Matcha is a form of green tea in which the tea leaves are powdered instead of being left whole. This allows the tea to simply be whisked into the water, instead of steeping.
Tea leaves for matcha are kept shaded for three weeks before harvesting, causing the plant to retain the nutrients and sugars within. The leaves are then harvested, dried, and ground up into fine matcha powder.
Matcha powder varies in quality (called “grades”), depending on when the tea leaves were harvested and where on the plant the leaves came from. Leaves higher up on the plant, and those harvested earlier, create a higher grade of matcha with a more vibrant colour and a sweeter taste; meanwhile, lower grades made from older leaves have a grassier aroma. All grades, however, have their own advantages, and are drunk all over Japan, as well as worldwide.
Ryu Mei LLC offers three grades of matcha: Ceremonial Grade, Spring Grade, and Summer Grade. Ceremonial Grade is the highest, most expensive grade, picked in the early spring. Spring Grade matcha is the intermediate, and Summer Grade is the last harvest, and the most economical.
All of Ryu Mei’s green tea, including its matcha, is certified Organic by both Japanese and US standards, and is grown free of any chemicals and pesticides. It is harvested and processed by the Nagata farm, a family notorious for their long tradition of tea-making. Ryu Mei’s Organic Matcha is an excellent place to begin your foray into the vast world of green tea!