Updated: Sep 25, 2021
When we first started the venture on determining which matcha to use for our first grand line of health product, we tested a lot of matchas. From Japan to China, various matcha from organic to non-organic from AA grade to AAAAA grade and with different finesse and colour.
What we have found that matcha, be it from Japan or China, has to be determined by this method :-
Because matcha nowadays has been really popular, especially from one part of Japan that is Uji, which creates a very fine matcha by the way, many people are starting to be familiar with differences in matcha quality.
But we didn't go for Uji or Japanese matcha for a number of reasons:-
The average price for a Japanese organic ceremonial grade matcha goes from RM150-400+- for 100G(usually ceremonial grade is sold in 30G packet). This kind of price isn't suitable for the current economic climate(Post 2020) and we see many people won't be able to afford this kind of matcha regularly. If you don't know, what affects the price of a matcha is first the demand for it, secondly the production supply, thirdly the production quality, and fourth is the labour cost. We are not comparing quality and taste side-by-side to determine the price of a matcha.
Thus, when I compare Organic Japanese matcha with Chinese counterpart, I feel for the price and affordability, Chinese matcha won hands down. We have almost 50% less in price, which makes it super affordable whilst maintaining the quality of the taste.
What is more important for matcha is the 'health benefits'. Because when I first got into matcha, I didn't go for it for the taste, rather, for the health benefits. And like the usual noob, I went to over-the-shelf sencha tea for a start. The only time I am able to buy a better one is when I visited Jaya Grocer or Village Grocer which I can get 'Uji Matcha'(surely the poor quality ones) with the price of RM40 on average for 100G.
Then if we were to buy matcha from Japan, we only got so little to enjoy with, which is fine if you're not into its health benefits. But if you are into the health benefits, you'll find yourself always in short supply because 30G of ceremonial grade matcha wouldn't last you a month if you're an avid drinker.
So in comparison, Chinese matcha got its attention because people started to see 'matcha' as more important than the place of harvest itself. This is true because various studies have proven that full leaf matcha is superior to over-the-shelf pouch matcha and better than bottled 'matcha'. The 'fanning process' took out much of the nutrients inside the matcha, especially the most important active component inside it which is EGCG.
If you're into matcha you would know about Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate(EGCG) as the main active component in Camellia Sinensis(green tea) species. I am very particular about EGCG as I know the difference in the 'energy' when consuming something being an energy practitioner. I can immediately feel the surge of positive energy when consuming high quality matcha, especially if I had a migraine. You can test it yourself, buy any matcha and try it during a hot day, you can feel the real thirst quencher as well as headache-relief.
There are no better components in matcha than EGCG as it gives almost all the therapeutic benefits that you find in a matcha such as increasing fat metabolism, reducing cancer risk, antioxidant, anti-aging(try it as a mask on your face), anti-inflammatory, reducing acne breakouts, as well as anti-diabetic(blood sugar destroyer). EGCG is what gave matcha its 'superdrink' status.
Thus, when I decided on the source of matcha for Purecha, I look at the amount of EGCG that it can produce under stable hot temperature(80-85 degrees celcius). So I took the over-the-shelf 'Uji Matcha' that you can find a lot in organic store to compare against Purecha and Premiumcha that I sourced from China, and below is the picture of the result.
As you can see in the lab test result above, Purecha with 33.2 mg/g of EGCG is clearly superior in EGCG content to your standard over-the-counter 'Uji Matcha' with 21.2 mg/g of EGCG. This difference is by a staggering by 36%!! Considering EGCG is the main component in matcha that gives its health benefits, why would we go for a more expensive matcha-to-quality to get the health benefits?
Upon testing and trying out all the high quality and also low quality matcha from China and Japan by using the method of UAA(Umami, Astringency, Aftertaste). I keep going back for either the highest-end of the Shizuoka Organic matcha (which costs 100% more!) and also the current Purecha. I just love how balanced Purecha is on the taste side. The umami is worthy of a ceremonial grade, it's not that astringent, and it leaves little to no aftertaste at all! The Shizuoka organic one, which is the most expensive one I tested, had this grassy taste(probably much higher in chlorophyll and L-theanine since it's the first flush) and it got its own mojo. But we tested it for various purposes. Purecha, due to its balanced taste, can go well drinking it as a Pure Ceremonial Matcha way, or you can just blend it as a matcha milkshake, or you can bake with it. I have yet to see a better multi-purpose matcha with this price and high EGCG. The highest grade of matcha usually isn't good for mixing with other stuff because of its 'softer' taste. Premium matcha, on the other hand, is on that softer side and to be enjoyed without mixing with anything.
All the premium matcha we tested have very fine powder, with 800 mesh microns and above. So you can use 2mg(or quarter teaspoon) in a standard 200mL water glass. It depends on your taste however, some people like it to have more punch so they put 5mg in around 150-200mL water.