If you’re a fan of matcha, you know that always grabbing a drink at your favorite cafe can add up quickly. But if you’ve tried to whip up your daily latte at home, it can be a precarious process to try to replicate the same flavor or texture. You can start your journey in making matcha at home by understanding the difference in quality. Ceremonial grade matcha is the first harvest of tea leaves and is considered the highest quality with a fuller flavor profile, typically meant to be consumed alone. Culinary matcha is normally the second harvest in the summer or early autumn and is used in lattes or baked goods. When selecting the best matcha powder, it’s important to take into account quality and grade depending on what you plan to use it for.
Is tea your favorite pick-me-up drink of choice? Your drink might reveal a lot more about your personality than you think. A survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Celestial Seasonings examined personality differences between coffee and non-coffee drinkers. Nearly all tea drinkers (93%) place high importance on their health and strive to make healthful choices. While 92 percent of coffee lovers say the same thing, nearly two in five report their mental health is constantly weighed down by feelings of anxiety or stress (38%). That’s not the case with tea, where only 25 percent experience those same negative feelings. Matcha is a great option if you want a high quality tea with health benefits, minus the jitters.
If you’re looking to take care of your health, green tea may also help ward off Alzheimer’s. A study has found two compounds that reduce the buildup of harmful plaques in the brain — one of hallmarks of the disease. Importantly, these compounds are common ingredients in two popular drinks: green tea and red wine. Study authors say the green tea catechins are molecules in the tea leaves which have antioxidant properties.
Grab your tea kettle and get cozy, because StudyFinds did the research to find the best matcha powders on the market. If you’re looking for high quality matcha to make drinks at home, there are multiple options on the list for all price points. If you already make matcha at home, let us know your favorite brand in the comments below!
The List: Best Matcha Powders, According to Experts
Ippodo was the most commonly recommended brand across the sources we consulted, and the Ummon was the best variation. “If you’re looking for matcha to gift a tea lover (or an indulgence for yourself), consider this Ummon matcha powder from Ippodo,” says Food & Wine. “It’s earthy, smooth on the palate and complex with an umami flavor. This powder tastes best whisked with water until a frothy, thick consistency is reached, though it also works well sweetened or in a latte. This 20-gram canister will make about a dozen servings.”
Ippodo doesn’t classify their matcha powders as culinary or ceremonial grade, because even the blends they recommend for cooking are high enough quality to drink alone. Love & Lemons says, “I’ve used it for years to make matcha green tea, and I love its vibrant green color and balanced flavor. It tastes rich, deep, and earthy with only a hint of bitterness. It’s a great option for making both lattes and traditional matcha tea.”
“According to Ippodo, all of its blends are high-quality enough to drink on their own—even the Hatsu and Wakaki powders, which are suggested for baking,” explains Serious Eats. “For beginners, Ippodo suggests the Horai blend, which is a ‘light-hearted’ and smooth matcha for drinking traditionally or in lattes, while Ummon is a robust umami tea designed to be savored.”
Jade Leaf is a budget friendly but high quality brand of matcha you can easily access on retailers like Amazon. “While this Jade Leaf matcha costs a few dollars more per package than the Blue Willow above, the price per gram is 18 cents less, which is why we’ve designated it a slightly more affordable pick for drinks,” explains The Strategist. “Asia Lui Chapa, author of The Home Cafe, has been using it for five or so years — even longer than she’s been developing drink recipes.”
This powder has a sweet but balanced profile that is perfect for drinking alone but can be added to drinks or even smoothies. “For tea ceremonies, Jade Leaf Organic Ceremonial Matcha is a must have,” says Well & Good. “This farm-to-cup matcha is harvested in Uji and Kagoshima, Japan by family-run farms and is crafted by Morita-san, Jade Leaf’s tea master who has been creating matcha flavor profiles for over 50 years, making it ideal for tea ceremonies.”
“Jade Leaf Matcha was started in 2014 by two guys that loved matcha and found it difficult to buy high quality matcha at reasonable prices,” writes Matcha Connection. “They set out to change all of that and Jade Leaf Matcha was formed. One of our favorite things about Jade Leaf matcha is that they test their matcha and publish the results, so you always know exactly what you are getting. Jade Leaf is also one of our favorite powders for matcha lattes!”
Encha Matcha is sourced directly from organic farms in Japan and harvested immediately for maximum freshness and quality. “Encha Matcha was founded by Dr. Li Gong and is focused on the process of bringing Japanese Organic Matcha from the farm to cup,” writes Matcha Connection. “This process has resulted in complete control over the matcha and possibly the best brands of matcha powder that we have tried yet! Encha is grown in Uji Japan and is routinely tested for both heavy metals and radiation.”
Encha’s ceremonial matcha even has a subscription option so you can get your matcha delivered right on time. “If you want a high-quality matcha powder made from pure, organic first-harvest tea leaves, then the Encha Organic Ceremonial matcha powder is the way to go,” says Active. “This ceremonial grade matcha powder is made from the most tender matcha tea leaves from the first harvest to create a matcha powder with a smooth and delicate taste.”
“Matcha powder can be expensive, but price isn’t always correlated with quality,” explains VeryWellFit. “For a high-quality, budget-friendly product, consider Encha’s Ceremonial Grade Organic Matcha. The bright green powder comes in a convenient resealable pouch and doesn’t sacrifice quality for cost. The USDA Organic ceremonial grade matcha is made from leaves from the Uji mountains of Japan.”
If you want a starter option on a budget to test the waters, RISHI is a solid option. This is culinary, not ceremonial grade matcha, but still tastes great in lattes. “Characteristically, the RISHI tea fit the bill for a culinary-grade matcha powder,” writes a reviewer at Clean Plates. “Upon opening it, you could see the color was much more muted compared to the ceremonial-grade brands we tried. The matcha powder dissolved well and, while the flavor was more subtle than the ceremonial-grade teas, it was still very pleasant to drink and had minimal bitterness.”
This blend has about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee but will feel smoother than coffee due to the presence of L-theanine in green tea. “For newcomers to matcha, there are few more user-friendly blends than this matcha powder from Rishi,” explains Food & Wine. “With a reasonable price point and fine, clump-resistant powder, this canister is the perfect introduction to matcha. Although it is ground from second-harvest leaves, the flavor and color are more on par with a ceremonial-grade blend.”
According to Serious Eats, “It has more bitterness and a robust flavor because it is a blend of first- and second-harvest leaves, but would be a good all-purpose pick for daily lattes, smoothies, and baking.”
Golde is known for its “superfood” matcha blend with turmeric, but their ceremonial pure matcha powder comes highly recommended. “Golde is a Brooklyn-based brand that got its start with its popular Original Matcha Turmeric Latte Blend,” writes Vice. “(Basically, it’s like if golden milk and matcha had a baby; turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties and supports immune defense.) The company has since expanded into manufacturing pure, ceremonial-grade matcha powder sourced from small farms in Uji, Japan.”
Golde matcha is organically grown, certified radiation-free, and heavy metal-free. It’s also vegan, gluten free, and non-GMO. “Strategist-favorite brand Golde makes superfood products accessible — both in terms of price and in terms of how they’re presented (meaning, no high-minded, out-of-reach wellness rhetoric) — and its matcha is no different,” says The Strategist. “The powder comes in the company’s signature bright, bold packaging, but it’s the good stuff — ceremonial grade from Uji.”
“Golde’s matcha is sourced from shade grown tea leaves,” explains Good Housekeeping. “The shading process boosts the amount of chlorophyll and theanine, the cognitive boosting amino acid found in the tea leaves. Golde uses stone ground matcha leaves from Uji, Japan, a region known for producing some of world’s best matcha. It is a ceremonial grade green tea powder, which means it is better for drinking over culinary grade matcha that’s preferred for baking. It has a sweet and grassy flavor and tastes great hot, iced or served as a latte.”
You might also be interested in:
- Food & Wine
- Love & Lemons
- Serious Eats
- Good Housekeeping
- The Strategist
- Clean Plates
- Matcha Connection
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.