Matcha Tea – The Differences Between Culinary and Ceremonial Grades

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The hubby is a big fan of Matcha tea. He has a cup every morning. I was sent a sample of ceremonial grade matcha tea but all opinions are my own. Did you know there are two different types of matcha tea? I’m going to share some of the differences between culinary and ceremonial grades of matcha tea.

I have to admit that I was completely ignorant about Matcha Tea. Then the hubby started drinking it because he had to give up coffee due to reflux (he has since allowed himself one cup of his beloved mocha a week.) Since then I’ve learned a lot. Did you know that there are two different grades of matcha – culinary and ceremonial? Thanks to the sample we received from Midori Spring the hubby was able to try the ceremonial grade for the first time. But first I would like to share the differences between the two for those of you who are interested in learning just as I was.

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Using Culinary Grade:

Cooking or culinary grade matcha tea is sold to be used for a number of different purposes. It is designed to be mixed into other ingredients like into a smoothie. If you order Green Tea Ice Cream for dessert in a restaurant it is made with matcha! This drink is more bitter and astringent than the ceremonial grade teas. Culinary grade matcha is often put in smoothies for an energy boosting effect. I am considering using it to make a shortbread cookie – I suspect it would be a very interesting flavor profile, not to mention a pretty color. It can, in fact, be used in many different types of baked goods.

Culinary Matcha as a Natural Dye

I use it as a natural dye when baking and cooking quite frequently. Gel pastes and other dyes are often non natural and I don’t like putting chemicals in my body if I can help it. I discovered that by using matcha I can create varying shades of green without a problem. Depending upon what I am making the tea flavor might impact the finished product but so far it has not done so in any unpleasant way. The colorful sugar cookies shown in the photo above had a slight tea flavor but no one asked me about it. I also used it when I made cupcakes and needed to pipe leaves.

Mixing the culinary grade matcha into pasta dough returned angel hair of a delightful shade of green with a fresh, slight tea flavor that only enhanced my final dish of Shrimp in a Soy Honey Ginger Sauce with Nori.

Drinking Culinary Grade Matcha

My husband does mix culinary grade matcha tea with hot water to drink in the morning despite all indications that note not to do so. He does not mind the slight bitterness that comes from making his tea in this manner. Experience has taught him to add a bit more water than recommended to lessen the astringency. When he purchases this grade of matcha he gets about four times as much as for the same price as with the Ceremonial grade. Given that we live on a budget and he wants his cup of matcha every morning he is fine with it. I treat him to the higher grade tea at gift giving times.

Ceremonial Grade:

This is the finest of the matcha teas; the ne plus ultra. It is made to be whisked with hot water and savored. Ceremonial grade matcha is used in the traditional, formal Japanese Tea Ceremony. You will find that this matcha produces a delicate, green tea flavor and it is supposed to be enjoyed plain. Any additions would mask the true flavor of the tea.

Quality ceremonial grade matcha should present as a very fine powder in a vibrant spring green color. It should smell very fresh, almost grassy and never stale. It behaves just like cocoa powder in that it is very flyaway.

How to Prepare a Cup of Matcha Tea – Culinary or Ceremonial

The  Midori Spring Organic Ceremonial Matcha that we were sent was the first ceremonial grade matcha that the hubby was going to taste. He was very much looking forward to it.


The hubby has been enjoying his morning cup of Ceremonial Grade Matcha. He makes his tea every morning just like the in the video and this is how the Ceremonial looks when it is ready to be sipped:

prepared ceremonial grade matcha tea, Ceremonial Grade Matcha Tea from Midori Spring, matcha tea, #sponsored

He says it has a definite yet delicate green tea flavor and he does prefer it to the culinary grade by a long shot but it is not something he can afford to drink on a daily basis. It in the “treat” category, but that is how it goes when you are retired and living on a fixed income.

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