origin of our matcha
Plentea is centered around traditional Japanese practices of healing and self-care achieved through the nutritional properties of matcha. Instantly evident by our vibrant green color, scent and delicious umami, our matcha has been cultivated with love from one of the few remaining award-winning family farms on the hillside of Uji, near Kyoto in Japan. What makes our matcha ceremonial grade? It’s shade grown, handpicked, de-stemmed, deveined, air dried (to stop oxidation) and stone-ground as has been tradition for the finest and purest matcha for over 800 years! Learn more below and feel free to reach out with any questions.
What makes matcha sweet with no traces of bitterness? Our Tea Masters carefully shade the matcha leaves in the time leading up to harvest. This not only boosts nutrients but also L-theanine (the feel good amino acid responsible for green tea’s umami flavor. Exposure to sunlight decreases this component and increases catechins causing the leaf to become more astringent and bitter. In general, tea leaves that have more umami are considered higher in grade, this is why we chose the highest grade: Ceremonial Grade Matcha.
How is our matcha so vibrant green? well, location above all. Uji is the birthplace of matcha for a reason. The very best matcha is chosen by hand —our tea masters do this once per year, typically in May. Only the topmost, youngest pair of leaves on the very top of the tea plants are handpicked to produce premium matcha in a laborious method called Niyou Tsumi (two leaf picking), making it electric green in color.They are then steamed to preserve the color and nutrients, and to stop the enzymatic action within the leaves, then thoroughly dried with heated blowers.
Why is it powdered? when we consume matcha green tea, we are consuming the whole leaf, rather than seeping our tea in warm water. With that comes so many more health benefits.Before it even gets to powder, matcha is sorted for grade (with the youngest, greenest, most tender leaves earning the highest marks) which is ours!
The leaves that make it through the rigorous process of destemming and deveining are called tencha and of course the quality of tencha varies widely.