We seek to source and provide the world’s best matcha tea, build lifetime relationships, share matcha culture, give back more than we take, and better the lives of our customers and our community. Our aim is share our knowledge on the merits, health benefits, and spirit of matcha.
In China during the Tang dynasty (618–907), tea leaves were steamed and formed into tea bricks for storage and trade. The tea was prepared by roasting and pulverizing the tea, and decocting the resulting tea powder in hot water, then adding salt. During the Song dynasty (960–1279), the method of making powdered tea from steam-prepared dried tea leaves, and preparing the beverage by whipping the tea powder and hot water together in a bowl became popular.
Preparation and consumption of powdered tea was formed into a ritual by Chan or Zen Buddhists. The earliest extant Chan monastic code, titled Chanyuan Qinggui (Rules of Purity for the Chan Monastery, 1103), describes in detail the etiquette for tea ceremonies.
Zen Buddhism and the Japanese methods of preparing powdered tea were brought to Japan in 1191 by the monk Eisai. In Japan, it became an important item at Zen monasteries and from the 14th through to the 16th centuries was highly appreciated by members of the upper echelons of society. Although powdered tea has not been popular in China for some time, a global resurgence is now occurring in the consumption of matcha, including in China.
Ceremonial grade supposedly designates tea of a quality sufficient for its use in tea ceremonies and Buddhist temples. Almost always ground into a powder by granite stone mills, it is expensive (around US$100–140 for 100 g). The unschooled drinker is unlikely to notice a large difference between ceremonial and premium grades. There is no distinct set of flavour characteristics designating the highest grade of matcha; some matchas are conspicuously sweet, some can be comparatively bitter with other characteristics to ‘compensate’; the full suite of aesthetic properties such as flavour, colour, and texture are important in the grading of matcha. All must necessarily be of a quality that can support the making of koicha (濃茶), the “thick tea” with a high proportion of powder to water, since this is the form of tea that defines the traditional tea ceremony.
It iPremium grade is high-quality matcha green tea that contains young tea leaves from the top of the tea plant. Price point is around US$50–80 for 100 g. Best for daily consumption, it is characterized by a fresh, subtle flavor, usually perfect for both new and everyday matcha drinkers alike.
Cooking/culinary grade is the cheapest of all ($15–40 for 100 g). Suitable for cooking purposes, smoothies etc. It is slightly bitter due to factors such as its production from leaves lower down on the tea plant, terroir, the time of harvest, or the process of its manufacture.