May 25, 2016 3 min read

Ceremonial Matcha Green Tea in Black Bowl

(Kenko Matcha Premium Grade - Photo by @rara_tang)

It’s one of the most common questions we get here at Kenko Tea – what’s the deal with culinary grade and ceremonial grade matcha?

To start with, the answer is really simple.

Ceremonial Grade Matcha is typically higher quality and used to make traditional matcha tea with water, while Culinary grade matcha is the one you use to make matcha lattes, smoothies, shakes and bakes.

But then it gets a little complicated…

Flavour profiles. Colour palettes. Production techniques – there’s a world of difference between these Matcha grades.

So here’s a quick guide to understanding culinary and ceremonial matcha grades – by the end, you’ll be a matcha expert!

Ceremonial matcha and culinary matcha is essentially the same thing – matcha.

Provided you have bought good quality products, both grades are made from ground up leaves from the camellia sinensis (tea) plant that has been shade grown in Japan.

Ceremonial grade matcha is made from the youngest tea leaves with all the stems and veins removed to obtain a very smooth flavour and texture.

Kenko Matcha Cooking Grade is to use for cooking, baking, and mixing beverages

(Kenko Matcha Culinary Grade - Photo by @sugarbeecakes)

Culinary grade matcha is also made from young tea leaves, but they are just a bit older.

Tea sommeliers then blend the matcha to suit their different purposes – culinary or ceremonial - creating the different grades.

Buy the best you can

While we’re on the subject of quality, with matcha tea you really do get what you pay for.

While there should be no difference in basic quality between the grades, cheaper versions of either product can often have a less enjoyable taste or produce disappointing results.

So no matter what grade of matcha tea you’re shopping for, look for the best you can get your hands on.

It’s all in the matcha blend

Ceremonialmatcha tea is generally higher quality and made to be used for making tea with water. Higher grades of ceremonial matcha generally have natural sweetness and can be drank on its own with just water.  It is traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremony is traditionally made Usucha  (thin tea) or Koicha (thick tea). 
It has slightly higher nutritional properties a it is made from younger, first harvest tea leaves which carry higher concentrations of nutrients, caffeine and antioxidants.

Traditional Matcha Tea is prepared and served with Ceremonial or Premium Grade.

(Matcha Tea - Photo by @yumezkka)

Culinarygrade matcha powder is blended to allow it to be mixed with other ingredients. It’s the jack-of-all-trades with a bitter, astringent flavor profile that shines through.

That’s why you bake with this blend of matcha, or mix drinks – it’s designed to be an ingredient for the kitchen or your local barista!

Vegan Matcha Cake is baked with Kenko Matcha Cooking Grade

(Vegan Matcha Vanilla Cake - Photo by

How to tell the difference between Ceremonial & Culinary

Aside from looking at the packet, the easiest way to tell the difference between ceremonial grade matcha tea and culinary grade is to look at it.

Ceremonial grade matcha should be a vibrant green colour, like the colour of lawn or leaves. It should also be very fine to the touch and smell kind of like freshly cut grass. Mmm!

Meanwhile, culinary grade matcha is still green and vibrant, but not as green as its ceremonial partner, while also being fine to the touch.

So what’s the best Matcha Grade to use?

Well, both matcha grades are great, depending on what you want to use them for.

Ceremonial grade matcha is designed to be naturally sweet and strong and only needs hot water to get going. You drink it straight and serve it up in tea ceremonies. Be warned though, it can be an acquired taste!

On the other hand, culinary grade matcha is blended to make matcha lattes, smoothies, cakes and whatever else your imagination can create.

It offers more versatility, often for a much lower price, and is more suited for everyday drinking on the go.

Enjoy the differences

So now that you know the differences between Culinary grade matcha and Ceremonial, why not try them both?

There’s a whole world of flavours and experiences waiting for you with Kenko Tea.

Our Reviews

Let customers speak for us

2010 reviews
like very much

the matcha is a realy nice product. we us it almost daily. the order process is fine and deliver is issue would be your associatation with SHOP i do not like this company as well as other third party companys that want to save your credit info.


I needed to contact customer service. E-mail did not exist.


I saw you sell on Amazon for less money. I tried to contact you and the e-mail was invalid. I tried e-mailing for days and the response was always the same.....invalid e-mail. does not exist. The only contact number on your website was Australia. Then I see this matcha was shipped from an Amazon facility in Kentucky - but I did not get the Amazon price! ???. I tried to file a claim with my financial institution - what a headache. I can’t rate a product that has no customer service contact. So frustrating!

Bought organic & ceremonial

I have had better matcha expected a mind blowing yummy & mind focus matcha, not so much ⭐️one star only

Ceremonial grand and the organic .

I have had a sweeter more matcha flavor in other matcha so that just tells me not all matcha are equal I give it 2 stars. I really want to love it but not as good as PIQUE brand