Green Tea Powder vs. Matcha Powder: What’s the Difference?
If you’re a green tea lover, chances are that you enjoy matcha products, as well. But what’s the difference between green tea powder and matcha powder? Is there a difference?
As any tea expert will tell you, there’s a significant difference between green tea powder and matcha powder. This is true not only for taste, but also for the process in which both are produced. Learn all about the differences between the two here!
Matcha itself is a green tea product, but it has been given a specific name for a few reasons. The method in which matcha is grown and harvested is different from that of green tea, and as such, matcha powder is very different from green tea powder. For a product to be considered matcha, it has to fall under some specific criteria. To be labeled as matcha, a product must:
- Be produced from Tencha, a high grade tea leaf that’s entirely shade-grown
- Be stone-ground
- Be produced from first flush tea leaf
- Be a pure cultivar
Matcha products are strictly regulated and must follow these criteria to be a true matcha product.
Understanding Green Tea Powder
Green tea powder is similar to matcha, but it is much less strictly regulated than matcha is. Green tea powder is still made from pure green tea leaves, but green tea isn’t as strong as matcha. This is because the growing methods are different from matcha green tea. Many teas can be considered green tea, though not nearly as many can be considered matcha.
- Green tea powder is made from Sencha, or a later harvest
- It can be ground in a number of different ways
- It doesn’t have to be a pure cultivar
Does this make green tea powder worse in quality than matcha? If you’re drinking the best instant tea products available, it doesn’t have to be worse in quality. The truth is that it’s just different. The two products may be derived from the same plant, but they have very different qualities.
Green Tea Powder vs. Matcha Powder: Breaking it Down
Now that each product has been explained a little more thoroughly, let’s talk about what to expect in terms of differences when using each. We’re going to do a deeper dive into texture, processing, preparation, and of course, taste. Check it out below!
Green Tea Powder vs. Matcha Powder: Texture
Even though these two products come from the same plant, the texture of each is very different from one another. This has to do with a few things, which we’ll explain in-depth, but we’re going to touch on the plant itself here. Matcha comes from younger leaves than green tea powder, and as such, the leaves tend to grind down further, making for a smoother powder.
Green tea powder, on the other hand, can be a bit more rough, depending on the age of the leaves themselves. The texture may seem more coarse, or rough, when compared to matcha.
Green Tea Powder vs. Matcha Powder: Processing
The way that these products are processed pays a significant part in texture, though it’s worth highlighting the process on its own. Let’s start with matcha. Matcha powder comes from leaves that are always hand picked. These leaves then have the veins and stems removed from them, leaving only the green portion of the foliage. After this has been done, the remaining parts are stone ground until they’ve created a fine powder.
Green tea powder is made through a much different process. Leaves are harvested in any number of ways. Then, rather than removing the stems and veins, the leaves are dried. The drying process takes several hours. Following the drying, some processors pan fry the leaves to dry them further and release their delicious aroma. Leaves are then rolled and broken up into smaller pieces, then ground down. The result is a slightly browned mixture of crushed leaves and powder.
Green Tea Powder vs. Matcha Powder: Preparation
Believe it or not, green tea powder and matcha need to be prepared differently, too! Matcha powder is best prepared in water that hasn’t reached a full boil. The optimum temperature is 175℉.
Green tea powder tends to taste better when it has been prepared in water that has reached a full boil. This fully releases the aromas of the leaves after they’ve been processed.
Green Tea Powder vs. Matcha Powder: Taste
If these two products come from the same plant, surely they’ll taste the same, right? Not quite. Think about your favorite fruit. Before a fruit has become fully ripened, it tends to be sour, or bitter, right? When it’s reached the proper age, it’s ripe, and it tastes as it should. Green tea powder and matcha are kind of similar. That’s not to say that there’s a peak “ripeness” for these leaves. Rather, the difference in ages creates a different taste.
Matcha powder is made from leaves that are younger. They also haven’t been cooked whatsoever. As such, matcha tends to be very earthy, with a very strong flavor. It’s not for everyone.
Green tea powder, on the other hand, is made from older leaves. These leaves are dried, then sometimes pan fried, further drying them. Their age tends to make them a bit more bitter, and most people enjoy mixing sugar or honey with green tea powder to take that bite out.
So Which is Better?
Well, that’s a matter of personal preference! The two products, though made from the same plant, taste entirely different. If you enjoy earthy flavors, try matcha. If you’re someone who enjoys more traditional tea, try out some green tea powder!
Get the Best Green Tea Powder and Matcha Powder
If you’re interested in getting the best instant tea available, check out the selection that we have to offer at Waka Coffee! We carry both green tea powder and matcha. If you’re not sure which you’d like more, try both! We take pride in offering the highest quality matcha and green tea available. Give it a try today!