Matcha is a unique type of powdered green tea that was originally created in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and brought over to Japan in 1191 by the monk Eisai. It was originally only given to Samurai warriors and royalty due to its lengthy production time and price. What separates Matcha from other types of tea is that the Matcha tea leaves are shaded from the sun during the last 3 weeks before harvest. This increases the chlorophyll levels, which in turn packs the leaves full of nutrients and creates an elegant emerald green color. The leaves are then steamed, dried, and carefully ground with stone grinding wheels into a fine powder. As it is in powder form and mixed to consume, Matcha is the healthiest tea on earth, as a majority of the nutrients are in the tea leaf itself. With other teas, the leaf is simply steeped but not consumed.
Today, it is a very popular and highly appreciated drink in both China and Japan. It is also quickly gaining popularity around the world!
Below is an illustration of the process:
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