Matcha is green tea leaf ground into powder. Not all green tea leaf can be used to produce matcha powder, only Tencha can be used to produce matcha powder. Green tea powder produced from tea leaf other than Tencha can be only called "green tea powder", but not matcha.
Matcha is green tea powder, but not all green tea powder is matcha.
Tencha is a type of green tea similar to Gyokuro (finest Japanese green tea). 20 days before harvest, it's shaded from direct sunlight. This shading process reduce the astringency (bitterness) and increase the L-theanine (pleasant savory taste) and chlorophyll (vibrant green colour).
Due to high demand in the market and limited matcha production, there are many manufacturers start to produce matcha using low grade tea leaf. True matcha must meet the criterias below:
Matcha can be categorized into different grade. The highest grade matcha is ceremonial grade matcha, it's produced from the yougest tea leaf which has the highest pleasant savory taste and greener colour. Ceremonial grade has no bitterness, make it suitable for making Japanese Koicha or Usucha as in Japanese Tea Ceremony.
Matcha is not bitter, only low grade matcha is bitter.
Low grade matcha is culinary grade matcha which has strong taste and high bitterness, make it suitable for baking, prepare food, make dessert and sweet beverages etc.
Read our matcha buying guide to understand how to pick the right matcha for your application.
Read matcha benefits.