Shade Grown Matcha Tea
Manufacturing fine tea is a noble art. Many factors are deciding the quality of tea that a tea maker has to consider at every step. The impact of sunlight is one of them.
Compared to traditional green tea, the production of matcha requires the tea leaves to be protected from sunlight.
The shade-growing method was invented about 400 years ago when some producers noticed that fields that were shaded from the sun by their natural environment produced mellower flavors than the fields exposed to direct sunlight. By artificially shading their fields, the manufacturers were able to imitate nature and give their tea a mellow flavor.
These days when spring arrives, between 4 and 6 weeks before a harvest, the tea plants destined to become matcha are covered from direct sunlight. This method is done in different ways like a tarp or a few straw panels.
Tea experts believe that tea grown under such intense shade has increased levels of chlorophyll which gives the leaves the vibrant jade green color for premium matcha. And the amount of tea amino acid in the leaves dramatically increases, giving the tea a smooth and sweet character.