Matcha Tea is a finely ground tea powder. Yes, it's a powdered tea, that means no tea bags! The tea is specially farmed in a very specific manner that makes Matcha so special...and expensive.
Why is it so expensive?
Well, Matcha tea is created with a meticulous 4 step process that can last for up to 20 days!
Step 01. Matcha Tea is Shaded in April for two weeks [Chatsumi]
The green tea plants are shaded in April for two weeks before harvesting. This shading of the plant forces it to produce high levels of chlorofil, caffiene and essential amino acids.
The shading also prevents theanine from turning into tannin, which gives the matcha its flavour.
That sweet flavour is known as Oika.
The plant is then individually hand picked, this usually happens around May every year.
Step 02. Steamed at a High Temperature [Aracha]
The hand picked tea leaves are delivered to an Aracha processing facility. Here, the leaves are then steamed at a high temperature for 15 to 20 seconds which stops the fermentation enzyme.
The leaves are then dried very slowly and a large air dryer.
At this point of the process, the leaves are called Aracha.
Step 03. Stems and Veins are Removed by Hand [Tencha]
At this point, the stems and veins of the leaf are removed carefully.
Yes, one by one!
Leaving the supple and meaty part of the leaf for further processing. The leafs are sorted uniformly by size and color, and dried again.
The tea leaf in this condition is knows as Tencha.
In the last part of this phase, a tea master will taste a sample from each plantation from each field and using this information, he will make blends in order to produce the correct traditional flavour profile.
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Step 04. Matcha Leaf is Grinded with a Stone Mill
After delivering of the Tencha to the Matcha factory, the Tencha is then finely stone ground and micron sized in a temperature and humidity controlled environment.
This is a time consuming process as 40 grams of Matcha takes an entire hour to process.
The ground Matcha is inspected carefully and packed in a sealed container and stored in a cold dry room until it is delivered to us!