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The process by which Japanese green tea is made results in its distinctive styles, flavours and  healthy properties.

 

Let us explain the production of Sencha, the most popular form of Japanese tea and Tencha, which is ground to make Maccha, the exquisite powder used in Japanese tea ceremonies.

 

Making Sencha

Sencha makes up about three quarters of all Japanese tea, it is known for its pleasant sharpness and fresh qualities complementing a leaf of high uniformity and rich emerald colour.

 

The first flushes are plucked in early May and initially steamed for about one minute. Thestrength of heat used is a factor in the flavour.

 

After cooling, the leaves are rolled until about half the moisture is lost. A further two rolling processes are undertaken, firstly without heat and then heated. The result is a characteristic needle shape.

 

The resulting needles are carefully dried to maintain the unique quality and fregrance of the tea. At this stage we have tea called Aracha. The leaves are sorted by size and then dried to bring out a characteristic flavour.  

 

 

tea bushes covered with grass matting

 

How to make Tencha and Maccha

For several weeks prior to the harvest of tea to be used to make tencha, the bushes are covered and shielded from direct sunlight.

This age old process causes leaves to become thinner and make more chlorophyll, it enhances the sweet taste and rich flavour of the tea.

 

To produce tencha, plucked leaves need to be processed the same day. As with sencha, the leaves are steamed to kill off oxidising enzymes. The leaves are then dried in huge cooling tents, as they float up and drift down on strong cold winds they separate.

 

The leaves are then dried repeatedly to result once again in Aracha. The Aracha is then sifted to remove small leaves and cut into 5mm squares.

 

The leaves are once again blown to remove stems and viens, sifted and cut again to get the final refined leaves. These final leaves are ground to produce maccha.

 

Morihan, Kyoeiseicha Co. Ltd., Seyama Building 5F, 5-1-1, Nishi-Tenma, Kita-ku Osaka 530-0047 Japan     

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