Ceremonial vs. Culinary Matcha

Last Update: May 19, 2023

The process of preparing a cup of matcha is ritualistic: You scoop a bit of the rich, green powder out with a spoon, sift it through a sieve to remove any clumps, allowing a dusting to gently fall into your bowl. Next, you gently pour in hot—but not quite boiling—water from a tea kettle, before finally whisking your matcha with a delicate wooden whisk. 

What is Matcha?

With its grassy, aromatic flavor, matcha makes a beneficial addition to your daily routine—one that Zen Buddhist monks have used in Japanese tea ceremonies since as far back as the 1100s.

Health Benefits of Matcha

Ceremonial vs. Culinary Matcha

When shopping for matcha, you may encounter two types: ceremonial matcha and culinary matcha. Here’s how to understand the differences in the two types so you can properly use them in a cup of matcha tea, a sweet matcha latte, or even matcha-infused baked goods.

What is Ceremonial Matcha?

The highest quality matcha available, ceremonial-grade matcha is meant to be enjoyed on its own as a traditional Japanese tea. 

  • Highest grade
  • More subtle flavor
  • Higher price point
  • To be used in traditional Japanese tea ceremony 

How to Use Ceremonial Matcha

To prepare the perfect cup of matcha tea, you’ll need: 

  • Ceremonial-grade matcha
  • A matcha whisk
  • A matcha bowl (or a low, wide mug) 
  • A small metal sieve 
  • A small wooden spoon 

How to make perfect matcha: 

  1. Boil a kettle of water until it reaches just under boiling (about 175F)
  2. Meanwhile, sift 1-2 tsp of matcha powder into a bowl through a sieve to remove clumps
  3. Gently pour about 2 ounces of hot water over the matcha powder 
  4. Whisk the matcha into the water until it starts to bubble and froth 
  5. Drink slowly and enjoy 

What is Culinary Matcha?

Culinary-grade matcha is designed to be mixed with other ingredients, making it ideal for baking, adding to smoothies, sprinkling over popcorn, or adding to savory dishes.

  • Slightly lower grade 
  • Bolder flavor 
  • Less expensive
  • Can be used in lattes, smoothies, or baking without getting overpowered by other flavors

How to Use Culinary Matcha

There are more ways to enjoy this lively green powder than just in a teacup. Here are some ideas:

  • Mix into cupcake frosting
  • Stir into cocktails
  • Add to baked goods
  • Mix into pancake batter
  • Use as a vegetable seasoning
  • Blend into smoothies
  • Mix with miso to make soup
  • Supercharge oatmeal
  • Sprinkle on popcorn
  • Add to ice cream or popsicle recipes

Best Matcha Recipes

Whether you want to make the perfect matcha latte or bake a batch of bright green, matcha-infused cookies, here are our favorite matcha recipes. 

Iced Matcha Latte

Sip your superfoods with this refreshing green brew of coconut milk, vibrant matcha powder, raw honey, and coconut oil.

Matcha Energy Bites

Snack on these supercharged morsels of Medjool dates, raw almonds, matcha powder, shredded coconut, and raw cashews.

Matcha Soba With Spicy Tofu Nuggets

Pair mild soba noodles with fiery tofu nuggets and top it off with a creamy vegan sauce made with matcha powder and raw cashews.

Matcha Mint Julep

Give this Southern sipper a twist by adding matcha to the simple syrup and mixing with bourbon, fresh mint, tonic, and crushed ice.

Vegan Salted Caramel Matcha Latte

What’s not to like about this unique trio of vegan salted caramel sauce, matcha, and almond milk served over ice? 

Matcha Macadamia Cookies

Give regular sugar cookies a gluten-free upgrade with matcha and macadamia nuts

Matcha Latte

Go easy on the caffeine and heavy on the antioxidants with this comforting combo of matcha, coconut oil, grass-fed gelatin, coconut milk, and vanilla extract.

Iced Matcha Moringa Latte

Greet the morning with moringa blended with unsweetened hemp milk, dates, matcha powder, chlorella powder, and vanilla extract.

Matcha Coconut Macaroons

The perfect texture of crispy and chewy, these gluten-free, Paleo-friendly cookies are a breeze to whip up with egg whites, raw honey, coconut chips, and matcha.

Raw Matcha Ice Cream Cake

No need to fire up the oven — this raw, frozen dessert layers a sweet coconut milk matcha “ice cream” over a crust of raw almonds, coconut oil, raw honey, and sea salt.

Matcha & Chocolate Coated Snack Stick Recipe

Our take on this Japanese favorite dips grissini, or pretzel sticks, into matcha white chocolate and drizzles dark chocolate over the top for a crunchy snack.

Matcha Chia Pudding

For breakfast or dessert, this make-ahead recipe offers equal parts superfoods and sweetness.

Maca Matcha Milkshake

This non-dairy treat shakes up a vibrant mix of matcha, maca powder, and bright lemon zest.

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Jillian Gordon

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