Matcha tea is the miracle drink of the Japanese. It has been used for centuries as part of traditional tea ceremonies in Japan, and it is now becoming more and more popular in other parts of the world as well. Everyone seems to praise matcha for its incredible health benefits.
But why is it so special?
The answer lies in its unique cultivation and production processes.
About 4 weeks prior to harvest, tea plants undergo a shading process, where they are covered by dark mats that protect the leaves from direct sunlight. This causes the plants to produce extraordinary amounts of chlorophyll, other vitamins and antioxidants, giving matcha its unique, vibrant green color and special aroma - it turns bitter notes into sweet ones.
Matcha tea is harvested only a couple times a year, this is why there are only limited amounts available and it is one of the reasons why matcha is one of the most expensive teas out there. During harvest, the leaves are hand-picked, then steamed to prevent them from oxidizing. After that, the leaves are carefully sorted according to size, weight and color, and are then de-veined and de-stemmed.
Green tea leaves are ground to an extremely fine powder using granite millstones - one mill is capable of producing only 40 grams of tea powder an hour. Thanks to the mechanical impact, the plant cell walls are broken down, which allows the powder to later be completely dissolved in water.
This way, since we consume the entire, finely ground tea leaf, we reap all the wonderful health benefits of green tea, while during regular tea consumption we get merely 10% of the nutrients from steeping the leaves.