What does Matcha Taste Like?

What does Matcha Taste Like?

by Steve O'Dell June 04, 2018

The taste of matcha green tea has been enjoyed for many centuries by people all over the world. It was introduced to Japan by Chinese merchants around the year 1100 and since then has gained popularity over the centuries. Traditionally, the Japanese people would make the best matcha for tea ceremonies and over time it became a more and more important part of general Japanese culture. But, around the turn of the last century, matcha gained international prominence. Nowadays, matcha is not only consumed in drinks, but also in many desserts, cocktails, and special matcha recipes.

Generally, matcha tastes a little bitter but vegetal, and ceremonial grades of matcha can be very smooth, and sometimes even buttery or creamy. What matcha tastes like depends on three things including the matcha grade, the location of the farm, and the way in which you consume it. Let’s break this down.

The first factor in how your matcha tastes is the grade of matcha. Because matcha is like wine, there is a wide range of quality. For example, you can get very bad matcha which is also very cheap. This tends to be extremely bitter, biting and utterly unenjoyable in drinking form. However, this lower quality matcha can be used well in various desserts and baked goods. Don’t worry though, if you want a smooth and delicious matcha, you’ll be able to recognize the bad stuff by it’s brownish, murky green color. As you increase the quality of the matcha, the taste moves from bitter, to smooth and vegetal (aka, delicious).

The second factor in how your matcha will taste is the location of the farm where it grows. The main two locations for growing matcha are China and Japan. There is a distinct taste difference in the bitterness between Japanese and Chinese matcha. From an outsider's perspective, they may seem the same, but they’re totally different. Japanese matcha has a much more umami taste, which makes it the best matcha in the world. Whereas Chinese matcha, even of the same grade, will come out more bitter.

The final factor in the taste of matcha surrounds the way you consume the product. It is best to use more bitter matcha when baking or cooking because the flavor will shine through the heating process. Another popular way to consume matcha is in a latte. This will taste milky, smooth, and sweet depending on what milk you use.

However, if you want to truly make the best matcha flavor stand out, you need to drink it in a green tea shot. What is a green tea shot? Well, good question - it is a small shot of green tea. But seriously, it’s that simple. Picture yourself hitting the bars with friends, but instead of whiskey, you’re drinking tea. And it’s very easy to make a green tea shot, all you need to do it grab two grams of Tenzo (or more) and mix it with 2oz of water. Whisk or shake into a thick paste and then enjoy. But reminder - don’t use too hot of water or you’ll burn the matcha, and maybe your mouth, too!

Okay, so now that you know what’s going on you must be wondering… what is the best way to make matcha? Don’t worry, it’s very simple to make the smooth, umami flavor stand out. Here are three steps:

  1. You need a high-quality matcha - ceremonial grade.
  2. You need Japanese Grown Matcha
  3. You need to make it in a thick green tea shot.

Viola! You’re now on your way to becoming a matcha taste expert!

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Steve O'Dell
Steve O'Dell


Co-founder, CEO @ Tenzo Tea | Matcha Lover | Believer in Better

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