How Matcha is Produced

How Matcha is Made: In the Shade

CEO Calli O’Brien and VP Operations Zee Cajthamlova — Japan Tour 2017

How Matcha is Produced

Matcha’s unique production and processing are the key to its high-potency health benefits. The following steps are time-tested traditions practiced today by a rare handful of producers of truly authentic high-quality matcha like My Matcha Life™.

From Shading to Harvest

Shade Covering

Matcha tea fields are typically covered with bamboo and rice-mat shades 2 – 4 weeks prior to harvest. Shading forces the tea plant to boost its natural production of chlorophyll and the uber-healthy amino acid L-theanine — which not only adds to the calm, mental alertness matcha is famous for but also gives the tea a smoother, more satisfying matcha taste.

Hand Picking

How Matcha is Made: Hand Picking Leaves

Mr. Ichikawa, Tea Farmer

While hand picking inevitably increases the cost of production, it guarantees that only the absolute best tea leaves are selected for processing. Nothing beats the trained eyes and soft touch of this ancient tradition. It is, in fact, the only way to ensure the highest quality matcha tea is produced. Men and women, young and old alike, participate in the hand picking process. In some regions students are given the first week in May off school in order to help with the spring harvest.

From Tea Leaf to Aracha

Light Steaming

Within 24 hours of being harvested the tea leaves are lightly steamed with filtered water (removing chlorine, iron, etc.) to prevent fermentation. Steaming keeps them bright green and full of health promoting nutrients. This is usually done at an “Aracha” processing facility near the farmers’ fields. At this point they taste a little like spinach.

Gentle Drying

How Matcha is Made: Drying Steamed Leaves

Aracha leaves ready for de-stemming

The steamed tea leaves are pre-dried with air dryers then fully dried for another 20 minutes. At the end of the Aracha processing the leaves look like this * see photo. From here they are bagged and placed in cold storage to preserve richness and flavor before being delivered to the “Tencha” facility for final processing.

From Aracha to Matcha

De-stemming / De-veining

Before the Aracha tea leaves are stone ground to an ultra-fine matcha powder they are de-veined and de-stemmed to ensure only the sweet centers of each leaf remain. These leaves are now called Tencha. A hundred years ago this painstaking process was performed by hand. Today, producers employ air/wind chambers and agitators designed especially for tea leaves.

Stone Grinding

How Matcha is Made: Stone Grinding

Ultra-fine powder appears beneath grinders

Finally, these hand-picked, shade-grown lightly steamed, de-stemmed leaves are slowly ground between two large stones of pure granite. It takes about an hour of grinding to produce 1 ounce (30 grams) of our Tea Lover’s Organic Ceremonial Matcha.

The powder is ground to an ultra-fine 5 – 9 microns. Lesser grades of matcha are larger particle sizes, some 15 microns or more.

Lower grade matcha may also be ground into powder by use of ball crushers and heat pulverizers which reduces the vibrant green color and the matcha nutrients. As you can see this matcha powder is a bright vibrant green color, make sure the matcha you buy is too!

My Matcha Life™  Tea Leaf Processing

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