Matcha, or maccha, is powdered green tea, principally grown and manufactured in Japan. It can be part of the Japanese tea ceremony, or it may be added to certain foods to provide color and/or flavor. Soba noodles may get their green coloring from matcha, and most Americans familiar with Japanese dining have tasted matcha in the form of green tea ice cream.
Matcha is made with very specific tea leaves that have been covered a few weeks prior to harvesting, to slow growth and thus produce a greater share of amino acids. The leaves are then laid out flat on the ground to dry. Once dried, they are called tencha.
Tencha can then be made into the stone-ground matcha. Only tea that is first tencha can become matcha. Konacha is the name for other powdered teas that are not made from tencha.
Matcha varies in grades. The highest grades are very sweet and intensely flavored. This is due to the significant amounts of amino acids in the matcha. Less expensive versions may have a somewhat less intense flavor, and some have even called cheap matcha bitter.
Matcha used in a tea ceremony produces a thick drink called koicha. This is an expensive and highly prized portion of the tea ceremony. Generally matcha is mixed at a ratio of six teaspoons (about 30 cubic mm) to six ounces (.17L) of water. A thinner tea called usucha is made with a much lower matcha to water ratio. Even though matcha is considered sweet, koicha still has bitterness and may be served with a small candy to cut the ...