Ceremonial vs. Culinary Grade Matcha

You may have been wondering about the difference between the two grades of Matcha green tea powder that we offer – Ceremonial and Culinary. Is one better than the other, and which one should you get?

What’s the Difference Between Ceremonial & Culinary Matcha?

Ceremonial and Culinary grade matcha tea are made from the same tea plants, however different harvest times, leaves used, and processing methods result in two very different matchas. Which one to use depends on how you will use it and your personal preferences. Read on for a breakdown of the unique qualities of ceremonial and culinary grade matcha, as well as our suggestions for how to use each.

Ceremonial Grade Matcha

difference between ceremonial and culinary grade matchaHow to Use Ceremonial Matcha

Ceremonial grade matcha is ideal for straight matcha tea: just the matcha powder and hot water. While you can make matcha lattes with ceremonial matcha, the milk and sweetener tend to mask the complexity of its flavor so if you want that clean, amazing matcha flavor at its purest, go for a traditional cup of matcha.

However, if you love a creamier and sweet brew go ahead and add make a latte. For some inspiration, here are four easy ways to make matcha.

Taste and Appearance of Ceremonial Matcha

Veritable ceremonial grade matcha has a bright, vibrant green color and is incredibly smooth, creamy, nutty, complex, grassy, sweet yet savory, light, and uplifting, with notes of dark chocolate.

How Ceremonial Matcha is Made

Ceremonial grade is the highest matcha grade available. It is made from the youngest tea leaves that are harvested in early spring. In the weeks prior to harvest, the tea plants are deliberately shaded. Shade-grown leaves are sweeter and have higher levels of amino acids and chlorophyll, which gives matcha that unmistakable brilliant green hue. All the stems and veins are removed from the leaves, resulting in a very smooth and fine texture. Original flavor, quality, and high antioxidant levels are preserved by slowly grinding the leaves, without creating any heat from friction in a granite mill. A single mill, with its meticulously slow process, can only produce about one ounce of matcha powder per hour. Learn more about the steps of the matcha production process.

Culinary Grade Matcha

difference between ceremonial and culinary grade matchaHow to Use Culinary Matcha

If you love making matcha lattes or adding matcha to your smoothies or baked goods, Culinary Grade Matcha is the way to go. It’s much more affordable so you can really get creative in your culinary adventures.

Taste and Appearance of Culinary Matcha

Culinary matcha is lighter in color and more robust in flavor, making it perfect for recipes. While ingredients like milk and sweetener can overpower delicate ceremonial matcha, culinary matcha shines through with its powerfully nutty, green, bitter, and umami flavor.

How Culinary Matcha is Made

Culinary grade matcha is also made with young tea leaves, but they are usually more mature than ceremonial grade matcha. The leaves are picked in the second round of harvest, known as second-flush, in late spring. These leaves have a stronger flavor and coarser texture. Culinary matcha is ground at higher speeds, which makes the final product more affordable.

By Chloe Bolton