About matcha and matcha preparation
1. What is Matcha?
Matcha means ‘ground tea’ and is the Japanese term for the precious powdered green tea traditionally reserved for the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, Sadō.
The process of manufacturing premium matcha begins with choosing the right place for the cultivation of the tea plants (Camellia sinensis). The soil and climate conditions play a key role in the final flavor and quality of the tea. Mountainous and hilly regions provide the perfect climate and morning mists needed for the cultivation of tea.
Matcha tea plants are shaded from direct sunlight for approximately two weeks before harvest. This increases the chlorophyll and L-theanine content, making for a smooth taste and a rich vibrant green color. L-theanine is an amino acid specific to green tea that provides sweetness in flavor, and creates a state of focused calm upon consumption. It is the main reason high-quality green tea tastes less astringent and is more pleasant to the palate.
The tea leaves selected to become matcha are called tencha, which are shaded before harvest to preserve L-theanine and increase chlorophyll content. The leaves are carefully steamed to prevent the nutrients from oxidation and keep the tea fresh and green. The rough fibers such as stems and veins are removed to ensure the consistency of the powder and the sweet flavour typical to a great matcha. The tencha leaves are then slowly ground in traditional granite stone mills to a very fine powder ‒ matcha!
2. How do I prepare DōMatcha®?
The traditional method to prepare matcha is easier than you think!
Using a traditional bamboo whisk:
Put ½-1 teaspoon of Ceremonial DōMatcha® in a large cup or a ceremonial bowl and add a small amount of hot water (60-90ml/2-3 oz). The ideal water temperature for DōMatcha® is 80 C / 176 F.
Whisk with a quick, zig-zag motion until a layer of green froth appears on the surface.
After whisking, add more water if desired (up to 240ml/8oz). For “thick”-style matcha, you can add more DōMatcha® to your bowl before whisking.
You can also add DōMatcha® to smoothies – Summer Harvest matcha is perfect for blended beverages - or use whisked DōMatcha® as the base for delicious lattes with warm or cold nut, oat, or soy milk. There are endless options – get creative!
DōMatcha® quality and characteristics
3. How can I determine matcha quality?
You can tell the quality and freshness of matcha by the color, the flavor, and by how well it mixes.
Visual indicators for fresh, high-quality matcha:
- Vibrant green colour (both the matcha powder, and the colour of the liquid beverage)
- Sweet, full flavour
- “Green”, vegetal flavour note
- Thick, dense froth when whisked
4. How is DōMatcha® different from regular, brewed or steeped green tea?
When you enjoy matcha, you are ingesting the entire tea leaf, not just the infusion. As a result, and because of its processing method, you receive the nutritional benefit of 10 cups of steeped green tea from one cup of matcha.
5. What is the difference between organic and non-organic Matcha? Is it just different leaves?
Organic and non-organic matcha originate in different tea fields entirely. Farms producing leaves destined to become organic matcha must satisfy organic regulations such as but not limited to:
- No pesticides used
- Natural fertilizers only
- Protection from environmental contaminants
- Only natural pest control methods
- Keeping strict records
DōMatcha®’s organic matcha adheres to the regulations of Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS), Japan Organic and Natural Foods Association (JONA), which is recognized by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). JONA certification is equivalent to organic legislation of the US and Canada. Organic products carrying this logo must contain more than 95 percent organic components.
Non-organic matcha does not have to adhere to these regulations; however, it is still very safe and healthy. We test every batch for chemical residue to ensure its safety.
6. What is the difference between the Ceremonial Matcha and the Summer Harvest Matcha?
The DōMatcha® Ceremonial grade of matcha is harvested in the spring at the first flush; only the newly grown top leaves are chosen. These leaves render a very smooth but strong flavor, considered to be one of the top grades of matcha.
The Summer Harvest DōMatcha® is picked later in the season; the leaves for Summer Harvest have been on the tea plant longer, and have a more astringent flavor. If you are a purist or traditionalist and enjoy your matcha whisked traditionally, with hot water and taken plain, then the Ceremonial is a good choice for a clean, sweet-tasting matcha. If you prefer matcha as a latte or a blended drink, then the Summer Harvest is a good choice for value, and a strong flavour that will stand up against nut milk or sweeteners.
7. How does DōMatcha® make you calm?
L-theanine is an amino acid specific to green tea that provides sweetness in flavor. It is the main reason high-quality green tea tastes less astringent and is more pleasant to the palate. When consumed, L-theanine can produce a calming, focusing effect.
The L-theanine amino acid in matcha increases alpha waves in the brain. Alpha waves help us to feel calm, creative, alert and mentally focused. When you consume L-theanine, alpha waves increase. Theanine is rarely found in the plant kingdom. It is unique to green tea, and not found in coffee.
8. I just purchased your product and saw the bright green color. Is coloring added?
High quality matcha retains the bright green colour of the new leaves it is ground from. The vibrant hue is a product of the meticulous way DōMatcha® is grown, harvested, processed, and packaged, to retain freshness.
Young leaves are picked at first flush, and only the top leaves are used for DōMatcha®. These small leaves are steamed, dried, stored slightly above freezing, then stone ground into a naturally vibrant green powder. Because they are protected from sun damage or oxidation through our meticulous packaging methods, the gorgeous colour is retained from leaf to powder.
DōMatcha® ingredients and testing
9. Does DōMatcha® contain gluten or additives ?
DōMatcha® is gluten-free, and 100% pure tencha powder from Japan, including absolutely no additives, sweeteners, or fillers. DōMatcha® is free of sugar, dextrin, rice powder, sencha powder, and of the other common additives in low grade matcha.
10. Is matcha a raw food?
Yes, and in order to preserve it, it needs proper packaging. See below for how we carefully package DōMatcha®. Matcha is a raw, living food; keeping it refrigerated and away from light and heat will help it stay fresh longer. As we do not use any additives or preservatives, it’s important to keep DōMatcha® appropriately packaged and stored, especially after opening, to preserve the nutritional value.
11. Does DōMatcha® contain lead?
Lead content is undetectable in our matcha, which means it’s at most 0.4 parts per million, which is the threshold for lab detectability. We attribute this insignificant amount to the relatively pristine growing region of Japan, as all of our matcha is sourced directly from Japan, never from other tea-producing regions such as China or India which have more environmental pollution.
12. What kind of testing process does DōMatcha® go through to ensure its safety and lack of radiation, post-Fukushima?
We absolutely understand consumer concerns around the Fukushima disaster and radiation contamination. We educate people every day on the benefits of matcha and always encourage our customers to educate themselves as consumers on any brand including our own – proactively understanding the background and source of a product you are consuming is essential.
Most of our matcha is grown in Kagoshima or Kyoto, in Japan. Kagoshima is very far southwest of Fukushima, and on a different island, Kyushu, about 1,000 miles from Fukushima. Our producers have the product tested by an independent lab while still in Japan. Upon its arrival in North America, we then send DōMatcha® to a lab in Illinois which specializes in radiation testing.
This testing protocol ensures DōMatcha® is absolutely safe and free of any radiation concerns. We will continue with this process into the foreseeable future; the nutritive power of matcha, as well as our customers’ safety, is incredibly important to us.
If you would like to personally review test results, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our matcha is produced and backed with over 700 years of matcha expertise, both from our producing partners, and our Tea Master, who is the 16th generation of his family to be awarded this title.
13. Can matcha cause nausea? Should I take it with a meal?
It is not recommended to drink matcha on a completely empty stomach to avoid any stomach upset. In the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, matcha is served with a small amount of sweets to accompany its consumption.
DōMatcha® caffeine and servings
14. When are the best times to drink matcha? I am concerned about drinking matcha in the evening and then sleeping well.
Matcha contains approximately 1/3 the caffeine coffee has and is released more slowly over a longer period of time. However, you should exercise caution when consuming any caffeinated beverage in the evening, including matcha, which can affect you for up to 4-6 hours, depending on the amount consumed and sensitivity. It is not recommended to drink matcha less than 4 hours before bedtime. Initially, try matcha during the day to see how it affects you. However, if you are concerned about caffeine but would like to enjoy the benefits of matcha, or would like to have matcha in the evening, try our Master’s Decaf matcha.
15. How much caffeine does matcha contain?
The key difference between the caffeine from coffee or from matcha is that when consuming matcha, caffeine is absorbed slowly and over a longer period of time. While coffee can give you a “spike” of caffeinated energy, matcha’s effect both energizes and fades at a slower rate. Many of the negative effects typically associated with caffeine are ameliorated by the calming and relaxing effect of the L-theanine in matcha. In combination, these compounds induce a healthy, sustainable energy boost unique to matcha, even in the tea world. One serving of matcha, which is approximately 1 gram of powder plus the volume of additional water or nut milk, contains approximately 25-35 milligrams of caffeine. This is a very reasonable amount, especially compared with coffee, which contains around 80-120 mg per 1gram. Our Master’s Decaf decaffeinated matcha contains about 6 mg of caffeine per gram of matcha, which is the same miniscule amount of caffeine in decaffeinated coffee.
16. How much matcha can or should you drink per day?
Most people drink 1-2 cups per day. We do not recommend you exceed three servings, made with the standard amount of matcha powder, which is about ½ to 1 teaspoon of matcha.
DōMatcha® packaging and storage
17. Once I open a tin of your matcha, should I refrigerate it?
Since matcha is extremely prone to losing nutrients, color, and freshness by being exposed to light or air, proper storage and packaging is crucial to assure the highest quality.
Ideally, keep an opened tin of DōMatcha® in the fridge, and do not remove the matcha from the small Food Safe pouch within in the tin.
18. What is the proper packaging for matcha?
We are extremely proud of our packaging at DōMatcha®. Our matcha arrives inside vacuum-sealed steel tins which are sealed with a removable aluminum pull-tab lid. Inside, the matcha is stored in a Food Safe pouch, with a small oxygen-absorbing pouch in with the matcha. The Food Safe pouch is an important aspect of preservation, keeping the matcha stored away from sunlight and oxidization. Although we are extremely concerned with environmental impact at DōMatcha®, the layers of packaging are extremely important to keep our matcha’s rich nutritional content, which is high in antioxidants and L-theanine, free from any detrimental environmental factors. We have ensured that our packaging can keep your matcha fresh for as long as possible. Always refrigerate after opening.
Be cautious of any matcha that comes packaged directly in an aluminum tin, or that is in a glass or clear plastic container where it may be exposed to light.
19. Will removing DōMatcha® from its silver pouch compromise the tea in any way?
We suggest keeping our Matcha inside the Food Safe pouch, and then inside the steel tin, and storing it in the refrigerator once opened. This helps keep it fresher for longer, as well as protects it from odors and moisture. You can re-fold it, or cut it down to tin height for storage, but we strongly recommend not storing the matcha directly in the tin after opening.
Where to find DōMatcha®
20. Where can I find DōMatcha®?
DōMatcha® is available in many natural health food stores and groceries in Canada and the US. Click here to find a store near you that carries DōMatcha®. DōMatcha® is also available to order through our online shop and on Amazon.