Which matcha powder is best?
If you have made the switch to green tea for your health, or if you like to explore world cultures through their tea, chances are good you’ve already experienced matcha.
The word “matcha” comes from two Japanese words: “ma” for powder and “cha” for tea. This bright green powder is made from the shaded leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. Like bagged green tea, it boasts a powerful punch of antioxidants and chlorophyll with a bright flavor that matches its neon hue.
When you are looking for a versatile version that can be used for both drinking and baking, MRM Nutrition Matcha Powder is a good choice.
What to know before you buy matcha powder
Tea bag vs. powder
Matcha tea is by its definition meant to be used as a powder mixed with slightly above room-temperature water. This is great if you have the time to whisk your tea, but if you need something faster, a tea bag might work better.
Grade of tea
As with most teas, matcha is available in different grades:
- Culinary: This type of matcha is better suited for baking and mixing. The flavor can be slightly astringent and unpleasant in plain tea. It is not as expensive as ceremonial matcha.
- Ceremonial: Ceremonial matcha is the purest, finest powder available. The leaves’ stems and veins are removed for a smoother powder. Its flavor is strong and pronounced. This is best for drinking.
What to look for in a quality matcha powder
Organic matcha is produced without the use of chemicals or pesticides. Because tea is dried and then powdered, any pesticides can be further concentrated. It’s best to select organic matcha.
Stone-ground matcha is most often produced by small, artisanal makers. Instead of industrial grinding machines, stone mills produce matcha that reflects the region in which it was produced.
If you are trying matcha for the first time, its natural bitterness may be off-putting. If you prefer a little sweetness in your life, look for matcha made with cane sugar or other natural sweeteners. These are also a good choice if you plan to make matcha lattes.
Unless it is sweetened, the best matcha powder will have one ingredient: green tea. There should be no additives or preservatives.
No genetically modified ingredients
Legacy producers of matcha do not use GMOs in producing their tea. The inclusion of GMOs also prevents the tea from being labeled “organic.”
Whether you plan on baking or drinking your matcha in a formal tea ceremony, the finer the texture, the better it dissolves in water or other baking ingredients. Look for powders labeled fine, superfine, or ceremonial.
How much you can expect to spend on matcha powder
Matcha powder ranges in price depending on the quality of tea and its intended use, with culinary grade at the lower end and ceremonial teas commanding higher prices. Expect to spend $1-$20 an ounce.
Matcha powder FAQ
What are the potential benefits of matcha powder?
A. According to the National Institutes of Health, matcha has a variety of naturally occurring compounds that have potential health benefits:
- L-theanine: This amino acid provides energy without a corresponding crash. Proponents of matcha say that it promotes a sense of calm alertness rather than hyperactive jitteriness. It’s also present in green tea but in a significantly reduced amount. L-theanine may also help with stress and anxiety by increasing alpha wave brain activity.
- Chlorophyll: The bright green color of matcha indicates the presence of chlorophyll. As a detoxifier, chlorophyll helps the body flush toxins and heavy metals through the liver.
- Catechins: Matcha contains 137 times the amount of the cancer-fighting catechin epigallocatechin gallate. Catechins are antioxidants that may prevent some chronic illnesses.
For diehard coffee fans trying to cut down or eliminate caffeine, matcha is a great transitional beverage. It has two-thirds of the caffeine in coffee, so you can begin to cut back without the side effects of caffeine withdrawal.
How do you best use matcha?
A. A few simple tips:
- Adjust the amount of powder to make it as strong as you like.
- Use a bamboo matcha whisk or brush to help completely dissolve the matcha.
- Take your morning matcha as an opportunity to cultivate mindfulness. Slow down and sip thoughtfully.
- For best results in baking, use recipes designed to include matcha.
- Matcha can also be used as a DIY face mask. Mix 1 teaspoon of powder with honey to form a paste. Spread the paste evenly on your face and relax for 10-15 minutes. Wipe the paste off with a warm washcloth and moisturize as normal.
What’s the best matcha powder to buy?
Top matcha powder
What you need to know: This fine powder is great for use not only as tea, but also in baked goods.
What you’ll love: It is authentic Japanese matcha, naturally high in caffeine. The powder is smooth and easy to mix, so it works well in baking without leaving a gritty mouthfeel. It’s GMO- and gluten-free.
What you should consider: It is expensive, but its versatility makes it worth the price.
Top matcha powder for the money
What you need to know: This is a good entry point for people just beginning to explore the flavor of matcha.
What you’ll love: It’s made with Japanese matcha and sweetened with cane sugar. The tea is certified organic, and the company is a proponent of fair trade and environmentally friendly production practices.
What you should consider: If you prefer unsweetened tea, this is not for you.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This premium tea is designed for use in tea ceremonies and should not be used for matcha lattes or baking.
What you’ll love: Ground from premium fresh leaves, the powder is superfine and dissolves easily in the warm water the tea ceremony requires. Its taste is earthy and grassy, and it is not meant to be sweetened.
What you should consider: It’s very expensive, but for those who appreciate and practice the art of Japanese tea ceremonies it is an excellent choice.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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