Is "ceremonial" matcha somehow better? Is it even real?

This term has lost most of its meaning. Because there is no governing body of any type that monitors/controls what can be labeled ceremonial, anyone can -- and does -- use this moniker to connote quality, even though much of the “ceremonial” matcha on the marketplace is in fact barely culinary -- much of it could be better described as “industrial.”

Moreover, many tea ceremonies in Japan notoriously serve sub-par matcha. In the end, many of the ceremonies aren’t really about tea at all, they’re about choreography and pedigree. Sometimes the teas are tasty, but more often they’re oxidized and bitter and astringent; hallmarks of culinary (or worse) matcha.

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