Many people have tried matcha but were turned off because because it tasted like bitter grass.
That's because they were drinking low-quality matcha.
Think of the difference between cooking wine and the world's most sought-after fine wine. Now, cooking wine is great for its intended purpose: in recipes as an ingredient. But like fine wine, fine matcha dances on the palette, and adding anything else to it only diminishes the experience. It has complex, sublime flavors and requires generations of expertise to perfect.
Many people new to matcha buy low-quality matcha because they just don't know better. Many vendors market lower-quality matchas as "ceremonial grade" because the margins are better. Yes, it can be difficult and costly to find good quality matcha. But it doesn't have to be.
In fact, you've already found some.
The first sign to look for is the country of origin. Many companies sell matcha from China, which often is simply ground green tea and has not been grown and prepared with the meticulous care of true matcha from Japan. Moreover, tea plants readily absorb lead and Chinese teas are often found to be contaminated with lead due to industrial pollution. This is less of a problem for other varieties of tea that are steeped, as most of the lead does not leach out while it is being steeped. But when you drink matcha, you're drinking the entire tea leaf, and everything in it - good and bad. That's why it's so important to choose matcha that has been grown in healthy soil and clean air, which Japan has in abundance. We only sell matcha from Japan.
The next sign of good matcha is the color. Excellent matcha is a vibrant electric green in color. Lower quality matcha tends to be more yellow-green.
Of course, the most important characteristic of good matcha is the flavor. Lower quality matchas tend to be bitter. The finest ceremonial-quality matchas have very little or no astringency, gentle vegetal notes, a subtle sweetness and a natural savory flavor - a taste sensation known as umami. As explained above, good matcha doesn't require milk or sugar; in fact, adding anything but water masks the harmony of flavors that are the signature of exceptional matcha.