The Matcha Harvest

The Matcha Harvest

Harvesting Organic Matcha

 

There are two major regions in which Matcha is cultivated. One is Uji of Kyoto, and the other is Nishio in the heart of Aichi-prefecture, Japan. Some of Japan's highest quality teas come from Nishio, known as a historic tea cultivating region dating back to the 1200s. Nishio's stable climate, fresh pristine river waters, fertile soil, and remoteness from major urban development foster tea leaves that are more resiliently green and full of nutrients than those found in any other regions of Japan.  The key region for organic cultivation is in Shimoyama.

Shimoyama represents outstanding organic quality. The region is located 600m above sea level providing a cooler climate than Nishio. The lower temperature is a natural barrier and protects the organic fields as only few insects survive in the colder regions of Japan. This is very important since organic production does not use any pesticides and relies on natural fertilizers only. The organic fields are located in the valleys of the mountains away from civilization. 

Harvesting Matcha Tea


The Matcha Harvest


Matcha is harvested in the beginning of May. The fresh green tea leaves are traditionally plucked by hand — even today. After they have been harvested, the leaves are immediately dried & refined in the factory.  This refining process is the beginning of a long journey turning the leaves into Matcha powder. Our Premium Organic is harvested from May to early June, a very short window of time,  compared to non-organic Matcha.

First, the tea leaves are carefully steamed which halts the fermentation, keeping the leaves fresh, and locks in the nutritional components of the tea. Then the leaves are carried through a dryer heated at approx. 180°C / 356°F. The temperature and the time to dry depend on the respective weather condition at the time. After this process, the dried leaves weighs only 20% of its original weight. The tea leaves after this 1st refinement, is called "Aracha," which means "rough tea."

Meat of the Leaves

Aracha arrives to the 2nd refining facility. A variety of Aracha arrives from an abundant source of farmers, Next the Aracha will be sorted to its respective categories by tea sommeliers through the evaluation of color, taste, and texture. The final tea is blended from various sources by the tea sommeliers for consistent grades throughout the year. After the formulation is complete, fully automated procedure separates out all the stems, veins, and unwanted particles until the purest flesh of the tea leaves remain which is then cut to smaller pieces. At this point, the cut tea is called "Tencha" tea, which is specifically designed to be ground into Matcha....

The next step in the journey to creating the finest Matcha takes us to the production phase.

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