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Welcome to our updated 2022 matcha buying guide.
A lot has changed since I first wrote this buyers guide when my wife and I were on our very own matcha discovery journey.
Now more than ever, we're starting to see matcha appear on the shelves of mainstream supermarkets.
Coles, ALDI and Woolworths have all introduced price attractive matcha offerings.
T2 also sells a premium grade matcha and there are many new merchants popping up online to make your buying choice even harder.
So where do you start and what influences you're buying decision.
Is it price? quality? organic vs non-organic? Where was it cultivated? Is it Japanese matcha? Chinese matcha? or matcha from Korea?
Is it for baking, workout smoothies, lattes or maybe your preference is to drink it as a straight up pure matcha tea?
By understanding your purpose we can easily resolve which matcha is right for you.
Naturally, I was going to start with price. But in fact, defining your purpose will lead us to your final choice much quicker.
If your main purpose for drinking matcha tea is for its health benefits then the decision is narrowed down to just a few.
If health benefits are your main objective, then my advice is to buy matcha green tea that originates from Japan.
Because factors such as pollution levels and soil contamination are far lower in Japan than other tea producing countries such as India and China.
China burns about half of the world’s coal, releasing heavy metals such as mercury and lead into the atmosphere and impacting soil quality.
China is one of the world’s biggest tea exporters, but their rapid industrialisation has raised concerns about contamination with lead. The more lead there is in the soil, the more lead there is that ends up in the tea leaves.
And this is a massive factor when consuming tea for health reasons as it defeats the purpose of drinking tea for health in the first place.
Now all soil in our industrialised world contains traces of heavy metals. There's no escaping that. The damage has already been done.
There are traces of metals in all Japanese and Chinese teas and everything we eat for that matter.
However, the pollution levels in prominent Japanese farming areas are far lower than most countries in the industrialised world.
As a result, Japanese teas are very safe to drink.
In fact we had our Japanese matcha tea independently tested right here in Australia.
The matcha testing results from our Australian labs show that the traces were well below the stringent Australian guidelines set as safe to drink.
So if you want the matcha benefits and want to drink regularly to maximise those health benefits, then pick a Japanese originating matcha that has been tested for both heavy metals and radiation.
Also be sure to read our Matcha potency lab results where we sent our EISAI pure matcha tea to get tested for compounds such as l-theanine, EGCG, caffeine and a whole host of other nutrient rich natural compounds
Now if health benefits are not your main objective then you can easily settle for a budget grade matcha which can be found in bulk on eBay or Amazon at a fraction of the price... but you've be warned.
From what I can tell the Matcha powder sold by Woolworths and Coles originate from Japan... and that leads us nicely to the next topic of Matcha Grades.
The range of grades available for matcha are huge. Ceremonial grade, premium grade, culinary grade and some brands don't mention grade at all.
Matcha grade is directly related to how the tea is farmed, picked and processed.
The differences between a ceremonial grade matcha and culinary grade matcha can be identified as follows:
Tea leaves are from first Flush (Spring harvest). End of April or beginning of May
Tea leaves from second to late harvest.
Picked from younger tea leaves from the upper part of the tea plant known to exhibit a subtle and sweeter taste
Picked from the lower part of the tea plant which has been exposed to more sun
Stems and veins of the tea leaves are filtered out and only the 'softest' (hence sweetest) part of the baby leaves are kept
Culinary matcha can contain a mix of tea leaves with veins and stems
Ceremonial matcha is ground down to an ultra find powder using granite stone mills.
This is a very slow process and ensures that tea leaves are not exposed to high heat which destroys the nutrient content of the tea.
This process can take up to 1 hour to ground only 20g of matcha powder!
Culinary grade matcha is ground down much faster using machines which effectively pulverises the matcha to powder.
The labour intensive hands-on approach it takes to produce ceremonial grade matcha is the reason why a high-quality, delicious tasting and safe to drink matcha comes at a premium cost.
So back to your purpose.
If your purpose is to enjoy matcha tea as a pure drinking tea, then definitely choose a ceremonial grade matcha.
On the other hand, if your purpose is to bake and cook with matcha then save yourself some money and opt for a lower grade matcha where the smoothness of ceremonial matcha is not warranted so much.
One thing to note though, is that lower grade matcha powder tends to lack that vibrant green hue.
Typically lower grade matcha will be yellowish and dull in colour and this will be evident in your culinary experiments...unless of course you cheat and add some food colouring!
In this video guide we demonstrate the difference between our ceremonial grade matcha ($35 - $40 value) vs an ordinary everyday matcha ($20 -$25 value)
Purematcha Australia is your exclusive Australian supplier of the best organic Matcha tea’s direct from Japan.
We have built strong relations with a family run tea farm in Uji, which is in the Kyoto region of Japan.
Uji is recognised around the world as the birthplace of matcha in Japan and is also renowned for producing the highest quality Japanese Matcha teas in all of Japan.
Purematcha tea's are sourced direct from an Organic farm in Uji, Japan.
Our Purematcha Japanese tea farmers follow 300 year old traditional methods for cultivating and harvesting Matcha tea. This means that the Matcha we supply to everyday Australian’s is the genuine article and the crème de la crème.
For starters our green tea’s are organically certified as per the JAS standard.
Meaning, there are no traces of chemicals or pesticides used to cultivate and harvest the tea.
The farm we buy our matcha tea only use natural fertilisers to harvest the tea.
The safety of our range of green tea’s is very important to us. To back that statement up, we sent our range of Matcha teas to ARPANSA for Radioanalytical tests.
All tests passed with flying colours having registered below levels of detection.
Cesium 134 (<2 Bq/kg): Not Detected ✓
Cesium 137 (<2 Bq/kg): Not Detected ✓
Sample test date: 13th August 2019.
Report reference: FA19-089
In addition to testing for radiation levels in our tea, we often get asked if our matcha tea has been tested for Heavy metals such as lead in matcha tea.
We used Australian Government agency (National Measurement Institute) to test for traces of Heavy Metals in our Matcha tea. Again, all tests passed with flying colours.
Total recoverable trace elements by ICP
Arsenic (<0.05 mg/kg): Not Detected ✓
Cadmium (0.02 mg/kg): Well below guidelines ✓
Lead (0.08 mg/kg): Well below guidelines ✓
Mercury (<0.01 mg/kg): Not Detected ✓
Sample test date: 30th June 2020
Report reference: N20/015248
Testing agency: NMI (National Measurement Institute)
Official documentation is available by request.
Our Kozan-Ji matcha tea is a premium quality culinary matcha and is ideal for cooking, baking, creating matcha lattes and adding into your smoothies.
The tea leaves used in our Kozan-ji matcha are machine picked making the cost of the matcha more suitable for everyday culinary use. But don’t be fooled by the culinary label.
This is still a great tasting matcha and has a well rounded flavour making it good enough for drinking Matcha Tea.
Each year the matcha tea harvest begins in April/May.
The first flush, is defined as being the very first plucking of the tea plants’ harvest season; the leaves plucked in the First Flush are always the most tender and of the highest quality.
The baby tea leaves are de-stemmed & de-vinned, steam dried and then refrigerated for storage. The tea leaves are only ground down into matcha when we place the order with the farm.
This makes our Purematcha teas supremely fresh, meaning that you’re getting the most out of the nutrients that Matcha is famed for.
Each Purematcha pouch is stamped with a 12 month expiry which in effect indicates the date the tea leaves were ground to matcha and packaged (12 months prior to the date stamped on the pouch).
Purematcha’s Kozan-ji Matcha is made from the Yubukita cultivar, the most widely grown cultivar in Japan accounting for 77% of all tea plants in Japan.
Yabukita can be easily recognised by its long, straight, intense green leaf. Yubukita is popular amongst tea growers because of its high yield and its distinct umami flavour. It is frost resistant and can also be cultivated in different soils and climate.
EISAI ceremonial grade matcha comes from the Okumidori cultivar. This Uji grown cultivar is often reserved for the highest quality green teas because of its well rounded and naturally sweet umami taste.
When brewed, the texture is velvety, smooth and has a very rich creamy finish.
Matcha powder is such a versatile ingredient that we've written a whole recipe book of amazing food, drinks and treats to try.
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