Matcha: The Pride of All Teas
Basic Questions About Matcha Tea
What is matcha green tea? How is matcha produced, and where does it come from? The manufacturing process of matcha green tea is complex and demanding for the tea manufacturing artists who bring it to us. For many tea lovers, it is difficult to imagine this complex process. So let me explain the steps from farming to producing the final product. It is challenging to sustain the flavor, the unique aroma, its beautiful, bright green color, the fine texture, and an intense flavor that is slightly bittern but very earthy .
The Production Process of Matcha Green Tea:
Farming Camellia sinensis plants for making Matcha is the first step in the intricate process of this fine art. Tea plants grown to produce Matcha are traditionally grown in two major tea-growning regions of Japan; Nishio in Aichi and Uji in Kyoto.
Leaves of tea plants first grow in full sun and are then shaded with bamboo or mesh screens to develop the unique flavor, aroma, and nutrients that are essential fo Matcha. Covering the plant from direct sunlight enhances the quantity of chlorophyll, which provides the extra-bright green color to matcha tea. Additionally, shading the plant during the last few weeks before harvest also preserves the nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, and an intense umami flavor.
Immediately after harvesting the fresh leaves, farmers sort leaves by hand. Those leaves are then, steamed, deveined, and dried for the grinding process. The Grinding Process is what ultimately defines green tea as matcha. This converts a higher amount of Tencha into fine powder in less time.
Here is the step-by-step guide about the production of matcha tea.
Tea Selected for Matcha is Grown Under Shade Canopies:
A perfect climate for the production and cultivation of matcha tea plants requires a rainfall rate annually of up to 114.3-127 cm. The pH value should be 5.8-5.4 or less than this for best growth. The tea for Matcha can be produced up to 7,218.2 ft (above sea level). The soil must be acidic for the best tea plant growth because tea plants will not grow in soil that is alkaline in nature.
The leaves of the tea are grown under the shade and properly covered with rice straws or mats of bamboo sticks to protect the leaves from direct sunlight. This is essential to protect the flavor, amount of caffeine, quantity of chlorophyll, and sugar level in the plant. This process takes place six weeks before the harvesting production process of matcha tea. The most important part of this tea plant is the right amount of chlorophyll, which is important to maintain the lush bright green color of the plant and the earthy flavor of the matcha tea. The Japanese consider the intense flavor of matcha tea as an umami flavor.
The Best Methods of Harvesting Green Tea Leaves for Matcha:
The process of harvesting green tea for Matcha begins in the spring, traditionally on the Hachijuhaciya which is the 88th day of the year. This is important for the Japanese, according to the traditions among tea people. It represents the beginning of the new year of tea harvesting and processing, and the first young tea leaves of the year.
Most of the harvesting process in Japan takes place in May. During this month, the tea leaves are carefully picked to sustain the quality, flavor, aroma, and freshness of the tea. Depending on the location where the plant grows, the tea leaves get plucked after every 5 or 10 days. To maintain the quality of the tea leaves, the farmers pluck the leaves by hand. The first harvest of tea for Matcha is during April and May. The second crop is harvested during June. The third crop is harvested in July. The final crop is harvested in September. Flavor and other qualities of the tea leaves very significantly with each harvest.
The Aromatic Steaming Procedure:
The basic difference that is highly notable between Matcha Green Tea and other teas in the world is that matcha green tea is added in the process of steaming right after it gets harvested. The steaming process of the Matcha Tea is extended for up to 20 seconds to prevent the green tea leaves from oxidizing. This maintains the flavor, color, and freshness of the tea and also preserves the chlorophyll content, the ratio of amino acids, and other astonishing nutrients. The matcha leaves, then get blown to absorb all the moisture present, this step helps in maintaining the texture and high quality. The steaming process is highly required to enrich the fragrance of the plant.
Moreover, the importance of the steaming process is that the leaves are heated to stop the action of enzymes that may cause oxidation. This process is indispensable because it ensures the nutrients, a high level of vitamins, and the desired amount of chlorophyll. The production process of the Matcha Green Tea is intricate to maintain the standard and constitution of the plant. This is essential for producing premium quality Matcha.
The Drying Process of Matcha Leaves – The Enchanting Aroma and Taste:
Now comes the most important stage which is of drying the leaves. After the steaming process this step is the most distinguished one. The leaves are now passed through massive machines, where the leaves are quickly cooled by being blown with gentle air flow. After this, they are placed on a flat surface so that the leaves can dry completely. Then the leaves are loaded into a machine that removes stems and veins. This step takes approximately 40 minutes. At this stage, the tea is called Tencha, from which the powdered Matcha Green Tea can be finally processed by grinding.
The Grinding Process – The Stone Grinding for Best Match Tea:
The last and the most enchanting process is the grinding of the leaves, the stone grinding of the matcha tea leaves is the most delicate process it saves the intense bitter flavor, the rich green color, the earthy aroma, and the grainy texture of the tea.
There are numerous benefits of stone grinding, it enhances the level of nutrients and antioxidants, and it makes the deliciousness of the tea up to another level, the doctor highly recommends this Matcha tea specialty in Japan.
The Final Drying Process:
After the whole rolling and drying process, the final stage is one last drying before sending it to the wholesale merchants. In this phase, the tea is spread on a flat plastic surface to completely absorb the moisture. Tea at this stage is known as Aracha, after the final drying the tea is shipped to wholesalers for the complete packing process.
The Cleaning Process of Matcha Powder:
Before the matcha is shipped to the tea merchants, it undergoes a final sorting process. The fineness of the powder is one factor that determines quality. So the matcha can be sifted, sorting for various quaities. Merchants order the quaity and texture that they know their customers prefer, from a lower culinary grade to a higher ceremonial grade. Before the packaging stage, the tea is carefully examined so that customers can best enjoy the aroma and the flavor of the tea. It is then packaged in airtight and moisture proof containers to protect the tea for the customers.
The Prodigious Combination of Nutrients – Quality Control:
The quality control temperature ranges up to 93.2-96.8° F for all the drying and steaming production processes. The entire production process provides all the high-quality ingredients that make people crazy over this green tea like; caffeine, fluoride, sodium, amino acids, cellulose, potassium, iron, calcium, the vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B5, proteins, magnesium and more than other 30 nutrients that helps you stay all day active, improves dental health, enhances the metabolism rate, make heart health better, slim down your weight, and provides relaxation to the body.
What makes Matcha Tea Healthy?
The growing, harvesting, and grinding processes of this tea are not like any other kind of tea. Matcha is delicately prepared to restore all its benefits, nutrition, and health benefits. The amount of antioxidants present in the tea helps the body to fight against all the harmful agents, the tea makes the body fight against all the aging and dangerous diseases.
Finally, the whole production process of matcha green tea makes this tea more enchanting, people are nowadays using this tea to feel the zen, to stay fit and calm, and to revitalize their minds and senses. People also use matcha tea power in different dishes, and also in ice cream to add a fresh minty flavor. The more you use matcha tea powder the more benefits you can enjoy.
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