Matcha is utterly unique and tastes like nothing else. Quality matcha is more than a beverage. It is a way of life. A way of life where you slow down and take a moment, appreciate what is and take on the world with a calm mind.
But as with anything that grows quickly in popularity, not all matcha is made the same. With so many company’s vying for your mug, matcha’s unique characteristics are often lost in the shuffle and the focus is on mass production and trendy marketing above all else.
At Amoda, we want you to enjoy authentic matcha, matcha you can savour in those moments you set aside to sip. So, we’ve written this guide to help you have the best matcha experience possible.
Let’s get into it, what makes a quality matcha?
Japan is the home of matcha. The famous Japanese tea ceremony, renowned around the world, centers on the preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha. Over centuries, matcha has been so intrinsic to Japanese aesthetics, multiple books have been written about it. In Japan, matcha is not just a beverage, it’s a way of life. This is why, for hundreds of years, generations of Japanese producers have toiled to create quality matcha that is unmatched anywhere else. Matcha is not a commodity to them, it’s a craft.
As matcha explodes in popularity, producers in traditionally non-matcha areas of Japan, China and elsewhere are trying their hand at making it. Almost always, these new producers aim for quantity, not quality. Few of them are able to consistently match the craftwork that makes Japanese matcha so famous, craftwork that’s been developed and refined in specific areas of Japan over generations.
This is why we travelled to Japan, visited the tea fields and met our farmers and producers. Our matcha is sourced from Uji, a region of Japan that’s famous for quality.
When you stick your nose up close and take a deep, slow and careful inhale, your matcha smells fresh! Fresh vegetal and baby greens. You’ll love opening a fresh tin of our ceremonial matcha and breathing in the fresh aromas.
When assessing your matcha, check the colour. High quality matcha is a striking green. The greener it is, the more likely it is to be a higher grade of matcha. This is because quality matcha is shade grown, which forces the plants to produce more chlorophyll, making the colour more vibrant.
Pure matcha that isn’t properly shade grown, contains stems or branches or is old, will be a dull green or even yellowish. Believe us, friends don’t let friends drink brown matcha. Keep it vibrant, keep it green.
Remember that even the highest quality pure matcha tends to lose colour if it’s stored for long periods of time. To ensure a fantastic matcha experience, be sure to drink it within a year of it being milled. Once open, you should aim to finish the tin within a few months.
To really enjoy matcha, you need to whisk it so that the powder becomes finely distributed in the water with no clumps. When whisking matcha, beautiful creamy bubbles will evenly form at the surface. This will release wonderful aromas and essences that rise to the surface. At least, that’s the case with quality matcha.
When whisking matcha of lower quality, bubbles will be hard to form (if they form at all). The bubbles will not cover the entirety of the surface. As they form, they will disappear almost as soon as they are created.
It’s important to remember that the traditional Japanese method of whisking with a bamboo chasen takes some practice. If you’re not as proficient with the bamboo whisk or you’re looking for a way to make matcha in your favourite mug, opt for an electric frother instead. It works like a charm.
If you’ve never heard the term umami, welcome to a new world of flavour. Along with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty, umami is one of the five basic tastes. In the English-speaking world, umami is described as “savory” or “brothy,” but we feel such terms don’t justly describe umami taste.
Matcha’s distinctive umami is simultaneously vegetal with an alluring subtle sweetness. The umami is a result of the high amino acid content found in matcha. As soon as you finish the first taste, you’ll anticipate the next. The umami in matcha has to be experienced to fully understand.
In contrast, low quality matcha tastes more grassy or earthy than vegetal, lacks natural sweetness, and often overwhelms with bitterness. Any sweetness found is a result of additives such as sugar. More tellingly, umami flavour is often entirely lacking.
Each Amoda matcha, whether it’s our pure matcha or elixir blends, has distinct umami. Our matcha tastes vibrantly rich and vegetal.