Over the last 800 years, matcha tea existed as part of Japan’s spiritual ceremonies and the home of the upper classes. Monks drank matcha tea to boost brain activity and enhance concentration, while the Japanese upper classes consider it a symbol of social status.
Today, matcha tea crossed over from the sacred temples of Japan to the daily lives of the public worldwide. But as grand as how people view matcha from the past years, matcha is still regarded as an expensive type of tea. Quality matcha can cost roughly $100 only for 30 grams of powder.
But really, what makes matcha so expensive?
1. Picking a location for cultivation.
The soil where matcha grows impacts how it will taste when milled. Though there are several matcha plantations in Japan, only two regions produce the best and quality matcha: Nishio city in Aichi and Uji city in Kyoto.
The geographical location alone makes it more expensive since there are only selected locations where matcha can successfully flourish. It strives on foggy and cold areas that give matcha a sweeter taste.
2. Laborious shading, harvesting, and deveining.
Tea farmers cover the tea bush three weeks before the harvest to block direct sunlight and keep the sweet taste of the matcha.
Eventually, they handpick only the buds or the younger tea leaves to ensure that only the purest matcha is produced. All the stems are removed before steaming the leaves to prevent a bitter taste.
3. Milled and made by the most skilled tea masters.
Matcha is a unique form of tea produced by the hands of the most skilled matcha makers. The last part of the crucial process involves grounding the matcha in a stone mill. A massive stone mill can only produce 30-50 grams of matcha powder in an hour. Unlike the production of other teas, the milling process is only done by trained matcha makers.