Organic or Natural matcha?

Currently we only offer Organic Matcha to our wholesale customers.

This is a tough one for me, because we REALLY want to offer organic matcha to our retail customers. But we don't currently. And here’s why.

It’s all about taste. Organic matcha simply doesn’t produce enough amino acids/umami to meet our severe quality standards. Why not?

It has to do with how tencha (the tea leaves used to make matcha) is grown. Ttencha spends the most part of its life in shade so that the amino acid content of the plant can develop and remain intact when harvested. If it gets sunlight, those coveted amino acids that we’re after get converted, via photosynthesis, into catechins, a process that changes the taste from sweet and brothy to bitter and unpleasant.

The dilemma thus becomes: if a plant can’t get energy to grow from sunlight, from where does it get its energy? In matcha’s case, it gets its energy from fertilizers. It NEEDS this added energy, since it’s not getting it from sunlight. And the bitter truth (so to speak) is that organic tea fields using organic fertilizers can’t, at least by today’s technologies and standards, give it enough energy to grow with maximum amino acid structure. It just doesn’t deliver enough nitrogen for the plant to develop complex amino acids.

Tencha can, and does, grow using organic methods, but the resulting matcha tastes weak, flat, and, often, bitter. It tends not to have much, if any, umami.

That said, our farmer is hardly dumping industrial-strength fertilizers into their fields. They use very high-quality natural fertilizers (mostly fish meal), but they are not certified organic. The plant NEEDS this added energy, since it’s not getting it from sunlight. Needless to say, we would switch to organic matcha in a heartbeat if and when it becomes clear that new organic technologies are beginning to deliver superior matcha. But until that day arrives, we’re sticking with promoting conventional.

So this is why purely organic matcha grown only with organic fertilizers is actually inferior to conventionally grown matcha: purely organic fertilizers simply don’t have enough stored energy to create these ethereal, umami-packed, new-growth leaves in the absence of sunlight.

If however you would prefer an organic matcha please feel free to contact us and we can supply our JAS certified organic matcha.

Rick Williams
Rick Williams


3 Responses


August 07, 2015

Herbal Tea Direct is now stocking USDA and JAS certified organic matcha!


April 09, 2015

At last! Something clear I can unesndtard. Thanks!


April 07, 2015

So happy a vegan matcha ice cream rpeice exists! If i use crushed/powdered black sesame would you recommend 2tbsp of this powder, or a bit more?

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