For both Sencha and Matcha, there are teas of many different price levels available. While it makes sense that the more expensive teas taste good, I’d like to explain a bit more about the various factors affecting the price.
These three things most strongly affect the pricing:
1. The quality of the tea
Of course, the quality of the tea affects the price more than anything. Premium teas appear glossy, and are stuffed full of nutrients which give them a good weight. The flavor contains a large amount of umami compounds. and they have a wonderful fragrance. On top of this, the color of the tea is a beautiful green. On the other hand, as the price goes down, each of these things will lessen. The taste will become more astringent, the color will become yellower. A clear drop in quality can be observed in Nibancha (the second harvest of the year) and later harvests. It does stand that Ichibancha (tea from the first harvest) has the most consistent and delicious flavor. Our store carries all Ichibancha teas, other than those with a special explanation stating otherwise.
2. The balance between supply and demand
The price of a tea may change based on the supply and demand for that tea. Every year we observe that directly after the introduction of new Shincha each year, prices tend to rise. Even among Shincha teas, not all of the teas are finished for sale at the same time, and even in the same area, places which receive more sunlight, or are warm will have tea which finishes growing first, whereas mountainous areas, or colder areas have prices which tend to be lower. Of course, taste has a larger effect on pricing so it isn’t necessarily the case that tea can be bought cheaply at the end of the season, but supply and demand can have an effect on pricing like this as well. In addition to this, if the media covers a specific type of tea, such as Hoijcha or Funmatsucha, saying that it has health benefits, this can temporarily affect the price of that tea.
What is the difference in the quality of tea leaves for cheap and expensive teas?
Premium teas have wonderful fragrance, sweetness, and depth (umami), with small tea leaves, which have a shine to them, and are deep in color. Compared to this, lower quality tea leaves have a stronger bitter flavor, and the color of the tea can have hints of red or brown color. For people like me who work buying teas, it is possible to judge the quality of a tea to a certain extent even without drinking it, just by looking at it.
Why do teas with a similar taste still have different costs and flavors?
Tea reaches consumers through a number of different pathways. From producers like our company until the tea reaches consumers, a number of different distributors become involved, which inevitably raises the price. For example, before tea is sold in a supermarket, it passes through distribution companies after the manufacturer, and then arrives at the supermarket, which raises the price. However, at our store we sell the products we’ve produced directly to our customers. That’s why we can offer fair pricing, which allows you to buy tea from us worry free.
What is Good Tea?
It does stand that tea is something drunk for enjoyment, and that taste in tea varies by person. What tastes good is different from person to person, and there are those who prefer lower levels of tea to premium teas. Drinking tea is a part f your everyday life, so I hope you’ll focus less on the price, and more on picking the tea you prefer, and which will best fit with your lifestyle.
You may also enjoy spending time searching for the tea you prefer the best. The variety of teas is limitless, with the number of types, the areas of production, the time it was picked, and even the blend of tea affecting the flavor.