Determined to dive right into the best of what Japan had to offer, we researched and tasted Matcha from several small-scale producers from all the major green tea-producing areas of Japan (Kyoto, Kagoshima, Aichi, Mie, Shizuoka and Fukuoka to name a few) and decided to partner up only with passionate and ethical farmers that give birth to what we find being the best tasting Matcha across Japan, who also grow their gardens and process their tea following strict traditional methods that guarantee quality, freshness and safety of consumption.
Our non-organic grades are from Uji in the Kyoto prefecture, known as the birthplace of Matcha and where its cultivation began, whereas our certified organic grades come from Kagoshima, located within the Kyushu Island, known to be the second largest green tea-producing area in Japan.
From the tea garden to your home.
Three weeks before the Spring harvest, reed screens are placed over the tea plants to cover them from direct sunlight to allow them to grow under the shade. This process is a crucial step. The lack of sunlight forces the plant to drastically increase the production of Chlorophyll while preserving high levels of L-Theanine.
In fact the natural process of photosynthesis is known to convert the L-Theanine present in the leaves into Catechins (EGCG Antioxidants). L-Theanine, as well as being a powerful and rare amino acid with relaxing and cognitive enhancing properties, is also the secret compound that gives to the leaves a unique mellow taste and intense Umami. Catechins, instead, give to the leaves increased bitterness and astringency.
Shaded tea equals to higher levels of L-Theanine, which translates into more complex and Umami-rich flavours in the leaves. Non-shaded or poorly-shaded tea equals to higher levels of Catechins, which translates into high astringency and bitter flavour within the leaves.
There are 2 methods used for shading the tea plants: one is known as "Tana" method and the other one is known as "Jikagise" method.
"Tana" method (left photo) consists of building a 2m height canopy-like structure over the whole desired section of the plantation, which is then covered with straw to stop the sunlight.
"Jikagise" method consists of covering directly the plants with a thick black blanket (right photo).
PICKING, STEAMING AND ROASTING
Tea leaves after being hand picked (Ceremonial grades) or machine picked (Culinary grades) are immediately transported to the factory where they are promptly steamed for about 30-40 seconds mainly to prevent fermentation but also to initiate the flavour profile enriching process of the leaves. Steaming is one of the most important steps that dictates the end flavour of the tea. Soon after, the tea leaves are cooled down into a special structure that blows strong blasts of air, allowing the leaves to freely dance into the air, confined by a fine net. Leaves are then dried and lightly roasted in a brick-made kiln to remove excessive moisture within and to further enhance their flavour, then carefully de-stemmed and de-veined until only the most tender and softest part of the leaves is kept.
TENCHA - BLENDING & GRINDING
At this stage the tea is called Tencha (left photo), which consists of top grade tea leaves before being ground into Matcha.
According to our request, different grades of Tencha are then assessed (by colour, aroma and taste) and masterfully blended to produce our unique custom blends.
Finally, upon placement of our order, our Tencha leaves are stone ground using ancient grinding wheels to produce the super-fine iridescent-green powder that, after an intricate journey, we carefully store at -18C ready to be delivered to your home at their freshest state, hoping that you will appreciate the beckoning aroma and noble flavour of our Matcha. To explore and shop our full range of products please visit our store.
To grow and process high quality Matcha is an extremely demanding task, which requires knowledge and skills that have been passed down from generations through centuries.
We truly invite everyone to fully immerse their senses into the rich and unique characteristics of Matcha, supporting and appreciating the effort and devotion invested by our Japanese artisans, for all of us to
savour their crafts for many years to come and keep their tradition alive.