About Matcha

Here we will share knowledge about Matcha. We hope these help you to choose proper Matcha.

About the tea leaves of Matcha

Matcha is made from a tea tree called Tencha (碾茶).
This Tencha is crushed and made into a powder, which is called matcha.
This Tencha (碾茶) is a completely different variety from Tencha (甜茶), which is a type of Chinese tea.

There are two types of grinding methods: stone-ground and machine-ground.

Stone-ground and machine-ground

Stone grinding

Stone grinding is a traditional method of grinding that has been around for over 400 years.
High quality matcha is always ground to a fine powder in a stone mill.

The powdered powder is “milled” in a stone mortar, resulting in a spherical shape and a creamy texture.

The advantages of the stone grinding

・The diameter of the particles can be reduced to about 5 microns.
・There is little variation in the size of the particles.
・The shape of the particles is almost spherical.
・The right amount of heat is added during processing, which adds depth to the aroma.

The downside of the stone grinding

・The production speed is extremely slow.
Even if we run the grinding stone for 24 hours a day, we can only produce about 500 grams a day.

Machine grinding

Machine grinding (ball milling) is a process of putting balls of hard materials such as ceramic or zirconia and raw materials into a bingo-like machine
and turning them into powder.
The fine powder made in a ball mill is “battered”, so the particles are less likely to be spherical.

The advantages of the ball milling

・High production speed and mass production is possible.
・Particle size is about the same as that of stone-ground.

The disadvantages of the ball milling

・Large variations in particle size.
・The particles are not spherical in shape.
・The heat transfer during processing is different from that of a stone mortar, making it difficult to obtain the depth of Matcha’s original flavor.

What's the price of the matcha?

The cheapest ones in Japan have a market price of 200 yen per 100 grams.
This is mass-produced by machines using tea leaves that are unsuitable for making matcha, low quality tea leaves, cheap foreign tea leaves, etc.
In some cases, powdered sencha tea leaves are called matcha.
The “large quantity and low price of matcha” is economical because it can be used in large quantities for sweets and matcha lattes.
This type of matcha (or powdered green tea) is the reason why matcha-flavored sweets and matcha lattes are so easy to eat and drink.

The highest quality ones are around 10000 yen per 100 grams. This is a matcha tea for the tea ceremony.

In fact, a typical gram of matcha costs about 25-50 yen per gram, while the finest matcha costs about 75-100 yen per gram.

Why is there such a difference in price?

It costs a lot of money to grow quality matcha.
For example, sufficient fertilizer, the equipment, labor and technology for shading to achieve the aroma and less bitterness, and the grinding with a stone mill.
The higher the price, the more fragrant and mellow the taste,  the richer the Umami and the better the aftertaste.
Most people have the image that matcha is astringent and bitter, but high quality matcha has almost no astringency, but instead is full of Umami and has a deep flavor.

The left is the highest quality product. As you go right, the quality goes down.

Is the color of the matcha a coloring?

Matcha has a weakness: it tends to fade with light and heat.
For this reason, matcha for cooking may be colored to prevent fading.
Without coloring, pound cakes, buns, cookies, crepes, and other items that are heated above 100℃ will not turn a pretty green.

One inexpensive thing that can make up for it is chlorella dye.
For those who know the true scent of matcha, the smell of the chlorella pigment is immediately recognizable and the difference in color.

To complement the color of the matcha during cooking, we provide gardenia pigment, which has almost no effect on the original taste and aroma of the matcha.
This is used to make matcha sweets for sale and is not necessary if you want to enjoy matcha sweets at home.