Once you own quality matcha, you can unlock the door to so many recipes! From gorgeously green pancakes and cookies to the classic matcha latte, you can make some of the yummiest foods with the trendy green tea powder—all at a reasonable price. But before you can explore the new exotic ingredient, you know how to shop for matcha. With all of the options out there, it can be harder than you may think.

The first time I tried to buy my own matcha, I was greeted by lumpy and discolored powder that looked nothing like my Starbuck's latte. It didn't taste like it either. 

Three matcha bags and hours of research later, here are the four things to look for when are looking to buy some quality matcha (AKA the only kind you should buy):

1. It is made in Japan

Lara Taniguchi

A lot of the things that we buy in America have the well-known "Made in China" stamp on the bottom. Not your matcha! Matcha is originally grown in Japan and that is where 80% of today's product comes from. That means, if it comes from Japan, it is probably fresher (and tastier) than it would be if it came from China.

2. It comes in resealable packaging

matcha, green tea, herb, vegetable
Sam Jesner

Matcha gets its amazing flavor from preventing its oxidation when it is made. An airtight container will keep that oxidation from happening after it is made. Look for matcha stored in an airtight tin or resealable bag for the freshest and most spectaular flavor possible!

3. It is bright green

matcha, tea, herb, green tea
Sam Jesner

Quality matcha is a lot more vibrant and earthy than your average matcha latte. A yellow or brown tinge can be signs of oxidation or improper harvesting. If the color is more muted, that could be a sign that it has artificial sweeteners. Go with the green for the best quality!

4. It breaks the bank

dollar, Pay, money, cash, bill, 20, twenty
Caroline Ingalls

Matcha tea leaves go through complex processing to harness its unique health benefits. If you think the price is pretty reasonable on your college student budget, that might be a red flag. With matcha, you get what you pay for.

$SpoonTip: Shelling out $30-$40 for good matcha still saves you money on regular Starbucks trips.

The Final Say

Once you know what you're looking for, finding the right matcha brand should be a walk in the park. A park almost as bright green as your matcha, that is!