Best Matcha on a Budget Guide

I love matcha, but don’t love paying an arm and a leg for something that tastes good! You can’t expect to find a quality matcha for dirt cheap, but there is that golden middle ground where matcha still has great umami and mouthfeel, yet isn’t extremely bitter/astringent. That’s why I’ve put together a list of my top 5 favorite inexpensive matchas. In no particular order, let’s dive in!

1. Tezumi Tea’s Umezuki Matcha

Price: $1.15/g (20g) or $0.92/g (50g)

An Okumidori matcha from Uji that tickets all my boxes. It’s got a balanced flavor profile with solid umami. There’s a reason I’ve drunk over 100g of this matcha. Whether enjoyed as a latte or just with water, this matcha can do it all!

The fragrance on this matcha is great. It’s got a certain darkness about it with sweet and warm chocolate notes. It foams very nicely, producing a nice consistent layer which adds lightness to the tasting experience. Taking a sip, you are hit with an invitingly smooth umami and a little astringency to finish. I find the astringency to add to the flavor and balance out the umami nicely.

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2. Naoki’s Mame Matcha

Price: $0.95/g (40g)

This is a single cultivar matcha from Shizuoka. Part of what makes it so interesting is that it’s made from the Saeakari cultivar. Saeakari was derived from Saemidori  in 2011 ( ”Sae” from Saemidori and “akari” meaning light due to its bright green color).

The smell is surprisingly complex with fruity and edamame notes. It has a pleasant sweet mouthfeel and foams very well. I found the taste to start as vegetal sweetness on the tip of the tongue that rolls back to become a light astringency. I even get some toasted notes! The finish is crisp, however not sharp or offensive. If you, like me, feel like you’re always drinking the same handful of cultivars, this matcha is super refreshing.

3. Nio Tea’s Chanoka Silver

Price: $1.30/g (30g)

This is an Asahi matcha from Uji. For those who don’t know, Asahi is a cultivar known for its high flavor potential and is often used in competitions in Japan. Although this offering is not competition grade, it’s still very smooth and easy to drink.

No one flavor here is too overpowering. It has a mellow umami and gentle astringency with a nice savory aftertaste. Overall this matcha is round, well balanced, and quite smooth all the way through. The weighty/thick mouthfeel and great foamability give it even more style points.

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4. Kettl’s Hanaka Matcha

Price: $1.35/g (20g)

You don’t know what nutty matcha tastes like until you try this! This matcha is a blend from Yame who’s name “Hanaka” translates literally to “Summer Flower”. True to the name, I found this matcha to be soft and smooth on the palate.

Hanaka has a wonderfully roasty, coca fragrance and no bitterness or astringency. What makes this matcha so unique, however is it’s strong nutty taste. I love drinking this with only water, but the nuttiness is a great way to put a unique spin on the classic matcha latte.

Bonus tip: If nutty matcha is something you’re into, Kettl’s Shinme Matcha is also a must try!

5. Yunomi’s Tempaku Matcha

Price: $0.92/g (30g)

Grown and blended by a 5th generation tea master in Kyotanabe, this matcha contains two cultivars, Uji Hikari and Samidori. Generally, Uji Hikari is known for being extremely umami rich and Samidori is known for it soft round mouthfeel. When the two are combined you get something really special.

Tempaku has outstanding umami and absolutely no bitterness or astringency. Mouthfeel is incredible too. A velvety sweetness lingers on the tongue long after taking the a sip. This matcha is particularly good cold. When prepared over ice, the sweetness is exaggerated even more!

The only catch here is that Yunomi ships directly from Japan so shipping costs to the US can run you around $20. They occasionally run shipping promos however, so be on the look out!

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Have a favorite budget matcha that didn’t make the list? Let me know about it in the comments below!

Need a new chawan to go with your new matcha? Check out my Chawan Buying Guide.

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