Matcha is growing in popularity and so are the amount of companies that are making this powdered green tea available. The downside to the vast options is that it can make shopping for matcha overwhelming. But having an in-store matcha shopping experience is a bit different than shopping for high quality matcha online. You’re at a disadvantage because you don’t get the chance to sample the tea therefore you have no way to experience the aroma, feel and taste to tell if the matcha is authentic. The important thing to note here is that not all matcha is equal. Here’s a quick story about what inspired this blog post topic.
Sometimes I receive emails from readers with matcha questions. There was one email in particular that really stood out. This person was asking if the matcha she has been buying is high quality and worth it because she couldn’t afford it anymore. She went on to tell me that it is sold through a gym and is $100 (!!) for a 30 day supply. Yikes! After some research, I saw that this matcha was marketed as a health supplement and, truthfully, wasn’t really matcha at all. Drink whatever matcha you enjoy but getting ripped off isn’t fun. This reader’s Japanese green tea wasn’t sourced from Japan, and I don’t even think we can call this stuff matcha as it was filled, and I mean filled, with so much other “superfood” ingredients and artificial junk.
Learning how to tell the difference between a low and high quality matcha online can take some practice, but will be worth it in the end when you find one you love. To help, here are 6 things to pay close attention to when shopping for high quality matcha online.
When Buying High Quality Matcha Online Look At…
Everyone loves that eye-catching bright green matcha colour, but that’s not how every matcha out there looks. The first way to get a better insight on the quality of the matcha you are buying is to make sure the matcha is actually green. It is a green tea after all. However, you’ll be surprised at the amount of matcha that is brown and very dull. The best matcha will be a vibrant green. When shopping online, brands should have pictures of the matcha packaging and inside contents on their website. Be wary if a brand doesn’t show the actual matcha green tea powder on their website because if you have high quality matcha why wouldn’t you want to show it off? Also, note that images can easily be edited, and most of the time, you can tell if the saturation has been altered on a photo to make the matcha look brighter than it actually is. That’s why the colour of the matcha isn’t the only way to tell if you’re buying great quality online!
Another factor to consider is where the tea was grown, harvested and processed. While matcha can be sourced from various countries, it is said the higher quality comes from Japan. I know there are some people out there who don’t mind matcha from other countries. Before I ever knew much about matcha the one I drank regularly was not from Japan. It turned me off from the green tea right away, but I kept trying to like it. It wasn’t until I had Japanese matcha to compare it to that I noticed the quality I was missing! So, if you can, I suggest doing side-by-side comparison of Japanese matcha and matcha from elsewhere to really understand the differences in appearance, aroma and taste. There are different regions in Japan that matcha can be sourced. Uji (my favourite) and Nishio are the top spots!
I think this can be one of the most overlooked steps when shopping for matcha online. I guess it’s because matcha is supposed to be just that and nothing else but that isn’t always the case. Just like other food items you may buy, checking the ingredients list beforehand can save you any trouble in the long run. Unfortunately, matcha with filler ingredients is out there as this is a great way for companies to offset the cost. So, check the ingredients list and make sure it is nothing but 100% pure matcha. No additives. No artificial or natural flavours. No sugar. Ever.
This isn’t the greatest way to tell if a matcha is high quality, but it can be helpful after you have checked off the above points. The reason for this is that some companies can still overprice lower quality matcha and then there are many cases when you might see 80-100grams of matcha being sold for only $20-$30. If it sounds a bit too good to be true, then it is probably more of a “culinary” grade matcha being sold as “ceremonial” grade. In other words, not something you would want to use to just make as a hot tea. However, this doesn’t mean you should be paying an extremely high price for a high quality. A fair price for great matcha is about $1 per gram. You can definitely find ceremonial matcha being sold in 30-40 grams tins or pouches with a $30-$40 price point.
Like other products sold online, reviews are a great way for consumers to learn about others’ experiences with tea. I wouldn’t base your thoughts entirely on one review though, as tea is all about taste preferences. However, I admit that most teas I try today are from recommendations from fellow tea drinkers. Another thing to keep in mind is to not just rely on matcha reviews that are directly on a company’s website. The company can control those reviews. I would highly recommend checking out reviews on forums and tea blogs as the bloggers have control of their own thoughts there. If you come across a matcha online but you’re not certain about the quality and worth, don’t be afraid to reach out to a seasoned tea drinker, like a blogger, to get their advice, too.
Honestly, if you can’t find any of this information on a company’s website or have more questions about the matcha they are selling, don’t hesitate to send them an email. The way I see it…someone selling high quality matcha online should be very familiar with their Japanese green tea and have no problem answering your questions to learn more before you make a purchase! 🙂
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*If you still need some help finding high quality matcha that is at an affordable price, be sure to check out my top 5 favourite matcha brands.
Do you have any additional tips when it comes to shopping for high quality matcha online? Share in the comments below!