The fresh green of Matcha is not only beautiful, but also contains a lot of nutrition, such as Vitamin C, Theanine, which is the source of the tea’s flavor, caffeine the source of its bitterness, and tannin the source of its astringency. It’s like eating the whole leaves to drink powdered green tea, so we can have all nutrition from the tea leaves. How this special powdered green tea is produced in Kyoto, Japan?
Special tea leaves grown under the shadow.
1, Cover the tea tree
Tea trees are covered with cloths or reed blinds approximately over 20 days before picking. The period of the covering decides the quality of the tea.
2, Pick up young tea leaves
Breeds of tea leaves used for powdered green tea are called “Uji Hikari”, “Asahi”, or “Samidori”. Only young tea leaves are picked by machine or hands from the end of April to May. Most tea leaves are gathered by machines nowadays, so that tea leaves picked by hands will be ranked high.
Tea leaves are immediately steamed after picking up to avoid oxidation. The freshness and beautiful green color are kept by steaming in 15-20 seconds.
Grind with millstone.
4，Cool tea leaves
Steamed tea leaves are cooled down in the sprinkler to avoid each tea leaves are piled up. If we leave steamed tea longer, the fresh green color turns dark, so cooling soon after steaming is also important.
5, Dry tea leaves
Tea leaves are dried in about 170-200℃ in 30 minutes.
After this drying step, we can put them in storage. The last step of grinding is just before the shipment.
6, Grind with millstone
To grind the tea leaves, millstone has been used since over 800 years ago. The amount grinded by stone is about 40g per an hour. The temperature will be 80℃ by the friction, which will be the last step of drying tea leaves. There is a ceramic machine also, but the taste and touch of the powdered green tea grinded with millstone will be much better.
What’s different from other tea?- Matcha is special.
We usually drink brown or green leaf tea called “Hoji-cha” “Sen-cha” or “Ban-cha” for daily life in Kyoto. What makes the difference between Matcha, powdered green tea and other teas?
Broadly speaking, the process of making is assorted in 2 groups.
1Leaf green teas or brown teas are grown under the plenty of sun lights.
2, Gyokuro(high grade leaf tea) and powdered green tea are covered with reed blinds to avoid sun lights.
Tea leaves grown under the sun lights will be bitterer than Gyokuro and powdered green tea. The milder the taste, the price will be more expensive because we need more process and adjustment to control the best timing of covering and picking.
You can try 2 kinds of powdered green tea made in Uji, Kyoto at regular plans in Tea Ceremony Koto. The host will serve first bowl of tea, and you will make the second bowl by yourselves.
Don’t worry, the host will teach how to do it and help you with whisking tea!