Matcha green tea is the most famous tea in Japan. Made from shaded and grounded young tea leaves, Matcha is much healthier than green tea and gives you more energy than coffee. Growing Matcha tea requires a certain level of attention to detail that other green teas don’t. For instance, the tea plants have to be kept covered for several weeks before harvest.
The cover blocks the sun and increases chlorophyll production in the leaves, which gives Matcha its distinctive jewel green colour. The same sun-blocking process also makes major changes in the internal chemistry of the leaves, resulting in an ultra-rich taste, more amino acids and more antioxidants. Also, Matcha tea can only be made from tea plants that are shaded and plucked once a year.
The processing of Matcha leaves is different from processing regular green tea. It calls for extra attention. Matcha tea is only processed in specialized factories where fresh, young tea leaves are ground into fine powder through a stone mill. Before milling, the stems and veins are removed from the leaves, which results in the fine texture of the milled Matcha.
The stone-grinding process is slow and minute. To give you an idea, it takes about one hour to get half an ounce of Matcha. Due to the sheer meticulousness of the stone-grinding process, Matcha tea is so rich with nutrients. Where leaf teas can retain only 30-40% of nutrients, Matcha can retain 100% which makes it the healthiest tea in the world.
Matcha’s price largely depends on its quality. You can find both very expensive Matcha and quite inexpensive Matcha. The quality of the latter will, needless to say, be inferior to expensive Matcha and nowhere near as healthy. The Matcha that’s produced in the aforementioned process, will undoubtedly be of great quality and thus, expensive.
If you don’t like a strong umami in your tea, you should opt for cheap Matcha green tea. But then you’d have to compromise with Matcha tea benefits. If you are not so keen on the strength of the flavour, but want to enjoy a lot of health benefits, go for expensive Matcha tea. Aside from being enriched with tonnes of nutrients, it’ll also have a fresh, vegetal, interesting flavour.
Matcha tea is grown in only one country in the world – Japan, whereas coffee is grown all over the world. There are many countries where coffee plantations employ cheap labourers. But the Matcha plantation workers in Japan are paid equal or higher to those working in other first world countries.
Every year, around 9 billion tonnes of coffee is produced across the world, whereas only 1000 tonnes of Matcha is produced every year. The fact that the amount of coffee produced is higher, is another reason for its cheaper rate.
Whilst a cup of coffee needs 5-10 grams to make, a cup of Matcha needs only 1-2 grams. So the quantity also contributes to the price difference.
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