With our ever-changing environment, the issue of food quality has become of paramount importance. The soil we have today has been so depleted by over-farming and the use of insecticides and pesticides, that you cannot compare the quality of our soil or food - as little as 20 years ago - with what we have today.
As a people we have yet to understand the significance or impact of what has been done (and is being done) to the soil and thereby - the quality of food that is being produced today. And this means what we are eating and putting in our bodies. It may look like “corn” or some other veggie, but in many instances that is about it. It looks like corn, smells like corn, even tastes like corn, but it really is a “franken-veggie” crossed with the dna of animal protein or other.
The Pesticide issue…
It still amazes me that many of the pesticides which have been outlawed within the U.S., have then been sold to third world countries – many of which produce the fruits and vegetables we import and consume in the U.S. We may have outlawed their use in the U.S., but we are indirectly consuming them if we use the products which come from some of the third world countries. I would not draw a conclusion that this includes all of them, or every fruit and vegetable; but it does include a great deal. So much so that it becomes difficult to separate one from the other.
For example a conventional (non-organic) apple, after being washed, still contains over 30 pesticides! Fresh produce that is not organic can actually be harmful on your body. In actuality, the average non-organic produce contains over 20 pesticides.
Pardon me for my “soapbox”, but whether it is fruits and veggies, or Matcha green tea; the issue of organics should be at the top of your list.
Within the Japanese farming community there appears to be a more strict conformity to healthy farming practices. However, regardless of how strict the Japanese may or may not be, if you are not consuming “organic”, then you are consuming pesticides and insecticides.
I recently had a conversation with a Tea Sommelier from Japan concerning organic and non-organic. I wanted his opinion. What did he like, given the knowledge of what is being put into the crops. His answer was rather interesting, for he replied that he enjoyed the flavor of the non-organic Matcha more than the organic. I asked, “Why?” His reply was that they could use certain pesticides that were not allowed within organic farming, that these other “fertilizers” and pesticides added a little more body and flavor to the Matcha; and thus this was his Matcha of preference.
I thought about that and it didn’t take very long to come to the conclusion that he was in essence saying he likes the flavor of the pesticides with the Matcha. Those pesticides added just that extra little something to the flavor profile of the Matcha. Wow. Have a little pesticide with your Matcha. It gets even worse if you move outside of Japan, for in China, Taiwan and Thailand, where a lesser quality Matcha is produced, it is even more pronounced.
Organic Matcha Fields in Japan…
There are only certain areas in Japan that are truly equipped and positioned, climatically, to produce a high quality organic Matcha – and that was our mission. If I am going to drink it, then it had better be organic. In our search we found one area, high in the mountains, yet along the coastal region, that was prime for organic farming and produced some of the finest organic Matcha in the world.
The region is located 600m above sea level providing a cooler climate. 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, and the farmers in this region are considered among the best in Japan for organic cultivation.
So aside from price – and that is usually a big, big difference - what is the real difference?
In order for a fruit or vegetable to be labeled “organic” the soil it came from must be free of chemicals and pesticides for 10 years, and the growers must only use organic fertilizer. The organic matter used by organic growers brings fertility back to the soil, which has been neglected by conventional farmers. While the rise of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers has increased tenfold in the last forty years, crop losses due to insects have doubled. Organic methods, on the other hand, build up the soil, creating stronger, more disease-resistant plants.
Consuming organic (in this case drinking Matcha tea) is the only way to guarantee that you are receiving the nutrition that nature intended, while avoiding toxic chemicals. The real benefits of Matcha, which are numerous, are most optimally received when you drink organic.
According to organicfoodinfo.net the following is documented regarding organic foods:
1. Organic foods are richer in nutrients and fiber
2. Higher levels of vitamins and minerals absorbed into your body from organic foods will keep your immune system stronger and more resistant to disease and infections
3. Consuming less chemicals and toxins (from pesticides) which slow your body down, will give you more overall energy.
The flavor of Matcha tea reflects the soil it is grown in. Our growers are dedicated to organic farming and stewardship of the soil. This dedication is reflected by the careful implementation of traditional handling methods of the Matcha; when it is picked, how it is harvested and how it is cured.
Matcha is the most effective way to experience the dynamic benefits of green tea. It is a tea for both the mind and the body.