When it comes to recognising differences between organic and non-organic matcha, it’s easy to get confused between various labels, terms and descriptions. Let us compare organic vs non-organic tea.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide. Whether you’re new to matcha or new to organic culture, this page is for you. Pour yourself a cup of matcha, sit back and enjoy!
What is organic tea?
Organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines. While the regulations vary from country to country, an organic farmer usually combines a high level of biodiversity with a commitment to producing high-quality food. This is done using sustainable methods that benefit people, plant health, animal welfare and the whole food system.
Organic food is grown without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and fertilisers, or bioengineered genes (GMOs). The process has respect for the environment, animal welfare and biodiversity – at every stage.
There has always been debate about the benefits of organic food. Whether the methods are truly organic, and whether the costs justify the efforts. Whichever side of the fence you sit on, it’s fair to say “the low use of pesticides and antibiotics, offer benefits for human health” (1). Besides that, studies have linked consumption of organic foods with lower risks of allergies. (2)
How to identify organic tea?
Across the world there are many standards, certifications and logos showing if a product is organic. Probably too many to learn! Instead you can bookmark this list of regulated organic logos and use it on your travels.
Organic vs non-organic green tea – comparison:
Harvesting & growth
To grow and produce non-organic matcha, a farmer might use 16 to 18 pesticides to protect leaves and also to gain a vivid green colour.
On top of that, every country has different regulations about pesticides. Some have strict controls, while some are less likely to ban certain pesticides. As a result, it’s not easy to say “all” pesticides are good or bad.
However, it’s pretty easy to say organic matcha comes without any of these concerns.
Health & Environment
The majority of chemical fertilisers work quickly, so they’re popular among farmers who need to produce quickly and at scale. Of course, when chemical fertilisation and pesticides are avoided with non-organic matcha, it’s just as safe to consume as organic matcha.
Colour and taste
These are usually the crucial elements when choosing the type of matcha. The colour of non-organic matcha is less shiny, with the taste mildly sweet.
Matcha tea leaves and organic matcha comes with the more solid green appearance. This richer colour significantly boosts its natural taste and sweetness.
Organic matcha tends to have a higher price, purely because it’s a relatively laborious process, requiring high levels of skills, experience and knowledge. As an organic product, produced using natural methods, its availability also tends to be limited.
Organic matcha vs non-organic matcha
Commonly, matcha tea powder looks relatively brighter in comparison to green tea’s sometimes brown appearance. The solid green colour of the matcha tea powder comes courtesy of high-level chlorophyll and polyphenol.
Certified organic tea
Certified organic (for example USDA-labelled) means that food or other agricultural items have been grown through the authenticated methods and processes. These are examined by a USDA-accredited certifying agency before being certified.