What is Matcha? / 抹茶とは
Created from finely ground green tea leaves, matcha is a versatile powder originating from ancient Japanese culture. Green tea plants for matcha are cultivated in the shade, resulting in high levels of the flavorful and calming amino acid L-Theanine, as well as detoxifying chlorophyll. The youngest, freshest leaves are then hand picked from the plants, and quickly steamed to preserve their vibrant green color. Next, they are air dried, de-veined and de-stemmed so that only the most nutrient rich parts of the leaves remain. The leaves are finally stone ground into the signature bright green matcha powder.
Many modern matcha drinkers in the Western world first encountered the beverage as a “new” menu item in their neighborhood coffee shop. But matcha has a long history as rich as the tea itself. The traditional matcha cultivation process was developed by Buddhist monks in ancient Japan, after a monk returning from China brought souvenir green tea seeds along. Many years later, a Zen student developed and popularized the ritual of the Japanese tea ceremony. No matter how many coffee shops feature matcha today, the tradition of matcha is still a meaningful part of both the history and modern culture of Japan.