What is Matcha?
Matcha is a finely milled vibrant green tea powder made from the highest quality Japanese tea leaves. Clearspring Organic Premium Matcha comes from Uji, a region high in the hills around Kyoto, renowned for producing the best Japanese teas. Only accessibly by foot, this remote area is unpolluted and rich in friendly bugs such as spiders, ladybirds, praying mantis and dragonflies to keep the pests under control (best to use organic matcha as non-organic matcha is grown using excessive amounts of agricultural fertilisers and pesticides). Shade grown for the final few months to allow the leaves to fill with chlorophyll, the finest young tea buds are picked, dried and ground in a granite mortar.
History of Matcha
Matcha is finely ground green tea leaf powder and is the most prized amongst Japanese teas. It has been drunk as part of the tea ceremony for 900 years as well as by Buddhist monks during long days of meditation.
Different grades of Matcha
Growing conditions, time of harvest and processing techniques have a direct effect on the grade and final flavour of the Matcha:
Ceremonial grade Matcha uses the finest, smallest shade grown leaves from the very tip of the tea bush - giving it a very vibrant green colour and a slightly sweet, smooth flavour.
Premium grade Matcha is ideal for both drinking and home baking, can add unique flavour and incredible colour to food and drink recipes.
Basic grade Matcha is slightly bitter, less expensive and is generally only used for cooking.
High-grade Organic Uji Matcha products are cultivated under the diligent management of Clearspring's tea master Juro Okuda. The tea bushes are covered with cloths for as long as possible to produce leaves of a deep green colour. It is very difficult to grow organic matcha; one must fight against both bugs and diseases. Harmful insects can appear because of small climate changes threatening the tea crop. For this reason, it is essential to manage the cultivation in a way that places primary importance on the natural ecosystem.
Ceremonial and Premium grades of Matcha are ground in stone mortars for many hours. This creates a unique light smoothness that is perfect for drinking.