Posted by Aoi Tea Company on July 18, 2014
While there are many different quality levels of matcha, traditionally and historically, there is only one type of matcha. Matcha is essentially the name of Camellia sinensis (the plant that ALL tea comes from) that is shaded before harvest, steamed (which is unique to matcha and gyokuro), and heat-dried at a high temperature before being processed and ground down to powder form. It is the only tea that is traditionally produced and served this way.
While other teas today are ground into powder form, it is the history, tradition and specialized growing and manufacturing process behind matcha that makes it “matcha”. Because there is no standardization for the term “matcha” in the US, there are many companies today that sell things like “white matcha” and “black matcha”, as well as many companies that sell other powder green tea labeled as “matcha”. These products would not technically be considered “matcha" by tea experts and sommeliers.
When purchasing matcha, be sure to do your research on who you get it from to ensure that you are obtaining an honest and high-quality matcha product.