Ceremonial Matcha is the highest quality grade Matcha Tea powder. The other two grades are premium grade and culinary grade, which is oftentimes used for cooking.
Ceremonial grade Matcha has been grown in a way to ensure that the pure, earthy and nutty flavour for which Matcha Tea is well known comes through with every sip. This high quality tea should ideally be enjoyed without milk, milk alternatives, sugar, or sweeteners, if you want to enjoy the pure flavour of Matcha. However, and I admit this, I personally love my ceremonial Matcha tea with a hint of oat drink.
The taste of ceremonial grade Matcha is very mild, but still full of flavour. Nevertheless, if you use it for cooking, the taste of spices and other strongly flavoured ingredients will mask or overpower the Matcha flavour. Of course it can be used, but due to the higher price of ceremonial grade Matcha, the cheaper culinary grade Matcha is generally preferred for cooking or baking.
Ceremonial Matcha Tea is the only kind of Matcha that is allowed to be used during the Chanoyu, or Japanese Tea Ceremony. Due to the careful processing of the powder and due to the fact that ceremonial grade consists only of the green leaves of the plant, it is the most nutritionally rich kind of Matcha available. Ceremonial Matcha is shade-grown under bamboo mats for the last few weeks of its cultivation. The leaves are then picked by hand, and the nutritionally-worthless veins and stems are removed. These stems, for example, are sometimes used for the lower grade or qualities of Matcha powder. The remainder of the leaf is then stone-ground until all that’s left is a fine green powder - the Matcha Tea powder. The process of stone grinding makes the matcha suitable for a thick-style tea. Thanks to its bright green color, it can easily be recognized from the premium or culinary grades.