Matcha vs Powdered Green Tea
Do you know the difference between Matcha and powdered green tea?

Matcha vs Powdered Green Tea

Closeup of Kyoto Uji Matcha powder.

Do you know the difference between Matcha and powdered green tea?

"Matcha and powdered green tea are both powdered in appearance, but what is the difference?" We get asked this a lot. In fact, many people mistakenly think powdered green tea is Matcha.
It is true that the two look alike and it is difficult to tell the difference, but Matcha and powdered green tea are not the same at all. They are entirely different products. So, what is the difference?
Matcha green tea powder and a wooden scoop.
Basically, the tea leaves used to make the tea are different. Specifically, Matcha is powdered from tea leaves called "Tencha", and powdered green tea is powdered from tea leaves called "Sencha"(tea that is commonly drunk). So, let us look at the difference in more detail, starting with Matcha.

What is Matcha?

Matcha, in short, is made by powdering Tencha leaves. Tencha is made from tea leaves that have been grown in a special way before being steamed, dried, and purified. The special way involves covering the tea plantation with a reed screen to protect the tea leaves from strong sunlight.
Why such hassle? That is because tea leaves grown without strong sunlight grow into soft sprouts that include plenty of amino acids, such as theanine, compared to tea leaves grown in regular conditions.
Matcha green tea powder, a Matcha bowl and a whisk on Tatami.
Tea made from those leaves are called "Tencha", and tea made from Tencha leaves ground by a stone mill into powder is called "Matcha". These factors cause Matcha to be more expensive than powdered green tea.
Related: What is Matcha?

What is powdered green tea?

Powdered green tea is made from powdered "Sencha". Sencha are tea leaves from which regular green tea is made. These leaves are grown bathed in plenty of sunlight, and are steamed, kneaded, dried, and purified. When tea leaves are exposed to the sunlight, the theanine in the leaves turn into catechin.
Powdered Japanese green tea
Catechin gives a bitter taste, so Sencha is bitter compared to Tencha and has less of a mild taste. The Sencha is ground into small powder with a machine, which makes powdered green tea. Compared to Tencha, the leaves can be grown without so much hassle, making it less costly.