Matcha is Super Food!? Part1
Japanese people can’t properly explain what green tea is?
Before we tell you about matcha, we need to talk about Japanese tea.
Matcha is ‘green tea’, but can you explain what green tea is?
The other day, we asked the following tricky question to some Japanese people:
‘Do you think houji-cha (roasted green tea) is green tea?’
‘I think the color of houji-cha is brown, so it’s not green tea.’
'Houji-cha is made from roasted sen-cha, so it’s not green tea.’
We got a variety of wrong answers from Japanese people.
Interestingly, none of them could explain what green tea was.
First, we will explain what green tea is because if you know the definition of green tea, we think you will understand this article more easily and can enjoy it.
If you have detailed knowledge of green tea, your Japanese friends may be surprised.
About green tea
Green tea is ‘non-fermented tea’. This means that after picking the fresh, raw, tea leaves, the leaves are steamed to stop the fermentation process.
That means, matcha, gyokuro, houji-cha, kabuse-cha, sen-cha -- basically all Japanese teas are ‘green tea’.
Among these teas, sen-cha is the common green tea many Japanese people drink on a daily basis.
Incidentally, all teas such as green tea, black tea and oolong tea are made from the leaves of a species of evergreen tree that belong to the Camelia family.
Therefore, the type of tea produced depends upon the fermentation process.
Are you interested in green tea? check variety of green tea at our web site.
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Japanese Tea Fukujuen
Matcha is special among green tea ~From Matcha cultivation to production~
One of the reasons why matcha is special is that it requires more effort and time than other green teas. It takes about one year from the previous year’s 'bangari' before matcha is made.
※What is 'bangari'?
'Bangari' is the work to cut and arrange the tea trees, that usually grow unevenly, to be about 30cm in height after picking all of the tea leaves.
By doing this work, healthy tea trees will grow the next year.
Tea trees for producing sen-cha grow fully in the sunshine of the early summer, while tea trees for matcha grow under black covers called 'kanreisya' for three to four weeks with the sun partially blocked.
The matcha tea trees' branches grow taller and taller searching for the sunshine.
Trees in full sunshine direct their nutrition to grow thick skinned leaves, but sun-blocked trees direct their nutrition towards growing their branches.
For that reason, these leaves become thinner and softer.
This results in a higher grade tea leaf suitable for matcha which has less astringent, bitter tannins, and more theanines, which have an umami flavor.
The youngest tea leaves are picked.
These young leaves are steamed as soon as they are picked, which stops the oxidation process.
(If the leaves aren't steamed and they begin the oxidation process, they will become black tea or oolong tea)
Next, the steamed leaves are dried in a tea furnace (Tencha-ro).
(If they are dried by squeezing the moisture out, they become gyokuro)
The dried leaves are called ‘Ten-cha no Ara-cha’ (it is the raw material for making matcha)
These ten-cha leaves are uniformly sized and the stems and veins are carefully removed.
Then the leaves are selected and dried again.
After that, the leaves are aged in a refrigerator at a low temperature and with low humidity.
The leaves' rich flavor and mild taste are enhanced by the aging of the leaves.
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Then, according to demand, the leaves are taken out from the refrigerator, ground carefully with a stone mill, and finished into a smooth, ultrafine powder (5 to 9 microns) This is matcha.
Matcha is easily ingested by your body
Green tea a lot of nutrients that are good for your health such as β-carotene, vitamin E, and dietary fiber.
But these nutrients are difficult to dissolve in water.
Green teas such as Sen-cha, Gyokuro, and Genmai-cha are liquids extracted from tea leaves in a teapot. It is difficult for your body to absorb these insoluble nutrients efficiently.
The wonderful thing about matcha is that you are actually consuming the tea leaves.
You can get the insoluble nutrients of β-carotene, vitamin E, and dietary fiber because you consume the matcha tea leaves themselves.
In addition, you can take in even more nutrients such as catechin, vitamin C, and calcium which are not available in other green teas.
Next time we will explain more about the nutritional benefits of matcha.
Matcha contains a lot of ingredients that are good for beauty - especially for women.
Next time we will explain this in detail. Thank you for taking the time to read our blog!
Matcha is Super Food!? Part2
These matcha products are very popular in our shop
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