Powdered green tea from Japan used in the Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies. Often used in food.
Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea. It’s special in two aspects of farming and processing: The green tea plants for matcha are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest, and the stems and veins are removed in processing.
The traditional Chinese and Japanese tea ceremony centers on the preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha. In modern times, matcha has also come to be used to flavor and dye foods such as mochi and soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of wagashi (Japanese confectionery). The former is often referred to as ceremonial-grade matcha, meaning that the matcha powder is good enough for tea ceremony. The latter is referred to as culinary-grade matcha. However, there is no standard industry definition or requirements for either. Different matcha manufacturers might provide their own definitions.
Blends of matcha are given poetic names called chamei either by the producing plantation, shop or creator of the blend, or by the grand master of a particular tea tradition. When a blend is named by the grand master of a tea ceremony lineage, it becomes known as the master’s konomi, or favored blend.