What is Ceremonial Matcha, and Why does it Matter?
Matcha, in broad terms, in simply powdered green tea. Most matcha, the best of matcha, comes from Japan. Japan has been producing matcha for centuries, ever since it was brought over from China by Japanese Buddhist monks who spent time studying and living in China. Though matcha was first produced and enjoyed in China, the production of Chinese matcha abruptly ceased centuries ago due to the changes of preferences in the warring Chinese regimes. While the practice of drinking matcha ceased in China, it was enthusiastically preserved and perfected in Japan, first by the elite class of aristocrats, merchants, and generals, and later by farmers and industrial producers.
Ceremonial Matcha is a designated tier of top quality matcha that must meet marks in its production in order to be classified Ceremonial. The Ceremonial title is a signifier that it is of the quality deemed fit to be served in a matcha ceremony, which is a revered serving of matcha by an esteemed host for their guests. This ceremony is closely connected and governed by Zen Buddhist principles and other thought systems that preceded and were also developed through the establishment and perfection of the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
Picking and Processing
Before the picking of the tea leaves meant for Matcha the plants must be shaded for at least three weeks time, 21 days, before they are harvested. The leaves picked for this tea are typically the bud and first four to five leaves. The fourth and fifth leaves are only used if they are sufficiently tender, and they are great because of their large size and flatness, which makes the deveining and destemming process very easy. This tea is strictly sorted so that only the dry leafy parts of the leaves remain. At this stage of production, the leaf flakes are called Tencha, which is then ground into matcha powder.
The grinding of the Tencha is where the different grades of matcha powder are determined. Matcha is most typically machine ground, which produces a more oxidized tier of matcha with a more yellow, yellow-green, or pale green color. Stone Grinding is the method of grinding tencha leaves in slowly rotating stone mills. This is the method required for Ceremonial matcha. The slow stone grinding keeps the powder from becoming too warm which protects it against oxidizing and preserves the rich and vibrant green color that is striking upon examination. The stone grinding also preserves the rich and creamy qualities of the matcha which otherwise turn more bitter.
Ceremonial matcha is definitely treat and is often mismarked by companies in order to promote sales. Our Four Elements Tea Co. Ceremonial Matcha is evaluated and guaranteed Ceremonial Grade. We are also aware of the current matcha trend and the mark up that other companies place on matcha for extra profit. Here you will find our matcha to be very fairly priced, as we are foremost focused on sharing our passion and love for tea. This is also important if you are using matcha as a dietary supplement. Ceremonial Matcha is the most potent matcha type as the tea is better preserved and the grade of tea used is higher. The tea plants used for Ceremonial matcha and among the most highly tended to and protected and pure tea crop. Our Matcha Offerings.