Probably Japan's best-known tea, Matcha is a powdered shade-grown tea leaf pulp produced by grinding tencha in a stone mill called cha-usu (茶臼). Please note that the texture of the tea should be a powder that resembles cream, not powder or sugar granules.
In addition to being the most famous tea in Japan, it is also the oldest and one of the oldest forms of tea production in the world, dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279), when tea was steamed, dried, ground and beaten with hot water into a thick foam. drink. The practice was brought to Japan along with some tea seeds by Buddhist monks, and after the development of tea shading culture in the mid-1500s, modern matcha was born.
Currently, the following steps are taken before packing a match:
Manual is a more expensive and troublesome method of collection, but it has a higher quality. Or mechanical harvesting with a machine, and later with a brush cutter
Tea quality testing and blending
Drying and air saturation
Stage of sorting by color and tea leaf fraction
Extraction of tea twigs from raw materials
Separation of tea pulp from veins, cutting
Matcha is known to be used in the Japanese tea ceremony or the Way of Tea, called Sadou (茶道) or Chanoyu (茶の湯).
Traditionally, matcha is prepared in two ways: as usucha (薄茶 – loose tea), which is bright green, foamy and runny, or as koicha (濃茶 – thick tea), which is brewed about four times stronger and creates a thick, intense, syrupy drink.
Matcha gets its intense umami and vibrant color from growing in the shade for 3-4 weeks before harvest. The tench used to make matcha can be shaded in about three different ways, listed here in order of increasing quality, cost, and labor:
- Jikakabuse (直冠せ): Direct shading, the simplest and cheapest method of shading. Black synthetic fabric is draped directly over the plants, blocking approximately 70% of sunlight. A second layer can be added to increase the shading to about 95%. Applying shading material directly to the tea requires the plants to be trimmed by machine to provide a flat surface. Most often used for shaded sencha and kabusecha, sometimes also used for gyokuro and tencha.
- Kanreisha (寒冷紗): A shelf style with synthetic fabric, the most common shading method. Here, the black cloth is kept in a canopy or shelf built over the tea bushes. This allows for greater air and moisture circulation and allows plants to grow freely. Many shade teas are grown unpruned as shizen-shitate (自然仕竹 - naturally cut) bushes, meaning the bushes are grown naturally without a shape, which produces a higher quality tea, but also makes them unfit for the mechanical harvesting that these teas require. to collect by hand.
- Honzu (本簀): A shelf style with reeds and straw mats, the most traditional method of shading. The Honzu method, which dates back at least 400 years, uses the same shelf system as kanreisha, but uses a reed screen instead of synthetic fabric as the first shading layer. Although considerably more labor-intensive and expensive to construct, reed netting allows even more air and moisture to circulate around the plants, producing higher quality and more complex teas. Additional layers of shading are added by placing straw mats over a reed screen.Perhaps Japan's most famous tea, matcha is a finely ground powder produced by grinding tencha in a stone mill called cha-usu (茶臼). In addition to being the most famous tea in Japan, it is also the oldest and one of the oldest forms of tea production in the world, dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279), when tea was steamed, dried, ground and whisked. hot water into a thick foamy drink. The practice was brought to Japan along with some tea seeds by Buddhist monks, and with the development of shading in the mid-1500s, modern matcha was born.