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The Difference Between Culinary and Ceremonial Grade Matcha

Posted by Angelina Kurganska on

We see this topic pop up a lot. So what is the difference between Culinary and Ceremonial Grade Matcha?


An important thing to note is that regular or culinary grade matcha is not of poor quality. In fact, if you are purchasing your matcha powder from a trusted vendor, then the culinary grade matcha will be nearly the same as ceremonial grade.

The most significant difference is that ceremonial grade matcha is made from exceptionally high-quality leaves and as the name suggests, is used almost exclusively for traditional Japanese tea ceremonies or the making of koicha

Unfortunately, the common misconception is that culinary grade matcha is of poor quality and thus is reserved for cooking where the high quality doesn’t matter as much. The truth is that good culinary grade matcha is perfect for making a delicious cup of frothy, whisked matcha, matcha lattes, and cooking.


matcha set

Our Matcha Tea Set

In olden Japan, there was pretty much one kind of matcha: ceremonial. And yes, it was used only for ceremonies.

Nowadays, thanks to years of our creativity and advancement we have learned to use matcha in many ways. Cooking decadent yet delicate matcha cake and matcha cookies, making unique chocolate, whipping up some bomb cocktails, and of course, the much-loved matcha latte using whole milk, coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk… and what have you. The point is we are now more in charge of our preferences and likes.

Now let's look deeper into the differences that exist between ceremonial and culinary grade matcha.

What is Ceremonial Grade Matcha?

Ceremonial grade matcha is:

  • made from the youngest tea leaves
  • all veins and stems are carefully removed by hand from each tea leaf to ensure the finest, smoothest texture
  • has a very vibrant green color, since the youngest leaves have the most substantial amount of chlorophyll
  • is used almost exclusively for tea ceremonies

Ceremonial grade matcha is mixed with pure water of low temperature to accentuate its fine, delicate taste. For this reason, ceremonial grade matcha is rarely used for mixing with anything but water.


Our Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha

What is Culinary Grade Matcha?

Culinary grade matcha is basically any matcha that isn’t labeled as ceremony grade. It can be called cooking matcha, or simply matcha.

Culinary grade matcha is:

  • made from young tea leaves (but not as young as the ones reserved for ceremonial grade)
  • has a vibrant green color, although it can be slightly less vibrant than the ceremonial color.
    note that it should not have a dull, swampy color


Our Organic Matcha

Essentially both culinary and ceremonial grade matcha should have a sweet taste and fresh, grassy smell. High-quality matcha powders will have none or extremely low astringency. 


Looking for more info on matcha? Check out our matcha tag!