What Should Matcha Taste Like

What Should Matcha Taste Like

Matcha lattes are everywhere, but the flavor is hard for people to describe. There’s a reason for this. A quality matcha should be both subtle and complex. If you’re getting all bitter, or something similar to green tea, you aren’t getting quality matcha. If the coffee shop is drowning it in milk and sugar so you can barely taste the matcha, that might also mean you’re savoring a less-than-ideal grade. Here’s what you should be tasting.


Matcha is packed with chlorophyll, hence the green color. That also lends it a vegetable, grassy flavor that is often the first note people pick up on when trying matcha. It should be similar to wheatgrass or remind you of sticking a sprig of grass in your teeth as a kid


This is another common way people try to describe matcha’s unique flavor. It is normal to pick up a soft flavor of earth, like what you taste when you smell fresh turned dirt or in the air at the beginning of a rainstorm. It should be soft and pleasant.


A high grade matcha has a slight sweetness. You are tasting the shade protected L-Theanine and catechins here. Once again it is subtle and soft, like the hint of sweetness in a green melon. The further from ceremonial grade, the more bitter a matcha becomes as tannins form with more sunlight.


Another hard to describe flavor, umami is a Japanese word to portray the warm, savory, almost meaty flavor found in bone broths and similar foods. Expect some savory notes to your matcha, similar to seaweed, but not fishy. If your matcha tastes fishy, it is most likely being scalded by too hot of water. Keep your temperature between 170 and 180 degrees.


Matcha isn’t just a flavor experience. It is also tactile. You should feel a silky smooth texture that enhances the flavor. Use a whisk or a milk frother to help the matcha dissolve. Use a good quality milk to complement the texture too.

Not Green Tea

Matcha is grown from the same plant, but it definitely should not taste like it. Yes, it has some similar notes to many green teas, but it is far less bitter and delicate in flavor than its full sun grown cousins. It is not steeped, so the whole leaf powder alters the flavor too. Many people who love green tea, do not enjoy matcha. But many who hate green tea find they enjoy matcha very much.

Vibrant Color

We do taste with our eyes to some extent, so the color matters. A good matcha is a vibrant green. That doesn't mean it won’t have some minor hints of yellow, brown, and gray. It also doesn’t mean a deep, dark green. Matcha is grown in shade, so the chlorophyll leans toward a solid, slightly yellow green. If you get a chance to look at a tea plant, you will note the color variations in the leaves. These show up in the matcha. That being said, you also do not want a very brown or gray matcha. This is indictive of  a later harvest or lower grade. Your matcha will also start browning slowly as soon as you open the package as oxidation naturally occurs. Store it in a cool, dark place, and keep it sealed.

Like Matcha

Ultimately, this special green drink has its own unique flavor that really only can be described as matcha. Try several and compare them to each other, rather than to other beverages. That will help you identify what you like or don't and narrow down what matcha means to you. Matcha is deeply personal. Find your matcha here.