Where our tea comes from
Matcha Kari’s teas come from the fields around Uji City near Kyoto, Japan, the birthplace of Japanese tea traditions. Tea produced in the Uji region is prized for its bright color and rich flavor and is often considered Japan’s best.
From picking to storing
During a short and busy harvest season, tea farmers gather leaves and take them to processing facilities.
Small-scale growers hand-pick their tea plants. Larger-scale growers use machines to trim the tea plants during a small window of time. The best time to harvest is when the plant has 3-5 new leaves. Too early and the yield too small; too late and the quality is compromised.
Fresh tea leaves are steamed for 30-40 seconds to destroy enzymes that would degrade flavor components.
Steamed leaves are quickly cooled by a strong blast of air that blows them almost 20 feet into the air, stabilizing the bright color and aroma.
Heated from below in a carefully controlled fire pit, the leaves pass through 3-4 levels on a conveyor belt, ensuring thorough and even drying.
Once dried, the tea leaves are cut, sorted, and mixed thoroughly, ensuring consistent quality and flavor. The resulting product, called tencha, is stored in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment until needed to make matcha.
Tencha is ground into matcha powder between rotating grooved stones driven by machines. A funnel drops cut leaves through a hole into a space between two stones. The grinding process takes two hours, resulting in an extremely fine powder.
Matcha is graded by color, aroma, and flavor.
As soon as matcha is graded, it is sealed in tins to prevent oxidation from exposure to air in the presence of light and heat. Unopened tins can be kept in a freezer for up to a year.