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How is Matcha Produced?

Matcha begins its journey derived from the same plant, the camellia sinensis, as all other green teas, but the unique way it is cultivated, harvested and processed gives matcha its distinctive health and flavor properties.

Shade Growing

In early spring, several weeks prior to harvest, the tea plants are progressively blanketed in black vinyl sheets to block out sunlight. The tea leaves respond by amplifying their production of chlorophyll and amino acids, particularly the mood-enhancing L-theanine. This unique shade growing process is what gives matcha its unparalleled health properties and deep, intense, umami flavor profile.

Labor-intensive Harvesting

Once the shade-grown tea leaves are ready for harvest, only the youngest, greenest and sweetest leaves are selected and plucked by hand. These leaves are then steamed and laid out flat to dry.

Once dried, the leaves are sorted by grade, with only the very best of the best earning a ceremonial-quality grade (the remaining leaves are assigned lower grades, of medium, culinary, etc. to be used for mixing, blending and baking).

Finally, the leaves are de-veined, de-stemmed and refrigerated to preserve their freshness and nutrients. Tea leaves processed to this stage are called "tencha."

Stone Grinding

The final step of the journey from traditional green tea leaf to matcha is the laborious process of stone-grinding by hand into a fine powder. It can take an hour or more just to produce several grams of powdered tea. This stone-grinding process is what makes matcha matcha (in fact, the characters used to write matcha, 抹茶, literally mean "fine-ground tea").

Matcha - The Crowned Jewel of all Teas

This labor-intensive grinding process enables matcha to be consumed as the entire tea leaf and thus derive 10x+ the health benefits in each cup of tea versus traditional steeped green tea. And it is the exhaustive overall process--from shade growing to hand plucking to steaming and drying to selecting and sorting to grinding--that gives matcha its incomparable health benefits and flavor profile, thus earning it the title the crowned jewel of all teas.