History

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.

The Art of Matcha

The art of creating Matcha incorporates many facets of the growing process.  The location, the time, the growing conditions and shade, and the art of blending and harvesting at just the right time make creating organic Matcha truly an art. 

GotMatcha has sourced the world for the finest Matcha green tea. Quality Matcha is extremely rare, pure and exclusive and your finest Matcha tea is found harvested high in the mountains of Japan.


Yes, there are other Matcha teas from China, Korea and Thailand but none of them compare in
quality to what we have found from Japan. Matcha is the most exciting discovery of the 21st century's modern tea world. Enjoyed over 800 years ago by Buddhist monks, Matcha was consumed prior to their times of meditation as a tea which helped to enhance their focus and clarity. It was created as their "ceremonial" tea. And thus we call

Matcha, the Ceremonial tea of the ancients. Of course today we realize that Matcha has tremendous health benefits as well. Matcha is known today as the healthiest, rarest and most premium of all tea
in Japan.


The History of Matcha

The development and cultivation of green tea is thought to have begun sometime in the Tang Dynasty (7-10th century) where the tea was harvested and formed into tea bricks which were created for storage and for the efficient transportation of the tea over long distances. Read mor

Our Premium Organic is harvested from May to early June, a very short window of time,  compared to non-organic Matcha.  Organic production does not use any pesticides and relies on natural fertilizers only, therefore the organic fields are located in the valleys of the mountains away from civilization.  

A Brief History of Matcha

The development and cultivation of green tea is thought to have begun sometime in the Tang Dynasty (7-10th century) where the tea was harvested and formed into tea bricks which were created for storage and for the efficient transportation of the tea over long distances.

Initially the tea was prepared by roasting and pulverizing, then followed by decocting the resulting tea powder in hot water, adding salt.  From these origins the process evolved until the grinding of steamed green tea became popular in the Song Dynsaty (10th–13th Century).  The method of making powdered tea from steam-prepared dried tea leaves, and preparing the beverage by whipping the tea powder and hot water together in a bowl became popular in the latter part of the 12th century.

Preparation and consumption of powdered tea was formed into a ritual by Zen Buddhists, who cultivated the green tea plant, called “sencha”, by growing it under shade conditions thus maximizing the therapeutic benefits of the green tea, or what became known as “Matcha”. 

What began as a “sencha” plant, evolved into what is known as “tencha”, the basis for this highly revered and carefully cultivated shade grown green tea plant.

The Zen Buddhists were very aware of the meditational benefits of this “Matcha” green tea, which brought to them a greater sense of clarity and well-being.  They found that in drinking this tea before their afternoon meditations that it enabled them to be much more “centered”, “focused”, and maintain a level of sustained energy throughout the afternoon which they had never experienced before.  This special green tea eventually became known as “Matcha, the Ceremonial tea of the temple high priests”.

Even the warriors, the ”Shogun,” saw the remarkable benefits of this “ceremonial” tea, for it gave them that extra sustained energy and mental acuity.  Whenever possible, this was their “ceremonial” drink prior to going into battle.

Zen Buddhism and along with it the Chinese methods of preparing powdered tea, were brought to Japan in 1191 by the monk,  Eisai.

Powdered tea was slowly forgotten in China, but in Japan it continued to be an important item at Zen monasteries.

Along with this development, tea plantation owners in Japan continued to perfect the process for developing and maximizing the most potent and therapeutically beneficial Matcha.

Matcha was extremely precious and was produced only in tiny quantities so that only the SHOGUN and nobility were able to drink Matcha.  However, in 1738, Sohen Nagatani came on the scene and invented the “uji” green tea processing method.  This method is still in practice and use today, and it enabled a much more efficient process to create this revered “Matcha”.  Matcha, the ceremonial tea of the shogun and nobility, now became more available to the public.

Prior to this groundbreaking process of creating Matcha tea, only a handful of merchants had been approved to process and create Matcha. Because of this the general populace at large drank only what was called, Bancha (Houjicha), which has a brown color, and which was much more bitter to taste and lacked that beautiful resilient green color of the precious Matcha tea.

Sohen Nagatani wanted the common people of Japan to be able to have access to not only brown but also this highly revered “ceremonial” or “matcha” green tea.  Nagatani began to teach the farmers the secret of this “uji” processing method which had a tremendous impact on the development of the entire Uji region of Kyoto; bringing this highly revered tea to the people.