Since giving up coffee last May, matcha has totally transformed my day. I no longer feel sluggish in the afternoon, and my energy levels in general have become more stable. The daily practice of whisking my matcha or adding it into an elixir of some sort has become a welcomed morning ritual.
As someone who is relatively new to drinking this magical green tea, I initially found it hard to discern between the various grades of matcha and what brands I should consider. I didn't want to purchase a matcha that was better suited for baking than drinking, but I also didn't have the palate (or wallet) for tea that was super expensive.
After some trial and error, I've found five brands I trust at varying prices. The least expensive of these tins costs $16 (for 40 grams) and the higher-end matcha costs $39 (for 30 grams). You can also buy every one of these tins online.
1. Kan-no-shiro, $16 for 40 grams at Ippodo Tea Co.
Ippodo has been around for over 300 years. So yes, they know what they're doing when it comes to matcha. Their flagship store is located in Kyoto, Japan, and they also recently opened a New York location. Ippodo has a variety of different grades of matcha that range in price based on your taste and needs, but I think their Kan-no-shiro is an excellent choice for everyday drinking. It also just happens to be the least expensive matcha in this roundup.
Kenichi Kano, Ippodo Tea's International Director, says that this particular matcha is "a balanced grade of matcha and a good choice for newcomers to matcha. It has a touch of astringency, but also enough umami to satisfy even the most enthusiastic matcha aficionado."
2. Daily Matcha, $20 for 40 grams at Mizuba Tea Co.
Mizuba has only been around since 2013, but they're already dominating my local specialty grocery stores in New York — and for good reason. The tea company is committed to sourcing their matcha from the region of Uji, a high-quality tea region in Japan. Mizuba has a variety of matcha to buy based on quality, but I think the "Daily" is an excellent choice.
Lauren Danson, the CEO of Mizuba describes a cup of this matcha as "approachable, verdant, velvety, and sweetly vegetal," and that it's "perfect for first-time drinkers or folks who want to start making matcha a habit."
2. The Matcha, $36 for 29 grams at CAP Beauty
Unlike the other brands featured in this roundup, CAP Beauty doesn't just sell tea. They're known for a variety of different beauty and wellness products, including their cult-classic coconut butter and newly trendy CBD oil, The Daily Hit. CAP Beauty has impeccable taste (and packaging), and this includes their matcha.
Cindy DiPrima, the co-founder of CAP Beauty, says their matcha is special because it's both organic and ceremonial-grade. "CAP Beauty's The Matcha is a potent and healthful source of antioxidants and vibrantly green in both its color and taste. It can be taken neat or used as the base for a tonic drink, but we especially love it blended with our CAP Beauty coconut butter for a delicious plant-based latte."
4. Ceremonial Matcha Tin, $39 for 30 grams at PANATEA
PANATEA has only been around since 2014, but has quickly garnered success in the tea space in the last few years. Their aim is to crate a "modern and approachable offering for an ancient ceremonial delicacy," and you can see it in their offerings. They also have an instant matcha latte for when you're on the go that is surprisingly delicious.
David Mandelbaum, the co-founder and CEO of PANATEA, says their "ceremonial matcha tin is a special blend of matcha from Nishio, in the Aichi Prefecture," and that "it's so special because the high quality is worthy of a traditional Japanese Tea ceremony."
5. Classic Matcha, $22 for 30 grams at MatchaBar
True story: The first time I tried matcha was at MatchaBar's flagship store in Brooklyn in 2014. In the last four years they have grown tremendously, and now have outposts in Manhattan and Los Angeles, as well as a new bottled matcha. MatchaBar has two tins you can purchase: a smaller and larger ceremonial-grade matcha. I'm featuring the smaller one here.
MatchaBar's matcha comes from the Nishi region in Japan. Graham Fortgang, one of the co-founders of MatchaBar, explains that they work carefully with a Grade 10 "chasi," or master tea blender, to produce an exclusive blend. "Working together, alongside blender and farmers, we have created what we believe to be one of the smoothest ceremonial-grade matcha blends on the market — carrying one of the highest caffeine, antioxidant, and L-theanine content found on the market," explains Fortgang.
Do you drink matcha?