Matcha is a type of premium green tea powder that is traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremony.
The Uji region in Japan produces the best matcha, due to its favourable geographical conditions and climate. Four weeks prior to harvest, tea plants are shaded with tarps to reduce exposure to sunlight by 90%. This increases the production of chlorophyll, resulting in dark green colour in the leaves. The higher levels of amino acids, especially L-theanine, sweetens the tea naturally.
For high quality matcha, only the tea buds and top 2 leaves are harvested by hand. The leaves are steamed and then dried. Steaming stops fermentation, prevents nutrient loss and keeps them fresh. The leaves are sorted and categorised according to the various qualities. Then, the stems and veins are removed and the remaining tea leaves are known as tencha (pre-ground matcha).
Matcha green tea powder is produced by grinding tencha on granite stone mills. Stone grounding is crucial for determining the superior taste, flavour and colour of matcha.
Macha green powder loses its flavour, colour and freshness quickly. So, tea leaves are stored as tencha until they are required to make matcha.
Buyer Guide: How to choose the best matcha green tea powder