Ground powder tea
The first step in making matcha is to produce tencha, tea leaves that are suitable for grinding into powder. Tea plants are shaded for around 20 days before harvest (similar to Gyokuro tea). Reducing the plant’s exposure to sunlight stimulates growth in the tea leaves and greatly enhances umami. Tencha is then ground with a tea mill into a fine powder tea called matcha. In the traditional tea ceremony matcha is whisked with hot water. It is said that Buddhist priest Eisai brought this way of tea consumption to Japan from China during the Kamakura period, promoting it mainly for its curing effects.