Like Gyokuro, Matcha green tea is shade-grown. However, it is processed differently after harvest for a completely different appearance and flavor.
The best matchas are slowly ground with two granite wheels, much like flour is stone-ground.
Like Gyokuro, Matcha is shade-grown for several weeks before harvest. Unlike Gyokuro, Matcha's leaves are steamed until they begin to fall apart. At this point, they are called 'tencha.' Then, the stems and veins are separated from the rest of the leaf. When an order is placed with a tea maker for Matcha, the 'meat' of the leaves is ground much like flour is ground. The best Matchas are ground slowly between two granite wheels, and various grooved patterns are used to achieve different levels of fineness.
This processing results in a finely powdered, vibrantly green tea known as Matcha. An ancient form of tea, Matcha has long been associated with Buddhist practice and is the tea served in the Japanese tea ceremony. The best Matchas are whisked into tea
. Medium-grade Matchas are often used in Matcha drinks, like green tea lattes
. Lower grades of Matcha are commonly used for as an ingredient in food
. For more information on how to make Matcha drinks and Matcha-flavored foods, check out these Matcha recipes
Good quality drinking-quality Matcha has verdant green color and a savory-sweet flavor with lots of umami, grassiness and flavors of green peas.