Japanese Matcha Growing and Processing
Matcha is made from Tencha leaf. The growing method of Tencha, is similar to Gyokuro (the finest tea in Japanese green tea).
When close to harvest time, Tencha is shaded from sunshine to decrease the direct sun-light. The intensity of the shade increase until near darkness by the time of harvest.
The decrease of sun-light causes tea leaves to produce more chlorophyll and amino acid L-theanine, and this increase the umami (sweetness) taste of the tea leaf. Perfect matcha is full with umami sweetness, with no bitterness because of this high amino acid content. Our ceremony grade matcha is produced with top quality tea leaf.
For organic matcha, only organic fertilizer is used to grow Tencha tea leaf.
Picking / Harvesting
Tea leaves are picked by hand or by machine. For high quality matcha, tea leaves are hand-picked and for low quality matcha, tea leveas are machine picked. First flush tea leaves are picked at the 88th day of spring (early-May), this is refered as "Hachijuhachiya" in Japan.
After picking, tea leaves are sent to steaming process in order to stop the oxidation process to preserve the nutrients, color, aroma and flavour of tea leaf.
Tencha is then sent for drying process to reduce the water content in the tea leaf. Different than Sencha, Gyokuro or other green teas, Tencha does not go through the rolling process because Tencha will be sent for grinding in the next stage.
Lastly, tea leaves are sent to stone mill and ground into fine powder.