You might ask What is Matcha Tea? – Matcha is one of the finest form of green tea ever. The powdered tea is extremely expensive to produce and is one of the highest quality teas in the world!

Matcha 抹茶 is Japanese and means “ground tea” in english. The term describes a ground green tea powder that comes from Japan. Matcha is not poured like other teas, but simply mixed with water and drunk. The entire tea leaf is consumed. Matcha has a lot of caffeine and is used as a pleasant watchmaker. The noble powder is also particularly popular at the famous Japanese tea ceremony. In this Blog Post you will get the Answer to “What is Matcha Tea?”

 

what is matcha tea
Matcha tea during preparation

What is Matcha Tea? – History of Quality Matcha Tea

The origin of Matcha is actually in China. During the “era of powder tea” it was common here to grind all the teas into a powder and then pour them in. The grinding of the tea leaves is now straight in oblivion in China. Fortunately, the Japanese monk Eisai brought tea bushes to Japan in the 12th century. He also handed over chinese knowledge of tea production.

The Japanese took up this knowledge and brought it to perfection over the centuries. Because of its elaborate production, the noble drink was for a long time reserved almost exclusively for the rich and powerful in the country. It was drunk on special occasions and religious ceremonies. These ceremonies later culminated in the “cha-no-yu“, the Japanese tea zeromoniis. The “cha-no-yu” is performed as a kind of meditation and is intended to bring inner peace and peace.

Cultivation and production

The tea plants from which Matcha is made are shaded for approximately 21-28 days before harvesting. Due to the overshadowing, a lot of chlorophyll and a mixture of different amino acids are formed in the tea leaves. These give the finished tea a deep and dark color. In addition, an intense umami develops through the amino acids, which gives the matcha its typical grassy and often algae-like taste.

The plants are covered by so-called “cubes”, large black nets, which allow only a fraction of the sunlight to pass through. Especially expensive teas are overshadowed with rice straw mats. This type of shading is called the “Tana-Honzu technique”. This technique is the most elaborate form of overshading. The straw mats provide a more natural and pleasant climate for the plants. Less heat accumulates under the mats, which is beneficial for the quality of the tea. In addition, the rice straw releases additional minerals to the soil during rains and serves as a natural fertiliser.

Harvesting process Matcha tea

Tea is harvested in Japan by highly specialized harvesters. On the one hand, because there are too few harvesters in Japan, and on the other hand because harvesting with machines is now possible at extremely precise and high-quality levels. For the highest quality varieties, the top leaves of the tea plant are picked, as they give an intense and full-bodied taste.

Tea is harvested in Japan from spring to late summer. The harvest periods are as follows:

  1. Picking/ Ichibancha: Highest quality picking in spring from April to May
  2. Picking/ Nibancha: less high quality, but still solid picking in summer from June to July.
  3. Picking/ Sanbancha: penultimate picking with rather low quality
  4. Picking/ Yonbancha: Last pick with lowest quality in September
Organic tea farm Uji Japanese tea garden
Properly laid tea fields of our tea farm in Uji!

Manufacturing process: From green tea leaves to the finished matcha

After harvesting, the tea is processed immediately. The fresh and bright character of the tea leaves should be preserved as best as possible. First, the tea leaves are steamed. The hot vapours deactivate the enzymes within the tea leaves and thus prevent oxidation. The steaming also gives rise to the fresh and grassy character of many Japanese green teas.

Afterwards, the tea leaves are slightly dried and slightly crushed. Unlike all other teas, the leaf material for Matcha is not rolled or rolled. After crushing, the leaves are only dried. Subsequently, the sheet material enters a tube through which a constant air flow passes. The light leaf tissue is pushed upwards and thus separated from the heavier leaf veins and stems. The tea that has now been created, which consists only of the leaf tissue, is called tencha.

The tencha can now be ground into fine green powder. At lower quality levels, this is done on ceramic mills. The highest quality varieties, on the other hand, are ground on granite mills. It is extremely important that the tea is ground slowly. We ground the tea too quickly, then too much heat is created and the tea loses quality. To grind 30 g of tea, a granite mill takes about an hour.

 

Matcha quality – what do you have to pay attention to when buying matcha green tea?

First of all, it should always be original matcha from Japan. Matcha is a valuable but also expensive product. There are therefore many cheap alternatives, most of which also come from China. This fake matcha is much worse in taste than real matcha from Japan.

Genuine and good matcha can usually be recognized by the color. Bad fake matcha powder has a yellowish color. Good qualities are light green. The absolute top qualities have a deep, dark green color.

The smell also says a lot about the quality. High tea qualities are characterized by a fresh, fragrant and aromatic smell. Bad varieties, on the other hand, smell rather robust, musty or nothing at all. The texture is also important in the matcha. The powder should be as fine as possible so that the tea mixes better with the water when poured.

Of course, the taste is of the highest importance. Top qualities are characterized by an intense umami and a striking grassy and fresh touch.

Preparation Matcha Tea – The traditional japanese tea ceremony

Accessories for matcha preparation:

ChasenThe bamboo whisk: this opens the matcha
ChaskakuBamboo spoon to dose the tea
ChawanSpecial stone ground matcha bowl with wide shape
Tea towelTo keep everything clean and clean.
The right waterClean and possible with low cold content.

Matcha tea green tea green tea powder

 

The preparation of Matcha

In the following video we show the preparation of Japanese Matcha tea:

 

Matcha Tea Preparation – Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1:

It’s not hard to prepare matcha. In order to be able to beat the green powder foamy later, you should first touch a paste from the matcha. To do this, add about 2 g of tea powder and add 20 ml of water. Then mix everything with the chase to a uniform paster. This prevents the formation of lumps.

Matcha tea green tea green tea powder
Mix the matcha into a fine paste!

Step 2:

Now add another 100 ml of water to the paste and mix everything. Now it’s time to get it done: beat the matcha with an “M” shaped movement beautifully frothy!

Matcha tea green tea green tea powder
Beat everything nicely frothy!

Step 3:

The most important step of all! Now you can enjoy your matcha and participate from all the health benefits and effects on for e.g. high blood pressure it has.  🙂

Matcha tea green tea green tea powder
ready!

Care of Matcha Tea accessories

The accessories for matcha tea preparation can quickly become dirty when used frequently, which is why it is important to clean and care for all utensils regularly. The Chasen is probably the most important tool for the preparation of matcha. The bamboo whisl should be placed in water for 2-3 minutes before use. This makes the bristles nicely supple and does not break when hitting.

The bamboo spoon should be wiped with a dry and clean cloth after each use, so that no powder remains on the spoon. If this is not done, the green tea can settle in the bamboo wood and permanently contaminate it.

The bowl, the Chawan, should also be cleaned after every pleasurable matcha moment. Even before preparing the matcha, it is recommended to rinse the bowl once. This removes any dust and dirt from the shell. Matcha is a very high quality product and you don’t want to have any impurities in the finished drink.

Fancy getting matcha? We got you covered!

If you are thirsty for some aromatic, green and refreshing matcha, we have something for you! In our online shop you will find noble Matcha tea in different culinary grades from the province in the deepest heart of Japan. Our Matcha is grown completely sustainably and comes directly from the farm without intermediaries. This is good for you and your wallet. We would be happy if you would visit us in our shop. Click here!

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)