Premium vs Ceremonial Grade Matcha: Grading Secrets

Welcome to the complex, flavorful world of matcha! When I first discovered this jade-hued powder, I was as green as the tea itself to the intricate grading system. Like many, I thought all matcha was created equal—boy, was I mistaken! 

So, fasten your tea belts as we dive into the fascinating exploration of matcha grades, specifically premium VS ceremonial grade matcha. Trust me, it’s a journey as exciting as the first sip of a perfectly whisked matcha latte.

But wait!

There’s something you need to know…

At Ujiha, we employ certain terms for our matcha quality levels familiar to the Western world. Our highest quality matcha is called ‘premium ceremonial grade,’ while we label our lower quality matcha ‘culinary grade.’ However, it’s worth noting that these terminologies of ‘ceremonial’ and ‘culinary’ grades don’t traditionally exist in Japan.

In Japan, distinctions between matcha grades are understood differently. For instance, Ippodo Tea, a tea house in operation since 1717, does not use ‘ceremonial’ or ‘culinary’ to classify their matcha teas.

All of our matcha varieties are high quality, are great for drinking on their own, and are actually used in the tea ceremony in Japan and around the world.

As a Japanese company, we at Ippodo Tea don’t use the term “ceremonial grade,” since this vague term was invented to market matcha to the West, and it is not used in Japan.

Ippodo Tea

Key Takeaways:

  • First off, ceremonial matcha is a little like an art gallery. It has all kinds of masterpieces, from the sweet, sunset-like bliss to the bitter, abstract-expressionist zing. Yes, even if it occasionally puckers your face like a prune, it’s still ceremonial grade!
  • Meanwhile, at Ujiha, we’re painting our own picture of premium. We mix a palette of subtle sweetness, minimal bitterness, and an umami-bomb explosion. It’s like sipping on a symphony, with every note in perfect harmony.
  • So next time you’re steeping a bowl of matcha, remember: every grade tells a story, and each sip is a page. Here’s to enjoying the whole matcha book!

Understanding the Multifaceted Nature of Matcha Grading

You might think grading matcha is as simple as passing a pop quiz, but in reality, it’s more like tackling an advanced calculus problem!

What makes a ceremonial matcha a ceremonial, and a premium matcha a premium, is determined by a kaleidoscope of factors. Bitterness, sweetness, geography, the cultivar used, and even the precise moment the leaves are harvested—yes, it seems our matcha is as much a diva as any Hollywood starlet!

From the bitter but proud ceremonial matchas, to the sweet and full-bodied blends with barely a hint of umami, there’s an exciting range to explore. Remember, not all that is bitter is bad, and not all that is sweet is superior! The intriguing world of matcha grading lies in these very details. And don’t worry—I’ll be your trusty guide in this journey through the swirling greens of matcha mysteries.

Not All Ceremonial Matchas Are Created Equal

Ceremonial grade matcha, like a perfectly tailored suit, comes in a variety of cuts and styles, but each one exudes its own classy vibe. You’ll find ceremonial grade matchas with a strong, proud bitterness that struts its stuff like a runway model. Other blends are as grassy as a summer afternoon, yet still manage to hold their ground in the ceremonial category.

Think of it as a choir; there are those bold tenors who hit the high notes and bring a tinge of bitterness, and the smooth altos who croon sweetly. Yet together, they create a harmonious blend that still falls under the ceremonial category. It’s not always about the flavor, but the symphony of characteristics that makes each ceremonial grade matcha unique in its own right.

The complexity of ceremonial matcha grades is like an exhilarating rollercoaster ride—exciting highs, intriguing lows, but always a thrilling experience.

Fundamentally, ceremonial grade matcha possesses a variety of taste characteristics. Some versions can have a bitterness that is sufficiently mild to be enjoyed plain. After all, it wouldn’t bear the title “ceremonial matcha” if it wasn’t suitable to be savoured on its own.

Everyone has different definitions of “premium.” So, what makes a ceremonial grade matcha premium?

Defining Premium: The Ujiha Approach to Matcha

At Ujiha, we like to think of ourselves as matcha maestros, conducting a symphony of tastes to bring our customers the most harmonious blends possible. Our version of premium doesn’t just refer to a price tag—it’s a testament to the time, effort, and care we put into selecting the finest matcha.

When we’re grading matcha, we’re not just ticking boxes. We’re seeking the Goldilocks of matcha—striking a balance between subtlety and robustness, sweetness and bitterness. Our matcha isn’t about extremes. It’s about the journey of tastes from the moment it touches your tongue to the lingering aftertaste of umami goodness.

Our passion? To bring you an umami-packed experience that’s as far from bitter as the east is from the west. And the sweetness? Let’s just say we aim for the kind of subtlety that leaves you wanting more, rather than an overpowering rush.

So when you’re sipping a bowl of Ujiha matcha, you’re not just tasting tea—you’re partaking in our passion, our tradition, and our relentless pursuit of matcha perfection. Now that’s what we call premium.

Conclusion: Navigating the Intricate World of Matcha Grades

So, we’ve taken a whirlwind tour of the verdant valleys and towering peaks of the matcha grading world. It’s been quite the adventure, right? I mean, who knew that ceremonial matcha wasn’t just one, uniform entity, but a kaleidoscope of tastes and experiences, as varied as the shades of green in a matcha farm?

We’ve learned that while ceremonial matcha can range from the bitterness of a rom-com break-up to the sweetness of a puppy’s first yawn, it all falls under the grand ceremonial umbrella. But here’s the zinger: It’s not about slotting matcha into boxes. Instead, it’s about appreciating the journey that each sip takes us on, guided by the hand of meticulous grading and careful cultivation.

As we raise our next bowl of matcha, let’s take a moment to celebrate the complexity and diversity of this remarkable tea. Here’s to finding our personal perfect blend in the beautiful spectrum of ceremonial grade matcha!

Written by

Read more

Leave a comment