The mind of the regular consumer almost instantly associates the tag ‘organic’ not only with a richer nutritional content, but also with a well-deserved higher price. The aim of this article is to shed some light into those aspects that differentiate USDA Organic Matcha from conventional Matcha.
The main difference – as most of you may expect – does not lie in the way in which the two Matcha tea types are grown and harvested, as both types are grown similarly, in the shade, and follow similar, strict harvesting and grounding procedures. However, there is one key aspect that differentiates them: the employed fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.
This leads us to the way in which the tea leaves – commonly known as Tencha – are grown. The Tencha leaves are grown in the shade during a considerable amount of time. As a consequence of this process, the amino-acid content of the leaves remains intact, thus ensuring amazing health benefits. If the Tencha leaves were exposed to sunlight, their amino-acid content would be altered, compromising not only their quality, but also their unmistakable sweet taste which would become almost unpleasantly bitter.
It’s common knowledge that, in order to grow, plants need the energy they get from the sun. Since they are shade-grown, the Tencha plants need the extra energy that fertilizers provide. Since the existing regulated organic fertilizers cannot provide the all necessary energy and nutrients, organic Matcha farmers must rely primarily on factors such as soil nutrients and location to grow their quality crops. As a consequence, there is a slight difference in taste between the two types of Matcha: organic Matcha has a slightly bitterer and less intense taste than conventional Matcha.
All in all, choosing one type of Matcha over the other comes down to personal preferences: the intense – yet sweet – flavor of conventional Matcha against a much purer, slightly bitterer, and subtler flavor of USDA organic Matcha.