Many of you might have tried Matcha in restaurants, but those who haven’t might wonder, “What does matcha taste like?”
So before we discuss the taste, let us understand what matcha is.
What is Matcha?
Zen monks are believed to have used matcha many centuries back to aid them in meditation. It indicates how beneficial this herb has been and the advantages matcha offers.
Matcha is unique powdered green tea made of green tea leaves from Camellia Sinensis. This centuries-old matcha powder tea is used in Japanese tea ceremonies that have recently become popular in the United States and many other countries. Unlike other teas, you drink the entire leaf in matcha rather than steeping it in hot water like green tea. It provides you with all the benefits of antioxidants and tea leaves.
It is known to improve energy levels, help maintain weight, and boost metabolism. So if you want to know a natural way to boost your health embrace matcha green tea. Read on to learn more about matcha and see why you should drink it.
Different Grades of Matcha
Ceremonial and culinary are the two most common and universal grades of matcha. Most companies make one or both; however, Encha has developed Latte, the new grade, to offer matcha drinkers a fresh taste.
Although all the grades differ in taste and purpose, you cannot classify one quality as superior. The leaves for each grade are specially cultivated for their specific use, so you cannot say that one grade is better than the other.
The two matcha grades are:
1. Ceremonial Grade Matcha
Japanese use high-quality matcha for relaxation, meditation, and ceremonies; hence it gets the ceremonial name grade. It is made from the first harvest leaves, which are believed to contain more chlorophyll. The vibrant shade of green characterizes them and has a subtle flavor.
As the name signifies, you will get a decent quality tea-drinking experience which could ask for an extra dollar or two than culinary grade.
2. Culinary Grade Matcha
This grade is used for baking and cooking and is usually added to lattes and smoothies. Culinary grade is produced from leaves older than the ceremonial grade, usually from the second harvest.
The leaves have less chlorophyll and a less vibrant hue but a bolder flavor. The flavor blends perfectly with other ingredients. Culinary grade combines perfectly with cakes and cookies. You can also use it to give a nutritional boost to cereals and yogurt.
What Does Matcha Taste Like?
Matcha powder is whisked up with hot water to make a frothy drink. People also mix it with steamed milk to prepare a matcha Latte like a morning cup of coffee. This rich earthy tea has pleasant bitter and vegetal grassy notes. The flavor is more vegetal when the ceremonial form is whisked with hot water.
The umami taste of ceremonial matcha makes it irresistible and intensifies the flavor. People have their way of describing the taste, and some find it difficult to describe.
Various Matcha Tasting Notes
This section will better answer the question, “How does matcha taste like?” Everyone has taste preferences; some may like one taste while others differ. The different notes of matcha are given here:
1. Umami Notes
Umami is a unique taste that is described as a meaty taste. It is much similar to the taste of seaweed that has a meaty tinge without meat in it.
2. Sweet Notes
Since the matcha leaves have a hint of sweetness so you can get a subtly sweet flavor from the matcha powder, the sweetness perfectly combines with other flavors.
3. Bitter Notes
The natural taste of matcha is bitter as it is a powder of tea leaves. However, the bitterness will either be noticeable or subtle depending upon the quality of the leaves but never overwhelming.
4. Vegetal Notes
Matcha powder tastes grassy or similar to vegetable taste to some as it is the powder of leaves. The steaming and shading processes make the powder richer in flavor and enhance the vegetable taste.
Factors that Affect Matcha Taste
Matcha goes through many processes before you can use it. Various factors distinctively affect its taste, which will help you understand “what does matcha tea taste like?”
Here are some prime factors that affect the taste of matcha:
a) Origin of Matcha
The origin of matcha is one of the top factors that play a vital role in the taste. Aichi and Kyoto in Japan are renowned for the highest quality of matcha powder. Matcha plantations in these two places are taken with utmost care and considered art. So, if you want best- taste highest-quality matcha, buy one of Japanese origin.
b) Type of Water
Water is the main ingredient in matcha, which will impact the aroma and flavor. Tap water that comes through pipes can change the taste of matcha, so use fresh spring water. Hard water or tap water can give matcha a strong aftertaste, whereas spring water will bring out the subtle flavors of matcha as it is alkaline and provides minerals. Filtered water is also preferred as it doesn’t affect the natural matcha flavors.
c) Temperature of Water
The temperature of the water is another vital factor that affects the taste of matcha. In the absence of a temperature-setting tea kettle, boiling water can taste bitter. Let the boiling water cool slightly to lower the temperature before adding matcha powder. Water temperature must not be more than 80 C (175 F) when using boiled water.
d) Matcha Powder to Water Ratio
There are two main methods of processing Japanese matcha, they are:
e) Grades of Matcha
The two grades of matcha also have different taste profiles. The ceremonial grade is naturally sweet with a vegetal, grassy flavor, whereas the culinary quality is boldly flavored, making it an excellent addition to lattes.
f) Oxidation Process
Exposure of matcha to air starts the oxidation process. The food pigments begin to brown, which gives matcha powder a bitter taste and vegetal flavor. Oxidation, thus, ultimately affects the taste of matcha. Therefore storage of matcha is vital and discussed later.
g) Method of Farming
The origin, how the plant grows, and what pesticides are used are vital to determining the taste of matcha. Using chemicals will affect the flavor, so it is always advisable to prefer organic matcha. It is more critical because you consume the whole ground tea leaf when consuming matcha.
h) Use of Sweeteners
Adding any sweetener or a small amount of sugar to suit your taste will help you mask the subtle bitterness, thus affecting the natural flavor.
How Much Caffeine in Matcha?
Matcha is an instant energy and mood booster. Unlike other traditional tea varieties, it also has more caffeine content as you consume the whole ground leaf. Matcha has about 60mg of caffeine per serving, about two-thirds of the caffeine content of coffee but much similar to that of black tea.
Matcha thus gives the drinker a calming alertness and morning boost. It enhances concentration without giving jitters.
What are Matcha Benefits?
Matcha is rich in oxidants and nutrients. It offers anti-inflammatory properties. Matcha has high levels of catechins and EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), the plant compounds which reduce the risk of many diseases.
Some of the top matcha benefits are:
Seeing the benefits of matcha and its vast nutritional value, it rightly qualifies as a superfood.
Benefits of Matcha for Skin
Ceremonial matcha is high in nutrients and antioxidants. If you want to improve the health of your skin naturally, add matcha to your daily diet routine.
Matcha is rich in chlorophyll, the main element of green leaves known to boost skin health. Besides chlorophyll and antioxidants, matcha has vitamins A, C, E, zinc, and magnesium. Moreover, matcha also provides l-theanine, an amino acid known to enhance alertness without getting jitters.
Here are some of the main benefits that matcha provides to the skin:
How to Choose Quality Matcha Tea?
After reading about Matcha’s benefits, you must be interested in adding it as a daily drink. Before you buy Matcha, you must be eager to know how to choose the top quality matcha. Several factors are vital to choosing Matcha, including grade, type, quality, etc., as every matcha brand is different.
Some of the factors that you can consider while choosing matcha are:
Origin is one of the main factors determining the taste and quality of matcha. I prefer matcha of Japanese origin as it is the best. Japanese take matcha cultivation as a ritual; pollution is minimum, use of pesticides is restricted due to stringent agriculture laws. Try buying Japanese organic matcha and enjoy the benefits of high-quality matcha.
b) Visual Cues
Visual appearance is the first criterion for buying anything, and the physical properties of matcha can be a deciding factor. You can only consider taste if you taste it, but visual cues can help you choose good quality matcha. If matcha is more vibrant, it will be higher in quality. Whereas the use of fertilizers and pesticides can change the flavor and taste of the match, thus mislead on quality parameters.
Browner leaves indicate that they were either not shaded properly or harvested later. Both of these considerably affect the flavor and health benefits of matcha. Additionally, increased exposure to water or oxygen enhances the oxidation process turning matcha brown and changing its taste.
c) Flavor Note
The flavor is another vital factor in deciding to choose matcha. The top-quality matcha will have pleasant vegetal notes. It will not have astringent bitterness, nuttiness, or a smooth sweetness.
What is the Taste of a Matcha Latte?
Matcha latte combines matcha with milk and sugar. If you like, you can add vanilla flavoring, too. Milk and adding sugar make the matcha latte creamy and sweet but still maintain the distinct flavor of matcha. Vanilla flavoring and other ingredients mask bitterness, but it is still vegetal.
People who do not prefer matcha due to its bitterness often enjoy matcha latte as sugar and milk soften it.
How to Make Matcha Latte
Gather the following ingredients:
Preparing a matcha latte is easy and a perfect drink to boost mood and energy.
What is the Taste of Iced Matcha?
Matcha can be served cold, so if you do not prefer hot drinks, iced matcha is an excellent choice. As we have discussed, the water’s temperature affects matcha’s taste so it will be milder. Therefore, iced matcha is mild and not intense when served cold but still vegetal and sweet.
Matcha Vs. Coffee
We know that many people love drinking coffee, but how much Matcha is consumed?
The popularity of Matcha, the tea made from ground tea leaves, has been growing in recent years, but which is better- match or coffee?
Here are the key findings:
You can pick the beverage as per your taste and preferences.
Matcha Vs. Green Tea
Green tea has established itself as one of the favorite drinks that provide many health benefits besides giving an energy boost. Let us find out the difference between green tea and matcha.
Here are some differences between matcha and green tea:
How to Make Matcha?
Matcha is easy to prepare. You can prepare it by following the below-given steps:
Preparing flavorful matcha is fast and easy compared to many other drinks.
Note that the leaves will get suspended in the water and not dissolve on whisking but settle down if you leave the tea for too long.
How to Improve the Taste of Matcha?
Matcha has a unique profile with a hint of bitterness, so not everyone may like to relish this famous tea. Although some people do not pick up new tastes, some additions can improve the taste of matcha if they still want to try and avail the health benefits.
Here are some of the ingredients and methods that you can try.
1) Add Vanilla Extract
Vanilla flavor matches perfectly with matcha, so adding some vanilla can wonderfully improve the taste. It will mask the bitterness and vegetal taste of matcha.
2) Add Sweeteners
Adding sugar or sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, and stevia will make matcha tolerable by putting the matcha taste in the background.
3) Try it Cold
Cold water makes matcha mild and tastes more appealing to those who do not like intense or bitter flavors.
4) Add Milk
Putting milk turns the match into a matcha latte, making it creamy, which is more decadent. People will accept the taste easily
5) Add Chocolate
Chocolate makes a perfect pair with matcha. You will find chocolate brands that have matcha in them. If you do not like the matcha taste, you can add your favorite chocolate, and you can enjoy the benefits of matcha
6) Use Salt
Adding a pinch of salt can make matcha taste better, making it a sweet and salty combo.
How Do You Store Matcha Properly?
The followings are some of the tips to store matcha:
High-quality matcha is a blend of flavors; it is sweet, with distinct vegetal tones and a hint of bitterness.
Matcha has loads of health benefits besides being an excellent refreshing drink. You have enough reasons to try matcha and easy methods to improve the taste to your liking. Last but not least, you must have got the answer to the most sought question “What does matcha taste like?