Matcha is a fine powder made from green tea leaves. It has a bright, emerald green color and a rich, vegetal taste. The tea plants used to make matcha are shaded for the last few weeks leading up to the harvest, which results in a dark green tea leaf that contains higher levels of chlorophyll, caffeine, and l-theanine. After the tea leaves are harvested, they are steamed in order to halt the oxidation process. They are then stone-ground into a fine powder and packaged for sale.
Culinary grade matcha is a slightly lower grade of matcha than ceremonial grade matcha. It is usually less expensive, and is designed to be added to lattes, smoothies, baked goods, and other recipes. Culinary grade matcha tends to have a bolder, less nuanced flavor designed to stand up to other ingredients.