If you are a frequent tea drinker, you probably have come-across word "first-flush", "second flush" (ichibancha or nibancha), and the price of first flush tea is much higher. If you are not sure why, let us explain it to you in this article.
The main reason why first flush is better:
During winter, tea buds hibernate for months waiting Spring to come. During this few months, all the nourishment and nutrients are stored inside the tea buds.
There is a saying "Quality stuff takes longer time to produce". First flush tea leaf grows much slower during winter or cold season, therefore it collect all the good stuff from the nature for longer time.
In what way first flush tea is better?
L-theanine is the main source of umami (plant sweetness that define the quality and grade of matcha). First flush matcha has 3x more L-theanine compare to second flush. Third and fourth flush has even much lower L-theanine. Besides, first flush has the highest amount of nutrients.
If you once tasted a very bitter matcha drink or powder, probably you are not drinking first flush matcha tea. Bitterness is not same as matcha flavor, high grade matcha has good matcha taste but low bitterness, that is the taste which you need lowest amount of sugar to balance the bitterness. therefore you get strong matcha taste but in a delicious way.
For both taste and health reason, you should pick only first flush matcha. In fact, only first flush matcha can be considered as true matcha. But in order to meet market demand, many farmers start to produce matcha with second flush, third or even fouth flush.
Why waste money purchase second or third flush, end up you hate the taste and get minimum health benefits ?