Matcha tea powder or ground tea is a type of Japanese tea produced using green tea leaves. The leaves must be grown and dried in the precise manner to ensure that the tea is able to retain its nutrients. Then, they’re ground down to create a fine powder. The process might seem simple, but it is really much more complex than you might imagine. Below, you’ll find a more in-depth breakdown of how matcha tea powder is actually produced.
The Camellia Sinensis
In order to produce Matcha powder, it is first essential to start with the tree itself. Ever real tea will come from the same plant, the camellia sinensis. This plant is also commonly referred to as the tea plant, tea tree and tea shrub. The tree is primarily cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas. An area will only be suitable for the tree, if it receives at least 50 inches of rainfall each year. In order for the tree to grow, it needs to be placed in a rich and moist location with a lot of sun. Cultivated plants should be pruned around waist height to make it easier to pluck their leaves.
Most teas will be harvested more than once each year. Some trees can be harvested as many as three times in a single year. However, the very best matcha will only be harvested once and that will usually happen in May.
Picking The Matcha Leaves
Once the plant has grown to size, it will be time to pick the leaves, which will be used to create the Matcha powder. To ensure that the Matcha is nutritious, it is pertinent to pick the right parts. You should only pick the youngest and greenest parts. This is usually the two leaves positioned near the tip of the new shoots. Then, the leaves will be steamed. This helps to maintain their nutrients and color. Once that has concluded, the leaves will need to dry thoroughly. In professional settings, they’ll be placed with large cages and dried using heated blowers.
Sorting the Matcha Leaves
After the leaves have dried completely, they’ll need to be sorted. The leaves will receive much higher ratings, if they’re younger and greener. Then, the leaves will need to be de stemmed and de veined. The leaves that proceed through each step and manage to survive become known as tencha. It is true that the quality of each will be different. Once these steps have been completed, the tencha will be stored in the refrigerator.
Grinding Matcha Leaves into Matcha Tea Powder
Once it is time to grind the leaves, they’ll be removed from the fridge. They should be grinded up slowly using granite wheels. The large stone wheels will grind up the leaves gently to ensure that scorching does not occur. The Matcha powder that is produced from this process is the powder that you would buy online or in a store.
In many cases, it can take an hour or longer to grind up just thirty grams of the powder. This is why matcha tea powder produced by hand is so expensive. Nevertheless, it is also much higher in quality than the alternative.