How Matcha Is Made
How is Matcha Made?
What’s matcha? What does it taste like? Why is it so green? Is matcha good for you? Can matcha help with weight loss? How much caffeine does matcha have? A few times a month we tackle a new topic about the mysterious yet delicious, superpowered green tea known as matcha. This week, we’re taking a look, not at the health benefits of matcha (which are plentiful) or how it can help you kick your bad caffeine habit, but at how it’s made. Not all matcha is made equal, and how your matcha is made is important. Take a look at how high-quality Tenzo matcha is made.
High Quali-Tea Matcha Comes From High-Quality Tea
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start… Like all teas, matcha comes from the Camellia sinesis plant. To make basic green tea, the leaves are simply picked and dried once the plant is mature. For black tea, the leaves of this plant of fermented until they reach their desired state. And if you wanted to make oolong tea, you would use partially fermented leaves from the Camellia sinesis.
But matcha is a completely different beast. To preserve its nutrients and give it its signature flavor, Camellia Sinensis plants grown for matcha require more hands-on care. Before the plant reaches maturity, it’s moved out of full sunlight into partial shade. This is what makes matcha so special. When the plant is deprived of sunlight, it ups its chlorophyll and amino acid production to survive, giving the leaves a much more potent green color and gives matcha the rich earthy flavor we know and love. Moving the plant to the shade also ensures that excessive sunlight doesn’t kill any of the nutrients or antioxidants in the leaves, which is why matcha is so much more powerful than green tea.
It’s important to know that the Camellia sinesis plant does have some variations. And these variations do affect the quality of the tea. While all matcha comes from some type of Camellia sinesis, the varieties that produce the best matcha are from one of three Japanese plants known as: samidori, okumidori, and yabukita. And, it’s why all of our matcha comes straight from Japanese farms.
You’ve Got to Grind To Get Quality Matcha
Once the matcha plants are matured, it’s time to harvest. Tea plants of all kinds can be harvested multiple times a year, typically around two or three times. However, high-quality matcha only comes from plants that have been harvested once and always by hand. When the plants for matcha are shaded, the growth they put out becomes much more delicate and lush. During the harvesting process, only these soft new leaves and stems are pruned for their desirable color and nutrient-dense makeup.
After the plants have been harvested they are lightly steamed to stop the enzymatic action within the leaves, then dried large with heated blowers. Once they’re dry it’s time to grind… literally. After drying, they’re sorted and stemmed according to quality. Then the freshest, greenest leaves are turned over to a large granite wheel, where they are ground into the very fine powder that we know and love as matcha. After this, they’re vacuum-sealed and refrigerated until they’re ready to be shipped.
The More You Know…
This painstaking process is what gives matcha its superfood power and its name. The Japanese for matcha (抹 茶) literally means “ground tea.” Understanding the harvesting process and how matcha is made gives us a better understanding of why this green tea is so much more powerful than its contemporaries. Matcha is handled carefully from the start, and we take special care to ensure that the matcha you get from us meets the same high-quality standards. All matcha is not made the same, but all Tenzo matcha is made with the utmost care.