What Does Matcha Taste Like?
The matcha trend doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon.
Most coffee and tea shops offer regular matcha, matcha lattes, matcha frappes, and more.
Matcha is even added to various foods!
Now, if you haven’t tried matcha out yet, you may be wondering “what does matcha taste like”?
Obviously, it is only with first-hand experience that you can truly learn this answer.
However, if you do want a heads up on what to expect, here is what you need to know…
Is Matcha Sweet or Is Matcha Bitter?
What you are probably most curious about when it comes to matcha is whether it is sweet or bitter.
The sheer number of matcha drinks being offered in cafes would cause you to think that this drink is naturally sweet.
This isn't the case at all, though.
In reality, most people have no idea what “real” matcha tastes like.
This is because they tend to buy their drinks from cafes and tea shops.
Cafes will often sweeten their drinks quite a bit, making it seem like matcha is a rather sugary drink.
The truth is that matcha is mildly bitter.
Not in an unpleasant way, however, but in the same way that plain tea or black coffee is bitter.
Furthermore, there are other flavors in matcha that help to round the taste out.
Appreciating the Matcha Flavor Profile
Matcha has a distinct vegetal flavor.
This means that it has similar notes to edamame or seaweed.
At the same these flavors are balanced out by malty and slighter bitter flavors.
There are many that will refer to the taste as being slightly grassy, or even earthy.
If this seems like an odd description for matcha flavor, be aware that this is the original version.
And, once you have come to appreciate these complexities, you will actually be able to enjoy the drink quite a bit.
What Does Matcha Green Tea Taste Like vs. Green Tea?
As you are probably aware, matcha is a kind of green tea.
Nevertheless, as anyone can tell you, the flavors are rather different.
Truthfully, the actual differences in flavor will depend on the types of green tea and matcha consumed.
For instance, higher quality green tea can taste sweet, while lower quality ones will be bitter.
Then, there are some that are grassy, while others are nutty.
There is a world of difference between these two teas.
As such, it is nearly impossible to compare them directly.
On average, though, you could say that matcha has a smoother, slightly creamier taste to it.
How to Make Matcha Tea Taste Good
Now, words like “earthy” and “vegetal” may not convince you to try matcha.
So, if these terms are off-putting, what can you do to make this drink taste better?
Well, it all starts with buying better quality matcha.
Understand, there are two grades of matcha – ceremonial and culinary grade.
On average, ceremonial is the higher grade, producing a better tasting matcha.
Culinary can be rather bitter and is best suited for food.
The main issue, though, is that there isn't too much regulation with how these teas are graded.
As such, virtually anyone can stamp “ceremonial” on the tea without actually ensuring the quality.
This is why it is important to buy a premium brand or to do your research.
Keep in mind that the ceremonial grade matcha will cost more.
Still, the taste will make it worth your while.
Should You Add Milk and Sugar to Matcha?
There is a chance that you may not enjoy matcha, even after trying out the ceremonial grade.
Thus, you may be wondering if your only avenue is to add milk and sugar to the drink.
When you do this, though, you compromise the health benefits of matcha.
Not to mention, you are increasing the calorie content of the beverage quite a bit as well.
So, it is best to stay away from the milk and sugar.
If you still insist on adding these components, opt for a low-calorie, non-dairy milk.
And, look for a healthier sweetener.
So there you have it – you now have some idea what matcha tastes like. You may feel a little braver about ordering your first cup.
Dr. Dheena Sadik
Consultant Nutritionist and Dietician
Dr. Dheena Sadik is a consultant Nutritionist and Dietician. She has over a decade of experience in the health and fitness industry. However, her love for tea began long before she understood the health benefits of tea. Growing up in Sri Lanka, Dheena had the privilege of being surrounded by the world-famous Ceylon tea. This is what got her started on her exploration of the various types of tea. She has now extensively tasted and examined teas from all over the world.