History of matcha
More than 1,000 years ago, tea farmers in Japan began crafting matcha, a powdered green tea made from the whole leaf and renowned for its health benefits. Zen monks celebrated it for its ability to help them focus during long periods of sitting meditation. Samurai warriors partook of it before battle to gain mental alertness and clarity. And today, many people from around the world enjoy a bowl of matcha for the pleasure it provides as well as its positive effects on mood, energy, and general health.
Where our tea comes from
Matcha Kari’s teas come from the fields around Uji City near Kyoto, Japan, the birthplace of Japanese tea traditions. Tea produced in the Uji region is prized for its bright color and rich flavor and is often considered Japan’s best.
From picking to storing
During a short and busy harvest season, tea farmers gather leaves and take them to processing facilities.
Small-scale growers hand-pick their tea plants. Larger-scale growers use machines to trim the tea plants during a small window of time. The best time to harvest is when the plant has 3-5 new leaves. Too early and the yield too small; too late and the quality is compromised.
Fresh tea leaves are steamed for 30-40 seconds to destroy enzymes that would degrade flavor components.
Steamed leaves are quickly cooled by a strong blast of air that blows them almost 20 feet into the air, stabilizing the bright color and aroma.
Heated from below in a carefully controlled fire pit, the leaves pass through 3-4 levels on a conveyor belt, ensuring thorough and even drying.
Once dried, the tea leaves are cut, sorted, and mixed thoroughly, ensuring consistent quality and flavor. The resulting product, called tencha, is stored in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment until needed to make matcha.
Tencha is ground into matcha powder between rotating grooved stones driven by machines. A funnel drops cut leaves through a hole into a space between two stones. The grinding process takes two hours, resulting in an extremely fine powder.
Matcha is graded by color, aroma, and flavor.
As soon as matcha is graded, it is sealed in tins to prevent oxidation from exposure to air in the presence of light and heat. Unopened tins can be kept in a freezer for up to a year.
A 2015 study of the dietary patterns of 90,000 Japanese people concluded that those who drank the most green tea had the lowest all-cause mortality rates.
Green tea helps lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, and may protect against cancer. Matcha is the only form of tea that includes the whole leaf rather than a water extract of leaves. Its health benefits correlate with higher levels of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, including L-theanine.
Preparing the perfect bowl of matcha
Making a great bowl of matcha is an art form. While it may look simple on the surface, creating the perfect bowl of matcha requires the correct utensils and the proper technique. We've created a quick how-to video on making a perfect bowl of matcha.
Heat water in a kettle until steam first appears; this will be well below boiling, about 180°F. Turn off heat.
Pour about ½ cup of the hot water into a matcha bowl to warm it; discard the water and dry the inside of the bowl.
Use a tea scoop to measure 3 scoops (1 teaspoon) of sifted matcha powder into the warmed bowl.
Add about ¼ cup (2 ounces) of hot water.
Use a tea whisk to mix the matcha tea into the water. Begin with a slow, back-and-forth stroke, then agitate the mixture to a froth with quick strokes.
Rinse the scoop and whisk.
Sip and enjoy.