The traditional Japanese tea, known as Matcha is used for the ceremonies in Japan and offers a myriad of health benefits. Before this tea is ground into powder form, its leaves are referred to as “Tencha”, which are primarily made from green tea blends. This tea is made from leaves that are grown in shade whereas other green tea types like Gun Powder and Sencha are made from leaves grown in sunlight exposure.
Many people buy Matcha but aren’t quite sure of their authenticity because they are not trained to distinguish between the classic Japanese favorite from an inferior product. Not only does the higher quality green offer a smoother blend and less bitter taste, but it also is also priced according to its worth.
How To Spot Fake Japanese Green Tea?
Bitter taste: If you’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting good quality Matcha, you will have noticed a sweet and very little aroma on taking a sip. This smell exists due to the presence of L-Theanine, which is an amino acid present in leaves grown in the shade. L-Theanine is the main component that gives this tea its unique blend and the clean drinking taste. Fake or inferior grade matcha will have a bitter flavor due to lack of L-Theanine.
Brownish color: If you know how pleasant the color green can get, look for the same color in your choice of matcha determine its authenticity. This tea is incredibly vibrant green as growing in the shade forces the plant to overproduce chlorophyll, leading to its highly attractive color. A fake product would be slightly yellowish to brown in color because they may not have been properly shaded or harvested from the plants are lower stalk.
Place of origin: It is a widely accepted fact that the highest grade Matcha comes from Japan, which is essentially produced in two regions. Uji city in Kyoto and Nishio town in Aichi prefecture are the two of the most producing areas that comprise of nearly 80% of the total production in the country. But that’s not to say Matcha is produced in these regions alone; there are other several regions in Japan as well as countries like Taiwan and China that produce decent quality matcha.
Coarse to feel: Matcha looks and feels powdery than your regular tea leaf and has a particle size between 5 to 10 microns. The texture of an inferior quality product can be clearly distinguished as it would feel a lot coarser when you rub it between your fingers. So, the next time you go out to buy this tea, look for silky and powdery texture to know if it’s the real deal.
Price: Good things in life do not come cheap, and you can expect to pay a bit more for authentic matcha coming straight out of Japan. Sure, prices may vary from one place to another, but a standard of measurement like a 30 g tin costing anything between $26 -$35 is a good estimation for a quality product. Anything cheaper beyond than this price will probably be an inferior quality that will leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Japanese Green Tea contains about 25% more caffeine than black tea and has the best effects on health when the entire leaf is consumed. You can expect to get about two-thirds amount of caffeine in a single cup of matcha than what the regular coffee cup holds. Matcha is an excellent choice when you want to get the feeling of being alert while remaining calm, which is unlike anything that a strong caffeine-based drink can provide.
Apart from this unique nutritional benefit, it has all the properties of green tea that positively affects the central nervous system and contributes to a healthier body and mind.
Matcha purchasing tips
If you plan to buy the next batch online, than only trust a reputable seller (ie. Matcha Origin) that has a lot of positive reviews from people who’ve actually tested the product. Do not fall for the low price and discount trap, which will inevitably lead to you getting fake green tea with no nutritional value at all. If you want to buy from retail stores, then don’t forget to check the label for nutrition facts and place of production. You’ll only get your money’s worth if you are careful enough to buy authentic matcha that is just a pure delight in every way.