Our second day in Japan was all about matcha. We started out at a premium tea garden that grows its tea specifically with matcha in mind as opposed to just green tea for tea bags or full leaf consumption. The rows of premium tea plants are covered in black fabric, which shades the leaves.
This is important in creating high quality matcha because it forces the leaves to work extra hard to get sunlight. As a result, the leaves produce more amino acid and chlorophyll, which will give the matcha a smoother taste and “umami” flavor when sipped.
After visiting a processing plant where the leaves were steamed and dried, we drove to Fukujuen Matcha Center in Uij – the matcha capital of Japan – where we actually had the chance to stone grind our own matcha.
For 20 minutes, we turned a granite block in a counter-clockwise rotation and watched premium tea leaves emerge as a bright green powder.
Finally, we scooped this powder into our matcha bowls, added hot water, and whisked vigorously to create a beautiful foam.
Each sip was smoother than the last, and we all agreed that nothing can quite match a cup of freshly ground matcha.