Only Japan's elite tea farmers own the specialized talent of Matcha production. The production of Matcha is the most elaborate way of producing tea in the world. Tea used to create Matcha grows only in carefully maintained shaded tea fields. Four weeks prior to the annual harvest, the tea fields are entirely covered by tarp-like shades. This special shading technique results in a 90% cut of sunlight. The plants, now growing almost in the dark, compensate for the missing light by intense production of chlorophyll, rich in amino acids, resulting into a beverage with a sweet and delicately smooth flavor.
The Matcha harvest begins in May. The fresh, green tea leaves are plucked by hand, steamed to stop the fermentation, and to keep the leaves fresh and green. Then the leaves are slowly dried, broken and cut. The aim is to sort out all stems, twigs and unwanted parts until the finest and purest meat of the tea plant remains - this remaining pure part is called Tencha tea.
The Tencha superfine tea leaves are slowly ground using hand crafted granite stone mills to an ultra fine powder: Matcha. One stone mill produces only 30g - 40g of Matcha per hour.
Tencha is the only tea used to produce Matcha. Producing powdered green tea from dried Sencha or Gyokuro is not Matcha. Lab analyses show substantial differences in their taste, color and nutritional value.
Once ground into a fine powder, Matcha is very sensitive. For this reason we keep the Tencha leaves in Aiya's cooled warehouses and mill Matcha tea upon order, utilizing just in time principles. After the completion of the process, we ship Matcha to our cold warehouse in Southern California to offer our customers the freshest and best tea quality in the market!