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Tencha / Matcha

Matcha is a ground powder made from Tencha (tea leaves, the raw material for Matcha).

In the past, Matcha was not something people could buy in the shop. Instead, people bought Tencha leaves which they then ground themselves by using a stone mill to produce Matcha. In recent years, the hand operated stone mill has been replaced by the automated stone mill and packaging techniques have also improved, allowing Matcha to be produced and sold commercially.

Usually, Matcha is produced by blending various Tencha leaves collected from various tea farms by tea traders to match their own brand’s needs. However, some tea farms have begun producing Matcha using single estate tea leaves, or a single variety of tea leaf (single origin Matcha), and these are becoming popular among tea enthusiasts. And as we are a traditional Tencha farm, our teas are indeed single estate and single origin teas.

In our tea farm, we are growing four varieties of tea plants. Three of these, Asahi, Samidori and Ujihikari,are varieties native to Uji and as such are categorised as 'Uji variety'.


 

 Variety: Asahi
 
This variety has a very distinctive and strong flavour and fragrance. It is considered to be the best variety of its kind.


 

Variety: Samidori
 
This variety has a soft and mild flavour, and is easy to drink.


 

Variety: Saemidori
 
A variety often used for 'Gyokuro' (Refined green tea). Strong flavour.


 

Variety: Ujihikari
 
One of the most well-known varieties in the Uji region. Strong and deep flavour.

As we cover new shoots and limit sunlight, new leaves try to increase leaf surface area and chlorophyll to promote the natural process of photosynthesis, where plants gain energy.
As a result, the leaves turn a vivid green and become the perfect thickness for grinding.

 


 

Tencha leaves are covered until we gently hand pick these leaves.

Tencha leaves are covered until we gently hand pick these leaves.
 

Hand picked leaves are steamed first and then dried in ‘Tencha-ro’ (a special furnace for Tencha) resulting in 'Aracha' (unprocessed tea).
 

After the vein and leafstalks are removed, tea leaves are processed to obtain a uniform size, this is known as ‘Shitate-cha’ (processed tea), as this is important for grinding to achieve very fine Matcha powder. The grinding process is very gentle, producing approximately 40g of Matcha per hour.We assess the tea leaves each time and adjust the setting of stone mill in order to get the best results.

Matcha taste is a complex harmony of sweetness, bitterness, harshness and fragrance.
With high quality tea leaves and special techniques of blending, we can optimise the flavour and character that each tea plant has to offer.