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What is Matcha?

Matcha is like no other tea! You’ll learn more here about Matcha and understand what makes our Matcha so extraordinary.

What is Matcha?

Matcha tea leaves are shade-grown for about 3-4 weeks before then being carefully handpicked. The leaves are then assessed on quality and grade based on texture, colour, aroma and taste. They are then destemmed and deveined, before being finally ground into a fine powder. Our Matcha is then sealed and shipped from Japan to the UK.

 

Matcha leaves are grown from the same plant as other teas, but what makes Matcha so unique is the way in which it is cultivated and produced. Most teas are infused with hot water meaning that up to 90% of the leaves’ nutrients are surrendered. However, as the Matcha leaf is ground into a fine powder, you are essentially consuming the whole leaf along with all of its wonderful nutrients. To add to this, the Matcha leaf is always shade-grown which enables the production of more L-Theanine and caffeine.

 

So not only is Matcha grown in a special way to reap more benefits, but it is also then processed to ensure these are all encapsulated into a fine powder, ready for you to drink!

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Origin

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Matcha can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty in China when the method of making powdered tea from steam-prepared dried tea leaves became popular in the 12th century. This is when Matcha was discovered by a Buddhist monk, Eisai, who then brought this technique to Japan along with tea seeds. Not long after Eisai’s return to Japan, Buddhist monks were perfecting this special technique of cultivating the tea plant. This is the same way today in which Matcha is cultivated.

 

You might be thinking what did Eisai find in Matcha that prompted him to bring this to Japan all those 800 years ago?

He had realised that drinking Matcha improved his meditation sessions by producing a state of calm alertness - which we now know is due to the blend of the power duo of L-Theanine and caffeine in Matcha.

Quality

Unfortunately, there is a lack of certification and due diligence for Matcha which means the true ingredients are never disclosed. This has been proven by the shocking substances that have been found in Matcha samples. These have included pesticides and even contamination with lead, which are both dangerous to our health. This is however more common in Chinese Matcha. Japan is far stricter in terms of regulation and testing, and is going to be much less likely to contain the same problems that Chinese blends do.

 

Organic Matcha is extremely hard to produce, and must adhere to strict quality standards as well as meeting the requirements of the organic regulating bodies. 

 

Therefore, the number 1 tip when looking for great quality Matcha would always be to look for Japanese Organic Matcha.

 

And this is why we are proud to say that Matcha Me Up is Organic certified, cultivated in Japan, and contains only natural ingredients, with no pesticides in sight!

Different Grades of Matcha

The cultivation of the Matcha leaf includes its assessment based on texture, colour, aroma and taste. It can either be graded as Ceremonial, Premium or Culinary. This can be dependent on factors like where the Matcha is grown, climate conditions, skills of the tea farmers and the way in which the leaf is stone-milled.

Producing Ceremonial grade Matcha is more labour intensive and requires specialist skills. It is renowned for its high quality and is the tea of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

Quality

Rating

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The Harvest: When is the leaf picked?

Ceremonial

Premium

Picked once in the first harvest (usually in April)

Picked usually during the second harvest

Culinary

Picked usually during the third harvest

Quality of the leaf

Younger leaves often found at the top of the bush and have a greater nutritional value

Leaves are picked lower down the bush and can have a harder texture and less nutrients

Leaves are picked lower down the bush and can have a harder texture and less nutrients

How is the leaf ground into a powder?

Stone-ground carefully to ensure no nutrients are lost

Usually pulverised in large machines leading to nutrients being lost

Usually pulverised in large machines leading to nutrients being lost

Nutritional Content*

Theanine: ~32mg

Caffeine: ~52mg

Theanine: ~16mg

Caffeine: ~28mg

Theanine: ~16mg

Caffeine: ~28mg

Taste

Smooth and slightly sweet

Less smooth and slightly bitter

Very bitter

Best Used for

Matcha Tea 

(with water)

Matcha Latte

Baking

* Based on 2g serving

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