situated inside your refrigerator. This safeguards it from light and dampness. To ensure you experience its freshest flavor, make sure to consume the matcha within several months after first opening it.