How to make Matcha

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.

Production of Matcha

The Blending of Matcha

Blending is conducted by our tea sommeliers to produce consistent flavor and color for our organic Matcha.  The tea leaves of the organic Matcha harvest, which are picked during the short window of time that organic Matcha is harvested, are then blended together.  Our Matcha has resilient spring green color, unfolds delicately in the mouth, and the flavor is robust yet mild and sweet.

The last step and the most important step in Matcha production is the grinding process. The grinding process is conducted in a clean room in where the temperature and humidity is closely monitored and controlled as the industrial filters keep the air clean, eliminating bacteria and germs in the air. The average particle size of Matcha powder is only 5-10 microns small. This is so fine (finer than baby powder!) that the powder practically melts in your mouth.

Each stone mill only grinds up to 30-40g (approx. 1 oz) per hour, which is basically the amount of our small 40gram size of organic Matcha.  Even with all the technology today, the granite stone mill is still the best way to grind Matcha from the delicate Tencha tea leaves, because only granite can preserve the color, flavor, and the nutritional components of the tea to its upmost quality.

Granite Stone Grinder

A stone mill consists of two granite parts. There is a slight opening in the middle where the two parts meet. This is called "Fukumi." The tea is funneled in from the top and fills in this small space, then is pushed out gradually. Because of this, the granite parts never touch each other during the grinding process.

There are grooves carved into varying grid lines patterns inside the mill which is designed to push the tea outward from within as the mill starts grinding.  By the time the leaves finally reach the outer seam, they are broken down and ground into ultra-fine powder. An axis made of oak wood is placed in the center to hold the mill together. This is also chiseled and shaped by the artisans to fit perfectly centered into each mill since no hole is ever drilled the same way when the granite arrives. Oak is ideal for the core for its strength and durability and has very little inherent smell.

It is important to note that as the organic Matcha leaves are harvested, they are initially dried and then stored in air-lock containers, waiting for the time to complete production.  Production of our Matcha is done as the supply is needed, thus maintaining freshness of the original harvest until final processing is needed.

 

Are You New to Matcha?

Why drink Matcha Tea

Matcha tea is a potent superfood/tea that can have an intense cleansing effect on the body - especially if your body is not used to these types of superfoods. The more toxic build-up you have in your system, the stronger your body may react.

 

Matcha helps to pull the toxins into the blood stream and then filters them out of the body. The side effects can be similar to someone who is implementing a cleanse for the first time. So, like any new practice, proceed with smaller amounts in the beginning to be safe, adapt to your limits, and build up to your energy demand.

 

What is Matcha and why should I drink Matcha?

Matcha green tea is known as the “Ceremonial Tea” in Japan and is ritualized in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony that demands premium and pure tea for overall clarity and to enable focus in meditation. Most immediately, the tea is an amazing source of energy. We all operate at different energy levels based on our respective lifestyles and schedules. Matcha has a keen way of not interfering with energy like coffee or other caffeinated beverages. It flows more naturally—adapting to us rather than requiring us to adapt to it.

 

Although Matcha is a relative to traditional steeped green tea leaves, this is not your common green tea. You can think of Matcha as a whole food, and the premium source is packed with so many vitamins, minerals, nutrients, antioxidants and amino acids that it conspires to sustain your body energetically and nutritionally for hours at a time.

 

Its root function enables sustained energy and endurance, which helps activate the metabolism. More broadly, Matcha is beneficial for those with high blood pressure, and is a cross-functional superfood—battling disorders such as diabetes, obesity, digestive snags—enabling cleansing and regularity, and absolutely can bring your mood out of the depths of minor depression and anxiety—actually providing a natural euphoria without the side-effects of coffee or energy drinks. The most important difference between Matcha and other traditional daily drinks is that it is pure energy rather than compromised acidic energy that is inherent in the coffees and sugar-laced drinks so common in typical commercial cafe. An acidic state wears down the bodily systems over time and sets the body up for failure rather than the success we all strive for.

 

Is the caffeine different from that in coffee and black tea?

The caffeine in Matcha is alkalizing rather than the opposite—acidic. There is caffeine in Matcha, but it releases into the bloodstream slowly. The time of the release varies, but it is not nearly as harsh as the caffeine rush inherent in coffee and energy drinks. This gradual and consistent release provides the body with just the right amount of caffeine over a longer period of time rather than dumping a huge amount of caffeine into the body all at once. Matcha still yields an immediate boost, but not the extreme rush. The lift is far more appropriate to your energy demand, and can be easily regulated based on that demand. Once again, a blast of too much caffeine results in an acidic state that can harm the stomach lining and arteries over time, taxing the organs and disrupting the body’s overall functionality. By contrast, Matcha’s caffeine has an alkalizing effect, resulting in a much gentler influence on the stomach, which gradually aids with digestion, healing, cleansing. Matcha gives to your overall balance rather than taking away.

How does Matcha compare to regular steeped green tea?

Green tea in any form is a source of antioxidants, but matcha is one of the most powerful sources of antioxidants (catechins & polyphenols), minerals (calcium), trace minerals and Vitamins (A, B-Complex, C, E & K). Why are antioxidants important to our health and longevity? Basically, antioxidants are a preventative; protect the denaturing of human cells by eliminating free radicals, which are primarily caused by toxins and pollutants. The average American ingests approximately 300 lbs. of chemicals/pollutants/pesticides per year. We are surrounded by chemicals and preservatives in our foods along with toxic gases and carcinogenic chemicals parading through the atmosphere. Matcha is just one source, but one of the most powerful and easily accessed sources of these critical counters to neutralize daily toxins.

Why does it come in a powder?

Matcha, which means “powdered tea”, is made from aged green tea leaves—harvested, steamed and dried. They are later ground into a fine bright green powder, known as Matcha. It is like eating a whole versus a partial food. Unlike other green teas, drinking Matcha is like sucking directly from the leaves and the whole tea plant itself. Therefore, Matcha is much more concentrated in every possible nutrient and more easily absorbed. When common green tea (in a bag) is steeped, only 5-10% of the powerful nutrients are infused into the water. By contrast, Matcha is not steeped, but is a whole plant ground into powder that is blended directly. As such, the powder provides 100% of all the nutrients inherent in the plant.

How should I use Matcha?

It is best to start with ¼-1/2 tsp daily of Matcha and then gradually increase amounts once your body adapts to the tea, up to 1 tsp 3x/day. We strongly urge those who are new to Matcha not to exceed ½ tsp of Matcha at a time for the first few weeks because too much at once can be too intense for the body. Like any beverage that naturally stimulates the body, it is wise not to drink on a totally empty stomach until your body has adjusted. We recommend to drink Matcha with milk or add to a smoothie for the first few weeks as you introduce the tea to your system, and not to drink the powder plain with water. Matcha is so rich in powerful nutrients and gentle cleansing properties that there is a chance that someone who is new to this tea may experience minimal nausea.

 

Here are various ways to prepare your Matcha drink:

  1. Simply stir in a tea cup of hot milk with a spoon or tea whisk.
  2. Simply blend the tea with milk and heat over the stove top in a pan.
  3. Add to a smoothie or to water in a shaker and blend or shake.
  4. Blend the powder in the blender with about 2/3 cold milk and 1/3 water for a few seconds and then boil it over the stove top in a pan.
  5. While bringing the milk to a boil in a pan, add the matcha, and then use a whisk and stir constantly while the milk comes to a boil.

What should I expect after drinking it for the first time?

Matcha tea is potent and can have an intense cleansing effect on the body - especially if your body is not used to these types of superfoods. The more toxic build-up you have in your system, the stronger your body may react. Matcha helps to pull the toxins into the blood stream and then filters them out of the body. The side effects can be similar to someone who is implementing a cleanse for the first time. So, like any new practice, proceed with smaller amounts in the beginning to be safe, adapt to your limits, and build up to your energy demand. Enjoy!