The Best Matcha Powder, According to a Daily Matcha Drinker

The Best Matcha Powder, According to a Daily Matcha Drinker

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If you’ve seen people all over your feed ditching coffee for a matcha latte, you’ve probably also done some window-shopping to find the best matcha powder so you can make this trendy drink at home. Matcha might be having a moment, but it isn’t exactly new: The practice of turning finely ground young tea leaves into a vibrant green beverage dates back nearly a thousand years. Matcha boasts a boost of antioxidants and the amino acid L-Theanine, which is thought to promote relaxation and jitter-free, sustained energy. The highest quality matcha, as you’ll see below, comes from Japan, where matcha is at the center of traditional practices like chado (tea ceremony).

While we can’t all jet off to Japan to drink the world’s finest matcha (nor can our wallets support daily coffee shop runs), there are a lot of high-quality, thoughtfully sourced matcha powders you can buy to make great matcha at home. To learn what we should be looking for in a matcha powder, I turned to experts Zach Mangan, owner of Kettl Tea, a New York–based tea company that sources directly from Japan, and Remy Morimoto Park, creator of the vegan recipe blog Veggiekins and soon-to-be matcha brand founder. I also tested and made a whole lot of matcha at home, so I could say that my morning ritual was for the purpose of journalism (and not just caffeination).

Whether you’re looking to kick your coffee shop habit, reap the benefits of this antioxidant-packed beverage, or simply bring a moment of calm to your morning ritual, here are our seven favorite matchas to make at home.

Jump straight to our favorite matcha powders

The splurge: Ippodo Tea Ummon – Rich Matcha
For the best morning latte: Golde Pure Matcha
For something with added flavor: Chamberlain Coffee Original Matcha Green Tea Powder
For the sustainability-minded: Matchaful Hikari Single Origin Ceremonial Matcha
The best value: Navitas Organic Matcha
For the at-home coffee shop experience: Blue Bottle Craft Matcha
For the purist: Hanaka Kettl Matcha

How we tested

We considered sourcing, grade (distinction of quality between ceremonial and culinary), taste, and texture when determining which matcha powders were the cream of the crop.

We first looked at the sourcing region—all of the matchas recommended below are sourced directly from Japan. Many are from Uji, the region in the country that’s famous for its history of matcha production. Mangan says that not only should the packaging list Japan as the country of origin, but it should ideally list a region, town, and grower (e.g., Uji Prefecture, Fukuoka Prefecture, Aichi Prefecture, and, more recently, Kagoshima and Shizuoka Prefectures (often for organic).

We next looked at the grade of matcha. Ceremonial-grade matcha is the highest quality and is the best for drinking. Park explains that because the leaves are picked from the first harvest of the year, the matcha is more flavorful and nutrient-rich and the color is more vibrant. Ceremonial-grade matcha is deemed worthy of use in chado, while culinary-grade matcha comes from harvests that take place later in the year and is better suited for cooking or baking.

We also considered a few factors printed on the packaging, like ingredients and a best-by date. Park strongly recommends going for a matcha with no added ingredients like sugars or anticaking agents like starches. As for the date, Mangan says this should be printed on the bottom of the tin or bag, “Matcha is not like wine and after milling does not benefit from age or vintage. Once the leaf is ground, it should be consumed as quickly as possible.” For high-quality brands like Kettl or Ippodo, this can be as soon as within a month of opening.

Finally, we noted the taste and texture. Of course, Park reminds us that the taste of matcha, like coffee, is subjective. Some people prefer a more astringent matcha while others like deep, umami flavor. As for texture, we looked for a smooth mouthfeel without grit, and a matcha that dissolves easily into water once sifted and whisked or frothed.

How to store matcha

After buying matcha, Mangan says you should keep the unopened package in the refrigerator and continue to refrigerate after opening. To keep the matcha fresh, store your tin inside a resealable plastic bag. Many matchas will come in a foil bag packed within a small tin that has a plastic oxygen absorber or lid inside. Don’t throw this out as it helps keep the matcha safe from air exposure (oxidation can quickly deteriorate the taste and color).

W&P Porter Silicone Reusable Storage Bag

Our favorite matcha powders

Why We Love It: This is the highest grade of matcha produced by Ippodo, a Kyoto-based tea company that has been the gold standard for tea since 1717. Its Ummon matcha boasts a rich umami flavor, is a beautiful emerald green color, and has a bright fragrance.

Because it has a natural sweetness to it, I love this one on its own as a tea with water rather than mixed with milk. It sifts easily and quickly foams when vigorously whisked, producing quite the silky texture without residual clumps.

It’s important to note that this one is freshly packaged in Japan and has a pretty short shelf life—Ippodo recommends that you consume it within a month of opening. We suggest opting for the smaller container (especially since it’s on the pricier side) to make sure you can use it all while at its peak freshness.

Taste: The Ummon has a rich, deep, umami flavor with a hint of sweetness. Even without the addition of milk, it’s creamy and earthy without being bitter.

Origin: Kyoto, Japan

Grade: Ceremonial

Expert Opinion: Park says this is the matcha that her grandmother grew up drinking, so it has to be the good stuff.

Why We Love It: Golde’s organic ceremonial-grade matcha powder is a great base for a hot or cold morning latte and works well with any type of milk. The taste isn’t overpowering, which makes it a very good candidate for adding into breakfast items like yogurt or chia pudding. Plus, the matcha froths well for a smooth drinking experience. Like all of Golde’s superfood products, the matcha comes in a bright green canister that is pretty enough to keep out on your counter.

Taste: This organic matcha is smooth and slightly grassy, and it has a hint of natural sweetness. It’s a versatile matcha that’s good for cooking and drinking.

Origin: Uji, Japan

Grade: Ceremonial

Why We Love It: We tend to be skeptical of influencer-backed products, but Emma Chamberlain’s namesake brand makes a very good matcha. They use non-GMO, ceremonial-grade matcha from Japan, though they don’t state the exact region. The brand also offers flavored matcha in mango, chocolate, and Madagascar vanilla. While we tend to steer clear of added flavorings, these ones are subtle and great for someone who typically finds matcha too grassy or bitter. It’s best for making lattes and smoothies.

Taste: This matcha green tea powder is smooth, creamy, and on the sweeter side, especially if you get a flavored powder.

Origin: Japan

Grade: Ceremonial

Chamberlain Coffee Original Matcha

Why We Love It: We really love Matchaful, a female-founded matcha brand with cafés scattered around New York (including one very conveniently located near our office). The Hikari Single Origin Ceremonial Matcha helps me recreate my favorite special lattes (like the Fountain of Chai with chai and reishi or Cacao Dream with cacao and chaga) at home. They source from a single farm and the matcha is ground to order from first harvest leaves that have been grown pesticide-free and shaded by solar panels, so this one gets extra points for its commitment to sustainability and transparency of sourcing.

Taste: This single origin matcha is light, nutty, and floral. It tastes especially good in a latte but is suited well with just water or added to a smoothie like the ones they make at Matchaful.

Origin: Shizuoka, Japan

Grade: Ceremonial

Matchaful Hikari Single Origin Ceremonial Matcha

Why We Love It: We love Navitas Organics for its plant-based superfood products like cacao and chia seeds, and its matcha is no different. This one is premium culinary grade, so it’s a great option to use in baked goods (like these Matcha Spritz Cookies or Chocolate-Matcha Butter Mochi Cake) and smoothies. It’s also a more budget-friendly option at $18.85 for 3 oz. Out of a few culinary-grade matcha options, this one has little to no bitterness and dissolves nicely.

Taste: This matcha has a bit less of a pronounced flavor and has less umami to it than some of the ceremonial-grade options. That being said, it isn’t too bitter and isn’t overwhelmingly grassy.

Origin: Japan

Grade: Premium Culinary

Navitas Organics Matcha Powder

Why We Love It: Out of all the big coffee shop chains, I consistently have the most frothy and velvety matcha at Blue Bottle, and its craft matcha is the same one it uses in its cafés. This one is noticeably smooth and froths exceptionally well with milk for a hot or cold latte that feels barista-level without leaving home. It has a lovely body to it and produces a thicker latte, especially when made hot.

Taste: This craft matcha has a vibrant, rich taste with none of the bitterness or grassiness that some fear from matcha. The matcha itself has a certain nuttiness to it that’s made even richer if you’re using almond or pistachio milk.

Origin: Uji, Japan

Grade: Ceremonial

Why We Love It: Kettl not only purchases its teas weekly from Japan, but the company also packages them at its own facility in Fukuoka before air-shipping directly to customers. You can taste that attention to quality and detail in Kettl’s Hanaka matcha, which we love most for at-home daily consumption. It’s smooth, rich, and pretty well-priced for someone looking for the highest quality of matcha. It’s also super versatile and works well as a tea or latte, whether hot or cold. Care to splurge? Kettl’s website can direct you to a matcha that suits you from the best to blend with milk to the best for whisking traditionally.

Taste: This Hanaka matcha is nutty, lacks bitterness, and has a hint of cocoa to it. It’s rich but still light enough to drink on the daily.

Origin: Yame Prefecture, Japan

Grade: Ceremonial

How to make the perfect/ultimate cup of matcha:

Mangan instructs to bring your water to a full boil and then pour 65 ml (2.25 oz.) into a small cup to cool slightly. Pour the hot water into an empty chawan and wait several seconds. Empty the now warmed chawan and pat dry with a clean towel. Scoop 1.5–2 g of matcha into a furui over your empty chawan and sift it. Once the water in your cup has cooled to around 170–180℉ (77–82℃), add it to the matcha powder. Using the whisk, gently knead the matcha into the water and then whisk in a vigorous Z pattern until a foam appears. Lift your whisk to the surface of the foam and continue to whisk gently to create a microfoam. Support your bowl from the bottom, raise to your lips, and enjoy. —Zach Mangan, owner of Kettl

All the tools you’ll need to make it:

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