What is Matcha, and Why is Ours The Best?

A pile of matcha powder

What is matcha, anyways? 

Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed Japanese green tea leaves, originally consumed in Japan but now available around the world. The  tea plants used for matcha are shade-grown for three to four weeks before harvest. During this period, the plant, Camellia Sinensis, increases its production of savory amino acids like L-Theanine, as well as chlorophyll, giving the leaves their distinctive bright green hue. The matcha powder is consumed differently from tea leaves or tea bags, as it is suspended in a liquid, traditionally by being whisked into hot water, rather than "steeped". This way, you consume the entire tea leaf, which is why matcha is seen as a particularly healthy form of tea. 

The traditional Japanese tea ceremony centers on the preparation, serving and drinking of matcha as hot tea, and embodies a meditative spirituality. More recently, matcha is often used to flavor and dye foods, such as mochi and soba soba noodles, green tea ice cream, matcha lattes and a variety of Japanese wagashi confectionery. Matcha used in ceremonies is referred to as ceremonial grade, meaning that the powder is of a high enough quality (e.g., extremely fine particle size, first spring picking of high quality tencha) to be used in the tea ceremony or, more generally, consumed on its own. Lower-quality matcha is referred to as culinary-grade, but no standard industry definition or requirements exist for matcha.

Blends of matcha are given poetic names known as chamei ("tea names") either by the producing plantation, shop, 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.

Matcha Health Benefits

What is Natural Matcha?

The Timelessness of Traditional Japanese Matcha

Matcha has been consumed for centuries, but it is becoming more and more popular, drawing new fans for several reasons. Many switch over because it is a more calming drink than coffee, others for the health benefits, and still more because the taste is unlike any other. 

Premium matcha made from the finest tea leaves cultivated in Japan is available from River Stone and Tea. Not all matcha is created equal today, despite the huge variety of options. So, what sets us apart? Glad you asked! 


The Magic of River Stone and Tea Matcha

Matcha powder from River Stone and Tea is naturally-farmed and stone-ground in-house from premium tencha sourced from Japan's renowned Uji area. To provide you with a selection of the best-tasting Japanese matcha, we mill it ourselves, the old-fashioned way, on traditional granite mills in Minneapolis - ensuring you get the freshest matcha possible

Natural farming ensures that the tea plant gets a chance to express itself fully - the tencha we receive from our partner farmers is a true expression of the Uji terroir and the hard work of the farmers. Meanwhile, far too much matcha out there is pumped full of artificial fertilizer to conform to a mass-market ideal.

Fresh milling means that the complexity of the tea plant doesn't get lost on the way from the farmer to the consumer. Being such a fine powder, the delicate aromatics of a truly complex matcha can disappear quickly. By milling-to-order stateside, we can ensure you get the absolute best matcha possible - matcha that tastes like it did hundreds of years ago in Japan, before modern farming practices and convoluted global supply chains.  

Grab a tin of the finest ceremonial grade matcha on the market today!

 A bowl of matcha in a blue bowl surrounded by flowers