Anyone interested in matcha tea realizes the wide diversity among brands, both in terms of quality and price. Venturing past the tea itself, into the wide, wide world of matcha-related products, is another experience entirely. The sheer volume of available soaps, bath soaks, nail polish, recipe books, buying guides, candies, massage oils, lip balms, nutritional supplements and other matcha-related products is enough to induce sensory overload. In which case, it’s probably time for a nice long bath… in water infused with matcha crystals of course!
Here are some of the more enticing products, in no special order, and with no specific preference for sellers or brands. We simply selected a product in each major category (linked to each section title) to offer an idea of what’s available for online shoppers.
All the rage in Japanese and California salons, authentic matcha nail polish, and even “matcha colored” polish is one of the cosmetic products you can make for yourself. Here’s how: Add a bit of matcha tea powder to your favorite white nail polish, along with a few drops of polish remover. Be certain to sift the tea powder thoroughly before adding it to the white polish. Shake well and apply it to your nails. Note that after drying, the green color will darken and brighten. Experiment with the amount of powder depending on your color preference.
Clothing (“tea-shirts” are the most common matcha clothing items, but you’ll also encounter hats, belts, and jewelry)
This is another product you could easily create yourself, but there are some clever, ready-made t-shirts and caps that are reasonably priced. Sites like Etsy and all the big custom shirt and hat makers have most of your favorite matcha slogans ready to ship.
Matcha facial masks are taking the esthetics world by storm. There are literally hundreds of sellers and resellers in the online marketplace. Fortunately, you can make your own with a teaspoon of tea and the same amount of honey. After mixing the two ingredients, apply the paste and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Then remove it with a damp cloth. For those who aren’t crazy about honey, water is a good substitute, as is olive or almond oil. For a truly organic experience, use a teaspoon of matcha powder mixed with a half-cup of mashed bananas. Many high-end salons use banana mixes as a treatment for dry skin.
Matcha candy made in Japan is an entire market segment in itself. Price and quality are all over the map, and it helps to read up on a particular item before buying. The word “candy” means something different to the Japanese, so be ready for lots of sugarless offerings that are merely matcha-flavored hard candies with a sour taste. Chocolates are usually a good bet, especially the bite-size Kit Kat bags and other Japanese brands of chocolates.
Tea sets and utensils
If you already have tea and are looking for a good set of utensils, the Internet is your friend. Beware, though, of all the “gift sets” that come with an ounce or two of poor quality matcha tea. It’s just an excuse to pump the price. When shopping for utensils, opt for the bare-bones sets that includes a whisk, bowl and scoop, and perhaps a whisk-holder and sifter. Many sets come with a tray of some sort for additional cost of course.
In the nutrition section of many grocery stores, one can now find a rather odd entry in the matcha family of products. Apparently, some consumers would rather acquire most of the health benefits of matcha tea without enjoying its great taste. In any case, when considering matcha supplement tablets, look for a trusted brand, no additives, and a reasonable price. You can pull the tablets apart and see the tea inside. So, look at the weight of the product and determine whether the price falls within the price range for matcha tea powder of average grade. Some cost 5 times what they should, while others are priced right.
Again, there’s a lot of variation here. Note that many of the soap products will say “matcha” on their labels but contain only a miniscule amount. Most of the Japan-sourced matcha soaps cost more but tend to have tea powder as their main ingredient. Avoid “matcha-scented” items in this line, as it seems everyone wants to leverage the name but few sellers are willing to include a significant amount of matcha in the final product.
Bath soaks that contain matcha tea vary so widely in price you’ll wonder what’s going on. Price gouging is the answer to the question. These were some of the original non-tea matcha products to hit the market a decade ago, and plenty of unscrupulous players got into the game.
The smartest thing to do is make your own matcha bath soak, using food-grade tea powder. Simply add about 3 tablespoons of tea powder to a warm bath. Allow it to mix and then add a cup or so of Epsom salts. This is the best way to get all the benefits of the matcha powder without the high cost of the commercial products, which also contain lots of chemical additives in most cases.
Consider DIY options
Even online shopping enthusiasts who love everything matcha should keep in mind that do-it-yourself versions of many products are simple to make and cost far less than most of the brand-name items. So, before venturing online, credit card in hand, to purchase matcha everything, do a quick term search on your favorite product with the prefix “make your own…,” and you’ll be surprised at the results.
Things like facial masks, bath soaks, lip balm, cookies, and even nail polish made with matcha are easy to make at home. Also be sure to comparison shop when searching for matcha-related items because prices vary widely, especially within the cosmetics segment.
But because matcha tea powder is so user-friendly, there’s really no end to the products you can make or buy to satisfy a deep matcha craving. After all is said and done, the essential truth about matcha tea remains: it goes best with hot water, in a small bowl, first thing in the morning.