Many of us don’t understand the importance of knowing the difference in matcha grades. Some don’t even know the quality of the matcha and the green tea leaves they’re drinking.

Similar to how you compare the quality of beans for coffee, herbs in teas, or cacao in high-quality chocolate, different matcha quality and grades offer different flavor profiles and strength in umami flavoring; some are best for a water-based matcha tea, some are best for a latte, and others are better suited for cooking and baking.

ZenMatcha’s Quality Standard for Every Matcha Grade

Quality is everything to us at ZenMatcha Tea!

ZenMatcha Teas are destemmed and deveined whole green tea leaves ground under granite stone wheels to a fine powder no more than 9 microns in diameter. We choose a finer grind than most to allow you to enjoy more of the matcha goodness in your drink and less at the bottom of your bowl. Unlike a green tea infusion, when drinking ZenMatcha one consumes the whole leaf. It’s like drinking green tea on steroids and contains up to 137 times the anti-oxidants of plain green tea, providing the highest concentration of tea benefits known to man.

Why We Offer Different Grades of Matcha

At ZenMatcha, we offer four distinctive grades of matcha to our customers, and we’re often asked “why”? Our commitment is to offer the finest matcha at the best possible price. A similar analogy is wine: the better the growing conditions, soil, exposure, and even the rootstock itself, the better the grapes, and the more character and depth the wine will provide.

The same is true of Camellia sinensis (the green tea plant). Matcha has the complexity of what’s mentioned above, in addition to other factors, including the location of the branch on the tea bush, the location of the leaf on the branch, and age of the leaf. The most tender leaves come from the topmost ends of the branches, which have not yet been hardened by the sun. Our tea is proudly sourced from Japan, and our growers and producers have worked their land for generations to grow what we consider the finest leaves for each matcha grade.

Below, is a short description of each ZenMatcha grade and its flavor profiles so that you can make the best decision with your next matcha tea purchase:

Shogun Grade

Our highest and best grade, this organic blend is sourced from Kyoto, Japan, renowned for growing the finest matcha tea leaves in the world. It offers a subtle and sweet flavor with just the right balance of umami(^). Mix with water (no hotter than 140*) to awaken the flavor, delight the palate, and warm the soul. This blend is far superior to what some might call a “ceremonial” grade, which would be used in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, and has been referred to by some as “heaven in a bowl” for its sweet and delicate flavors. (BTW, there is no standard for “Ceremonial” Grade ~ buyer beware!)

Premium Grade

Our Premium grade is a wonderful blend of the finest topmost leaves from our grower in Nishio, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. For those who like a bit more umami, this blend works best mixed with water (no hotter than 140*). The softer, very subtle flavors also make it a great grade for those that like a sweet matcha latte without adding any sweeteners.

Artisan Grade

This matcha grade offers a stronger umami flavor that’s grassy and pleasantly herbal. For those that like their daily cup of matcha, this is the grade for you! Mix it with almond, coconut, hemp or dairy milk to make a delightful latte. It’s also the best bang for the buck when considering balancing flavor against cost, and is a great starter blend for those beginning their ZenMatcha journey or as a daily staple for the ZenMatcha enthusiast.

Mixing Grade

This blend stands out with our strongest umami flavors and was developed for all of your matcha cooking and baking creations. Great in lattes, ice cream and baked goods, it boldly exhibits its matcha flavor in culinary creations. For those who prefer a strong matcha taste, this blend offers the most umami flavor at the most wallet-friendly price point.

(^) – Umami: a savory taste, one of the five basic tastes (along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty).

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