Matcha tea: What is it?
Matcha is a special type of green tea that, among other things, is rich in antioxidants. While with traditional green tea you drink the extract of the tea, Matcha differs in that it is the dried tea leaves that we consume. Tea leaves are grown in the shade, steamed, dried and finally powdered.
When we consume the powdered tea leaves, we get much greater benefit from all the active ingredients that Matcha contains, which is why the tea is so bursting with minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. With Matcha, you absorb 100% of the leaf, where with traditional tea you can only extract around 30% during the brewing process.
Growing and tasting Matcha
The special way in which Matcha is cultivated affects both the nutritional content and the taste. From mid-April, the tea bushes are covered with straw and reeds, and to catch the small amount of sunlight that comes through the cover, the tea leaves develop to become wide and thin. This increases the amount of chlorophyll in the leaves, which gives the intense and characteristic green color. When the tea leaves are harvested, they are steamed and dried. The stone ends are then ground into a fine powder using granite stone mills. This method preserves the taste of the Matcha and all its nutrients.
Read more about Matcha's manufacturing process.
History of Matcha
Matcha was first produced in China, but was quickly brought to Japan in the 12th century by the Zen Buddhist monk Eisai. Eisai discovered that drinking Matcha improved his Zen meditation by producing a state of so-called "calm alertness". He thus helped to refine and spread Matcha, which today is a completely ingrained part of Japanese culture.
The lush rolling hills of Uji, just outside Kyoto in Japan, are therefore often considered the birthplace of Matcha, and it is naturally from Uji that Matcha from Matchacha originates. As Matcha's popularity is on the rise, there are more and more new producers of Matcha from new areas trying to grow the green superfood. Eg. we see more and more Matcha from South Korea and China. At present, however, there is such a significant difference in taste, quality and nutritional content that we at Matchacha only recommend Matcha from Japan.