How is Organic Matcha Made

Hello Green Tea Lovers!

This is Will from Nio and today we are going to talk a little bit about how matcha is made. When people try matcha for the first time, there is a temptation to just buy the cheapest matcha they can find online. As a result, a lot of people end up trying a matcha called culinary grade matcha that has not necessarily gone through all the steps it takes to produce a true matcha.

Ceremonial grade matcha, the kind used in the tea ceremony, is incredibly precious and labor-intensive. Ceremonial grade matcha may cost far more, but it is really worth the price for the amount of work that goes into it. Let's talk about all that goes into producing ceremonial matcha, and why it is so highly valued. 

How is Matcha Made?

Shading: First the tea leaves need to be cut off from sunlight.  This is done with a special type of netting called “kabuse”. When a plant is cut off from sunlight, it produces more chlorophyll to compensate for the lack of sun energy. What makes the tea plant unique is that it also produces more caffeine and theanine. Caffeine has a stimulating effect on the body, while l-theanine has a more calming effect. By combining the two, you get the most desirable elements of both, giving you a calm alert sensation throughout the day. Matcha is also not known to give people a crash or jitters later on in the day.

Shading the tea plant doesn’t only produce more theanine and caffeine. It also changes the color of the tea plant. The excess chlorophyll production turns the plant from a lighter green color to a deep jade green color. Because theanine is responsible for the sweet and umami flavor of green tea, shaded teas tend to have more sweetness. By shading a tea, you reduce the bitter catechins, and increase the sweet and savory theanine. This is of course what tea drinkers want in a matcha, a sweet and smooth flavor, with no bitterness.

Picking: After a tea farmer shades the leaves of the matcha for 21 days or more, the work is still not done yet. The farmer then has to pick only the top 2 or 3 leaves of the tea plant to use in the matcha. The top leaves are the youngest on the tea plant, and are known to have a sweeter flavor with less bitterness. They also have higher concentrations of nutrients.

Processing: Once the leaves for matcha are picked, the stems and veins of the tea are removed. What’s left is a type of tea known as “tencha”, a shaded tea that has had all of its stems and veins removed. The stems of the tea plant detract from the sweet and umami flavor, so they need to be removed in order to maximize the taste.

Grinding: Once the stems and veins of the tea are removed, the leaves are put into a stone matcha mill and ground into a fine powder. It takes approximately 1 hour for this mill to produce 50 grams of precious ceremonial grade matcha. The result is a powerful, vibrant green tea that is sweet, savory and loaded with caffeine and theanine, giving you a calm alertness throughout the day. 

Why is Ceremonial Grade Worth it?

Ceremonial grade matcha has a natural sweetness and creaminess to it, so you can drink these green teas without any milk or sugar. The matcha also has way more theanine, so you get more of this calm-alert feeling throughout the day. If you want to truly experience matcha, ceremonial grade is the way to go!