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Chinese vs Japanese Matcha | PANATEA Blog

You’ve aligned your chakras, slurped your breakfast smoothie, and prepared your morning matcha shot — the day is off to a healthy start! But what if your caffeine-fix isn’t actually matcha at all?

As demand for matcha surges worldwide, more companies are capitalizing on its popularity and entering the market. While we don’t want to rain on tea lovers’ parade of new products to try, we’d like to clarify the difference between Chinese and Japanese matcha for the newbies.

Ceremonial powdered tea actually originated in China and was brought to Japan in the 12th century. Over time matcha became less popular in China but remained an essential part of tea ceremonies in Japan, where it has been cultivated consistently for 800 years. Chinese producers only re-entered the market about 15 years ago. While the soil in southern Japan produces a foam-tastic matcha with an earthy flavor, China’s harvest has a sandy texture that doesn’t foam as well. Unlike Japanese cultivators, Chinese farmers don’t typically grow their tea plants in shade or air dry the leaves after steaming. This important difference leaves the Chinese powder duller in color and lacking in taste. For matcha purists, “Chinese matcha” is not actually matcha at all, but simply green tea powder.

As the gold (but green) standard for matcha, PANATEA only uses the real deal from Nishio, Japan for both our culinary and ceremonial grade tea. So enjoy that morning cup of green goodness knowing you’re getting only the best: the culmination of an 800 year old tradition.

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