Organic Matcha vs Non-Organic Matcha | MetaMatcha
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Organic Matcha vs Non-Organic Matcha

Organic Matcha

In the West, especially in the United States, there’s been a recent craze with using organically grown foods.  Now, this craze is not unfounded.  Organic food is generally much healthier for consumption due to the alarmingly high level of toxins apparent in non-organic food.  The main difference between organic and non-organic food, is that organic food is grown without the aid of pesticides, herbicides, or non-natural fertilizers.  But is all organic food better than non-organic food?  The answer is that it depends.  In the case of organic Matcha versus non-organic Matcha, benefits range on color, flavor, functionality, price, and safety.

How does organic Matcha compare to non-organic Matcha in appearance and taste?


Appearance and taste are probably some of the biggest differences that can be attributed to the growing process.  Matcha gets its deep green color and taste from its amino acid content, coming from the shade-growing process.  If the Tencha leaves (leaves that Matcha is ground from) are exposed to light during key times during the growing process, the amino acids will be converted to catechins, which bring a bitter taste with them.  Because the Tencha leaves are shade-grown, they do not receive energy from the sun.  That means that the leaves need a different source of energy to attain the maximum amount of Chlorophyll and beneficial amino acids.  This energy is usually provided by fertilizers.  The problem with organic fertilizers is that they take over three months to take full effect, which does not optimize well with the shade-growing process, thereby not providing enough energy to allow the leaves to grow to their maximum potential.  Without achieving the maximum growth potential, the organic Matcha is rendered less green and more bitter with a less full-bodied taste.


As previously mentioned, the shade-grow process affects the functionality of Matcha as well.  Non-organic Matcha receives the necessary fertilizers to maximize the growth of amino acids–specifically L-Theanine – and antioxidants in the Tencha leaves.  However, this varies in grades of Matcha.  What we mean specifically is that the lowest grade of non-organic Matcha has less antioxidants and L-Theanine than the lowest grade of organic Matcha; however, the highest grade of non-organic Matcha has much more antioxidants and L-Theanine than the highest grade of organic Matcha.  The spread and variance in functionality are much larger than in organic Matcha.  While we have seen the lowest L-Theanine content in low grades of non-organic Matcha, we have also seen the highest L-Theanine content in a high quality non-organic Matcha.


Price is similar to functionality in this context.  The variance and spread for non-organic Matcha grades are much larger than that of organic Matcha.  On average however, non-organic Matcha is cheaper than organic Matcha, especially with regard to culinary grades and lower ceremonial grades.


But coming to the crux of the matter in choosing organic Matcha or non-organic Matcha, is non-organic Matcha safe enough for consumption?  The answer is most likely, yes.  Most Matcha is sourced from Japan.  Not only do the farmers in Japan have very strict processes they follow for growing and harvesting Matcha, but Japan also has the “most strictly enforced agriculture laws in the world.[1]” The Japanese government has placed a limit of “1 mg of pesticides per kilogram of tea leaves, which is the lowest limit on pesticides in the world,” thus rendering the difference between organic and non-organic leaves almost negligible when it comes to pesticide content.[2]  Additionally, Japanese farmers use a system where they use “organic chemical fertilizers for most of the year, and will use a minimal amount of non-organic chemical fertilizers at crucial moments.[3]” To make sure the quality of non-organic leaves is consistent with Japanese law, farmers make sure the harvested leaves are always tested for pesticide residue.  The leaves are discarded if above the legal safety standard.  It is important to note that Matcha sourced from other countries such as China and India do not share this safety standard, and these countries have in fact frequently been cited in the news for illegal pesticide usage.


If you’re familiar with the organic Matcha we use in MetaMatcha, you are probably wondering why we are touting all the possible benefits of non-organic Matcha. We aren’t trying to blindly feed the organic product machine that’s been growing for some time now, but rather align our offering with those associations of Matcha that are popular in the West.  Matcha is known for its signature taste on this side of the world, so we wanted to provide a drink that highlights the unique taste of Matcha as the hero against other flavors, all the while complimenting it and soothing the less desirable parts of the bitterness.  After all, we do serve a Matcha drink!  Additionally, we want our offering to have consistently high quality with regard to functionality, but at an affordable price.  If we offered our drinks with the highest grade of non-organic Matcha, they would prove unaffordable for even the most die-hard Matcha fans.  Thus, we mostly offer high grade organic Matcha in our products; however, if you’d like to try some very high quality non-organic Matcha, please try our Zen Master’s hyper-premium Matcha!


[1] Weldon, Shawn. “Organic Matcha vs Non-Organic Matcha.” Green Tea Guide. N.p., 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.


[2] Weldon, Shawn. “Organic Matcha vs Non-Organic Matcha.” Green Tea Guide. N.p., 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.


[3] Tanaka, Hide. “Organic vs. Non-Organic.” Ujido: The Path of Zen. Ujido, 15 Sept. 2015. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.