What's the difference between powdered green tea and matcha ?

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

What is matcha?

To put it simply matcha is a type of japanese green tea. Matcha is a special type of powdered green tea. All green tea comes from the same plant, and differs from its farming process, harvesting process, drying, roasting and if matcha, milling process.

Part of Japanese culture for centuries, traditionally matcha was presented in a tea ceremony by the lady of the house to welcome her guests. Even today it is still an art, appreciated by our culture. Today, its more popular globally for lattes, cakes, icecreams and off course as a superfood for all of its health benefits.

What's the difference between matcha and green tea? You can also get normal plain green tea powder which appears like matcha as it is also a green powder, however tastes completely different. Plain green tea powder is slightly more acidic with a strong bitter aftertaste whereas matcha is much more smooth, aromatic with a sweet flavour and vibrant green colour. Unfortunately both in Australia and the global market, many distributors (in fact over 90%) and sellers are selling plain green tea powder as matcha. This is false advertising and the consumer pays high prices for what is not true matcha.

How to tell the difference????

In order to understand and see the difference its best to do tastings, look at the colour and fineness of the powder. Although both green, plain green tea powder tends to have a slight yellow tinge to its green in comparison to matcha. Matcha also oxidises much more quickly than plain green tea powder so colour change is evident once opened. Also see if the seller knows much about matcha itself. Matcha also is much more rich in antioxidant properties, nutrients and caffeine with a lot of health benefits.

Whats the difference in growing matcha and green tea?

As with all green teas, matcha is harvested from spring to autumn while in winter the soil is left to rest. The first season harvest in spring produces the best leaves of the year where the leaves appear more green and soft to touch. Traditionally, for producing matcha, we place dark sheets over our plantations several weeks before harvest. By doing this, all the chlorophyll, nutrients of the tea goes to the tips of the leaves as the plant tries to search for sunlight for photosynthesis. This then gives the matcha tea leaves a much more vibrant green colour and full of all the nutrients. However, by doing this process it also makes matcha more delicate and sensitive to light and heat. Once harvested, our leaves are then steamed and left to dry forming the raw material of matcha which we call "tencha". This tencha is then further processed by heat, roasting and then milled into powder form known as matcha. Tradionally stone milled matcha is a slow process but produces the finest matcha powder. It only produces 30g per hour! Off course today there is various methods of milling matcha in our manufacturing base. Also with matcha, you are essentially drinking the whole leaf with its nutrients as the tencha is milled into powder form whereas with green tea, you are drinking some nutritional elements that have dissolved from the leaves while brewing. What's the deal with people saying ceremonial matcha?