Matcha has been one of the trendiest teas in recent years. I think part of that is that it is incredibly versatile. Matcha can be enjoyed on its own, as part of lattes and other beverages, or even as an ingredient for making sweet and savory treats. In this post, I’ll explore that flexibility by trying out three different matcha offerings from Two Leaves and a Bud.
This is a company that brings up a lot of nostalgia for me. When I first became interested in tea, I started branching out by trying some of the different brands I was able to find at specialty grocery stores. Two Leaves and Bud was one of those that I reached for often because their whole leaf sachets were the closest thing to loose-leaf tea that I had access to. Even back then, I remember loving their commitment to sustainability. It was a purchase that I didn’t have to feel guilty about.
Thank you to Two Leaves and a Bud for sponsoring this blog post! Their teas were a big part of the start of my tea journey so it is exciting to be working with them all of these years later. Sponsored posts like this one help me cover hosting fees and other expenses for running this blog.
Two Leaves and a Bud’s Ceremonial Matcha Tea Single-Serve Sticks come in packs of 10 sticks. They also sell them in tins of 15, which would make a nice gift for someone looking to get started with matcha. Each stick is an individual serving size of matcha. I really like this type of packaging because it is super convenient for making matcha wherever you might be. There’s no measuring or worrying about making a mess. You can whisk them up with hot water or pour them into a water bottle and shake on the go. I like to keep one or two of these tucked away in my purse in case of a caffeine emergency.
The matcha was a nice bright green color. I sifted it before whisking, but the tea was not super clumpy at all. The taste was sweet and vegetal with plenty of umami. It frothed easily without too much effort. I was a little nervous at first because the recommended water temperature of 195℉ was quite a bit hotter than my usual practice. Thankfully this tea stands up well to hotter water without bringing out any unpleasant bitterness. I think it is a very approachable matcha for that reason. The fact that it is organic is also a nice bonus.
You all know I love a traditional bowl of matcha, but I also enjoy indulging in a latte now and then. Two Leaves and a Bud designed their Nice Matcha Green Tea for exactly that purpose. The ingredients include dietary fiber, pure cane sugar, and matcha green tea. It is gluten-free and vegan. There is 4g of sugar in 1 heaping tablespoon of Nice Matcha. That’s not bad at all, especially compared to how much sweeter matcha lattes served by big chain shops can be. The awesome thing about making your lattes at home is that you have ultimate control over how strong or sweet your drink is.
The tea was slightly less bright in color than the ceremonial matcha but still very nice looking. For this post, I made this tea as an iced latte using 2% milk and a cocktail shaker. The taste had a fresh, clean feeling with just the right amount of sweetness. It wasn’t gritty at all and the matcha did not settle quickly to the bottom of my glass. The serving suggestions that Two Leaves and a Bud listed on the package gave me a lot of inspiration for other fun drinks to make. I’ve got to try this in hot chocolate and overnight oats!
Last but not least in this deep dive is Everyday Matcha, the culinary grade offering from Two Leaves and a Bud. It is 100% matcha green tea without any sugar or additives. This is your go-to ingredient when it comes to cooking with matcha. It is also a great choice for those who prefer to make unsweetened lattes. Keep reading for the Q&A for a great explanation of what makes this tea different from the other matcha offerings from Two Leaves and a Bud.
Everyday Matcha was a nice bright green color. It seemed a little denser in consistency than the ceremonial. To test this tea out I just had to use it to make the Matcha-Lemon Sugar Cookies from my book, The Tea Recipe Book. I used a stand mixer to incorporate the matcha into my cookie dough and it mixed in quickly and easily without any stubborn clumps. It kept its color and flavor well through baking and even as the cookies were stored for a few days.
Q&A with Two Leaves and a Bud
Q: The popularity of matcha has really exploded in the last few years. When did you first add matcha to your collection and what changes have you noticed since then?
A: Our first matcha product was the Ceremonial Matcha. I had been aware of matcha for a long time through my travels over the years in Japan. The traditions surrounding it were fascinating. By 2017, there was enough awareness in the U.S market that adding matcha to our collection seemed to make sense. Of course, our Ceremonial Matcha comes from Japan and has that bright, fresh green hue and a round and delicate flavor that has been so prized throughout the centuries.
As matcha lattes became more popular, we worked on a blend that was made specifically for those beverages – to be blended with milk or milk alternatives and the “Nice Matcha” was born. This has become a staple in our café market. The Everyday Matcha was added to give those who appreciate matcha a more affordable option so that they could drink it every day. The flavor is a bit stronger as it comes from the second harvest of the season, but that is what makes it perfect for baking and blending into other recipes. The Everyday Matcha is perfect for the matcha lover who loves to “play” and get creative with this delicious flavor and beautiful color. We also have our very popular Matcha Mint tea sachets. Here, you have the full green tea leaves, some matcha powder, and a touch of American mint. If you like green tea, this is a great one!
Q: What was the process like to source matcha for each of the different offerings in your catalog? Are there different characteristics that you look for in an ideal ceremonial matcha vs culinary?
A: Matcha grades are confusing at best. Originally, when matcha was first created for the tea ceremonies, a few centuries ago, there was only one grade – the finest possible. Matcha evolved into different grades in the 70s and 80s for the green tea ice cream business. So, culinary matcha as a concept was created. Our organic Ceremonial Matcha is extraordinarily high quality for an organic tea. I put that caveat in about organic tea because just like the absolute finest bottles of wine, the finest matchas are not certified organic. They are not certified organic because they don’t need to be. The gardens can sell them for thousands of dollars an ounce and never need to pay the certification. Ours comes from a garden that is fully certified.
You can tell different grades of matcha by the color and of course by the flavor. The color should be a vivid, bright green. Not quite neon but really bright. The flavor should be intense and tea flavored. Good ones will have an overtone of some seaweed, almost a little astringent saltiness, and will have complexity of flavor. That is what we strive for in our Ceremonial Matcha.
In culinary matcha, we are looking for fantastic flavor with a color that is not very bright. There are a lot of matcha’s out there that look very good but don’t taste very good.
When we are sourcing matcha or any tea for that matter, it’s not a question about sourcing it once and then you’re done. Every year you have new harvests, so we are always looking for better quality. In fact, we are in the process right now of getting a much better quality culinary matcha added to our range. It is an ongoing challenge, a fun one, which is core to our business, to continue finding good matcha and great teas.
By now you’ll see why I’m such an ardent fan of matcha. It can do so many things! I really enjoyed getting to dig a bit deeper into one of my favorite teas through the lens of a single company. I couldn’t even pick one of these over the others because they each have a unique purpose.
What is your favorite tea from Two Leaves and Bud? Let me know in the comments below!
Two Leaves and Bud is offering 10% off all matcha products just for Tea for Me Please readers. Click the button below and enter code TEAFORME10 at checkout.
Two Leaves and a Bud sponsored this blog post. Opinions are my own.