Matcha is not just a pulverised tea. Indeed, any tea can be dried and worked into powder form. When a simple green tea is used not much more than bitter-tasting compounds are left over, not to mention other important minerals such as the amino acid L-theanin and especially the anti-oxidant Epigallocatechningallat. Besides that, “substitute products”, to name them kindly, offer nothing of Matcha’s fresh, floral flavour and even in terms of colour do not vaguely resemble the strong bright Matcha green.
Unmatched by other teas, three factors are essentially responsible for the quality of original Matcha :
Hand cultivated Tencha tea
First of all, Matcha is exclusively produced from the Tencha tea type. This is the finest but also the rarest type of tea in Japan. Tencha is always cultivated by hand and only accounts for one percent of Japanese tea production. Obviously the harvesting is carried out exclusively through intensive handwork.
Shading weeks before picking
A second reason for the extraordinary properties of Matcha lies in the fact that approximately four weeks picking it is placed in the shade to finish ripening, thereby earning it its intensive green colour.
Left: green tea powder, right: original japanese Matcha
Processing in Handwork
Thirdly, also the processing of the tea into Matcha is based on pure hand work and traditional experience.
This is how the dust- fine pulverisation using grind stones out of granite was carried out unchanged over centuries. All the work is performed by the stones. The individual particles of powder are only 5 to 17 micrometers in size. They are so small in size that they cannot be felt with the fingertips or on the tongue. Matcha production is therefore extremely labour intensive. From the time of picking until the tea is ready, dozens of work hours go into just a single kilo of Matcha. With such a high level of labour required, it is clear that to achieve authentic Japanese Matcha only the best Tencha tea is used.
Nevertheless, even with the top grades there are sometimes variations in quality. Not only the region of cultivation, its characteristics, its altitude, and whether the tea grows effectively on a plane but also the level of mastery of the individual tea farmer plays a role in this.
Continue to → Ripening in the shade