Hi Tea readers! Today is another installment of comparing various matcha brands. These matcha comparisons will be different than the amazon matcha comparison as these matchas are the higher quality and more expensive matchas. I have 3 Rounds to go through, with each around a specific price bracket. This round, all these matchas are on the cheap end, under $9.50 per ounce.
For amazon tea buyers, don’t fret as some of these are available on amazon.
For full disclosure, like the last amazon matcha comparison, this is brought to you by Red Leaf Tea as they provided the samples due to overwhelming response for us to try higher end matcha.
Every matcha is labelled by number or letter. I do not know what brands I was drinking at the time. After I wrote out my results, I edited in the brands, price and further thoughts.
For all matches I used 160f and started with a 1/3cup water. I opted to weigh out the matcha – 1 gram of matcha each, rather than volume measurement.
For equipment I started with high hopes and used a chasen, but I got impatient right away and switched to an electric frother. I also sifted the matcha.
Note: these matchas are being compared to each other vs. overall from previous matcha comparison posts. Some matchas may be repeated but have a different score.
Rating Scale Breakdown (out of 10)
Matcha Powder Colour – Colour of the unprepared matcha powder. This is important as matcha can range in colour as well as colour is usually an important factor of the quality of the matcha. Generally we are looking for a vibrant green matcha.
1 = there is no color. 10 = the green is bleeding my eyes.
Matcha Powder Scent – Scent of the matcha powder. Hey, I like smelling things!
1 = smells awful. 10 = I might be caught looking suspicious with green powder under my nose from smelling the matcha too much.
Prepared Appearance – Color mostly considered here as well as foam. However I’m relaxed on foam rating as I am using a frother than Owl muscle. Photos were taken right after whisking.
1 = I want to pour it out it’s so ugly. 10 = The tea should be considered art.
Bitter Sweet Scale – How bitter or sweet it is. I was told to rate bitter/sweet this way but it was awkward for me as something can be both bitter and sweet, as well a high sweetness may not equal good.
1 = Bitter! Someone sandpaper my face off. 5 = Neither bitter or sweet middle ground. 10 = Really sweet that I call shenanigans that this has been laced with sugar.
Flavor – This is a personal rating here, I’d take this with a grain of salt. A little tough to determine as well since if it is quite bitter I will rate the matcha lower.
1 = I regret drinking that. 10 = Nope, 10 was a slip of a keystroke. It’s truly a 1 not a 10 (as I run off to buy it all).
Price – Ranking of 1 through 6
1 being the cheapest, 6 being the most expensive out of all the matchas per oz. Prices pulled July 9th 2015 so price may vary.
Matcha Brand Comparison 2, Round 1
Let’s look at the colour of all the matchas together – it is a straight up gradient!
Another observation is with each matcha getting brighter and more saturated in colour, the weight also increased. I got more matcha per teaspoon from sample 1 than sample 5.
MATCHA 1 – Red Leaf Tea Starter Matcha
This is an organic Chinese Matcha, aka Green Tea Powder for the people who refuse to call non-japanese matcha matcha. Or maybe we should just simply call it all green tea powder, which is what it all is. No notes on where this tea is from or year it was produced. I do like the write up as it mostly describes the flavor than weird medical benefits.
Matcha Powder Colour 1/10 in comparison to the others. The color is grey with a chalky tint of green. This matcha looks weird as was hard to get off my spoon, it literally stuck to it. I didn’t have this issue before, I’m thinking there’s some humidity going on.
Matcha Powder Scent 5/10 nice scent. It was strong, sweet, and creamy.
Prepared Appearance 2/10 foamed badly. I had a really hard time getting it to foam. The colour is dark green, but a little muddy. I found it odd as last time I was able to get this matcha to foam with the same methods – something is wrong, especially with the weird clumping issue of the dry matcha.
Bitter Sweet Scale 6/10 The matcha is not bitter at all and had a nice sweetness to it.
Flavor 3/10 Grassy, iceberg lettuce and green pepper, though a little bland compared to the rest. Bit of a tangy finish.
Price #1 Cheapest out of this matcha comparison at $0.94 per oz (large size). $2.99 for 15g sample, $14.99 per 1lb. Red Leaf Tea has great prices on their matcha, however it’s a bulk size. If you know you can plow through a 1lb of matcha, all the power to you.
MATCHA 2 – Red Leaf Tea Deluxe Matcha
Another offering from Red Leaf Tea and one we have compared before. This is also a Chinese green base and organic.
Matcha Powder Colour 4/10 better in colour than the last, a darker tint of green but not vibrant or saturated.
Matcha Powder Scent 8/10 sweet, creamy and nicely floral.
Prepared Appearance 4/10 foamed better but still a jerk. The colour is nice with a dark green, but still kind of brown. While whisking the scent of the matcha was strongly floral.
Bitter Sweet Scale 7/10 on the sweet side, no bitterness.
Flavor 7/10 I easily identified this matcha as Red Leaf Tea’s Deluxe due to its distinct floral, grassy, creamy and peachy tangy finish. It’s a nice floral matcha and I found makes for a great iced drink.
Price #2 for Cheapest with prices of $1.56 per oz (large size). $2.99 for a 15g sample and $24.99 for 1lb. At this time there is a sale at it is $2.39 for sample, $19.99 for 1lb. Again, if you know you can get through a pound of matcha this is a good deal for nice tasting matcha. Admittedly I bought this matcha and I’m clueless what to do besides stuff it in the freezer.
MATCHA 3 – JK Tea Shop Ceremony Grade Matcha
JK Tea Shop’s matcha is IMO Organic certified ceremony grade. This batch is harvested April 2014, so it’s over a year old. This is also a Chinese matcha, with the base form Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
Matcha Powder Colour 3/10 Still ugly but darker in tone and bit more green. Still muddy saturation.
Matcha Powder Scent 7/10 I like it – it’s sweet tangy and fresh. The strongest scented of the bunch!
Prepared Appearance 6/10 Foamed decently, enough that it held shape and I had to move the bubbles over to photo the colour of the matcha which has some vibrancy to it. The foam isn’t thick but it’s better than the other last two.
Bitter Sweet Scale 6/10 pretty neutral. It’s not bitter but it also isn’t that sweet either.
Flavor 4/10 Not as good but similar to Matcha 2. It’s creamy thick and fruity (not floral) with a nicer aftertaste of peachyness. However I found the flavor on the weak side. It felt like I needed more matcha or less water. I wonder if this would of tasted better 10 months ago.
Price #3 Cheapest and middle of the pack for price range. $5.28 per oz and available in 50 gram/1.78oz $9.50, 100gram/3.5oz $19 and 500g/17.8oz $94. It seems there isn’t a volume discount as the 100g and 500g are the same per ounce.
MATCHA 4 – Red Leaf Tea Classic Matcha
Another rank up in quality for Red Leaf Tea’s matcha selection. This one is also Chinese and again no mention of harvest date or location. Looking at this listing and the other Red Leaf Tea Chinese matcha offerings I don’t know what makes each of them different other than taste and price. If I was buying straight, I’d feel this one is a gamble, but hey, that’s why I’m here to drink it for you!
Matcha Powder Colour 5/10 As we move up the numbers, the colour is looking better, however this one still lacks that vibrant colour. Totally 100% camouflage tint, I’d lose this matcha in the woods.
Matcha Powder Scent 6/10 Light and fresh but quite grassy like mowed lawn. Get off my lawn!
Prepared Appearance 6/10 Similar to the last matcha but with thicker bubbles. The colour is also brighter green than the last. Despite the nicer appearance to the last matcha, the bubbles faded quite quickly.
Bitter Sweet Scale 7/10 At first I thought it tasted pretty neutral then it got sweeter and sweeter as I drank.
Flavor 6/10 Tastes like this matcha got into the rice patch. The flavor is toasty rice mixed with spinach greens and hay. Thinking about this one in comparison to all the matchas in this round, I could mistake this one for a Japanese Matcha due to the savory flavor, though it does lack that thick unami.
Price #4 Cheapest, coming in at $7.99 per oz. However, this one is sold per 30g/ 1 ounce and has volume discount with the more packages you buy, up to $3.99 per oz buying 600g/ 21 ounces making this technically #3 if you want huge volume like the other Red Leaf Matchas.
MATCHA 5 – KIWAMI iMaccha Supreme Ceremonial Grade (Amazon)
This Matcha is sold on Amazon! I really liked this matcha but I HATE the amazon description as it’s all health buzzwords in caps/bold and mentions Dr. Oz – all this wants me to punch things with all its BS. I tell you my secret weight loss weapon you jerks, it’s the squat rack.
It states it’s a Japanese matcha (Nishio as stated in the questions) and there is an expiry date on the package (which I don’t have). It is quite annoying that information that matters to us about this matcha has to be hunted down in the questions section, as the listing is mostly about its top secret powers.
Matcha Powder Colour 9/10 We are at the end of the matcha rainbow and this one is a pretty vibrant green. I’m sure I’ve seen greener, but this one looks nice.
Matcha Powder Scent This one is hard to rate as this one smells much different. The scent is light, but it’s clean and fresh with a hint of fruity. I’m going to rate this one compared to Matcha A and give it a 7/10.
Prepared Appearance 10/10 this matcha is sexy looking with lots of tight foamy little bubbles. I had no issues whisking this one up into thick foam that I could probably use as packing material. You’ll have to go with me that the color is a nice bright dark green as it was impossible to photo as it was foam till the last sip.
Bitter Sweet Scale 4/10 Least sweet out of all the matchas, but not bitter either. It’s a savory matcha
Flavor 8/10 Savory and creamy. I think this gets more marks because the texture is so light and foamy from the foam. It’s toasty nutty, smooth, unami savory, crisp vegetal with almost a citrus finish.
Price #5 and the second most expensive in this matcha comparison. KIWAMI iMaccha Supreme Ceremonial Grade is $8.54 per ounce and sold in one size – 100g / 3.5oz at $29.90 (amazon free shipping).
MATCHA A – Yunomi Excellent Kitchen Grade Matcha
This one was a late addition, so it is Matcha A rather than Matcha 6. This matcha is from Yunomi.us, seller of Japanese teas. Surprisingly, we have a kitchen grade in here. This matcha is from the Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms, home of the famous Japanese guy that dances in his tea field. This is a Summer harvest (I’m guessing 2014 since it’s newly summer as I write this), and even lists the cultivar (Yabukita), 4 weeks of shading and grown with minimal pesticide use.
Matcha Powder Colour 9/10 can’t tell the difference between the this one and matcha 5 – both have a pleasant green colour.
Matcha Powder Scent 5/10 again, hard to rate as it’s on a different level so I rated it compared to Matcha 5. This matcha has barely any scent. Kind of grassy but really fresh.
Prepared Appearance 10/10 sexy strikes again! Just like the last, foamy until the end with a pretty bright green colour.
Bitter Sweet Scale 4/10 Hard to rate as it’s neutral and savory, similar to matcha 5 in bitter sweet levels.
Flavor 7/10 the flavor is milky and nutty. Very fresh clean tasting like mowed lawn, kelp and lots of unami and brisk finish. I like Matcha 5 more however I can see this one being a superior cooking matcha for the nice colour and strong notes.
Price #6 and the most expensive out of the matchas here at $9.29 per ounce. Yunomi Excellent Kitchen Grade Matcha is $32.50 for a 100 gram/ 3.5oz package. This matcha can also be purchased 500 gram /1.1 lb size. The perk and the high price of this matcha is full disclosure of its production and this matcha is shipped from Japan.
To my surprise, this is the middle priced kitchen grade matcha – they also have a basic and premium grade that price range $19.99 to $35.
Ranking and Comments
Best Taste and Looks
KIWAMI iMaccha Supreme Ceremonial Grade (Matcha 5) – I love the flavor of this matcha and its gorgeous appearance.
Best Deal for Taste
Red Leaf Tea Deluxe Matcha (Matcha 2) – If you want a daily drinker that won’t break the bank, this matcha would be best fit. If you aren’t into floral, I would jump to the KIWAMI iMaccha Supreme Ceremonial Grade (Matcha 5). From the Amazon Matcha review, TerraVerve Matcha Green Tea Powder was also pretty good but the Kiawami was all around better for taste and appearance.
Yunomi Excellent Kitchen Grade Matcha (Matcha A) – I’d go with this one if you prefer to know where your food and tea are from and how it’s made. You are the type that wants your Japanese matcha straight from Japan! Company wise, this one is my favorite for all the information on the tea, production and tea farm. I’m hoping Round 2 and 3 has more Yunomi.
It’s an obvious divide with the Chinese based and Japanese based matchas here. The Chinese ones were sweeter, floral and fruity vs. the Japanese ones being savory, unami, nutty. Appearance is quite a difference as the Japanese matchas (even kitchen grade!) foamed really well, especially compared to a Chinese Ceremonial grade.
With that said, it’s really hard to compare and will go by personal taste and what you are going to use it for or serve it with. With a budget of under $9.50 per ounce, you can get some pretty good matcha.
(tea provided for review, amazon affiliate links)