Matcha Production Process
In the beginning of April, when the tea buds grow. Tea fields are covered with black sheets to block out the sunlight. Shielding sunlight inhibits theanine, the flavor component, from changing to tannin, an acerbity component. It also generates the sweet flavor unique to matcha, called "Oika", and the vivid green color. Tea leaf harvest begins from the 88th day from the beginning of spring (Hachiju-hachiya).
Picked tea buds are delivered to aracha processing factory. High-temperature steaming stunts the fermentation enzyme activities and retains the vivid green color of tea. Then, tea leaves are dried by removing the water content slowly in a large drier. The leaves in this condition are called aracha or tencha aracha.
Stems and veins are removed from aracha and only the leaf part full of nourishment and palatability are left as ingredients. Specifically, aracha is refined in a process of size- sorting, air sorting, re-drying, electrical sorting, and color sorting.
Refined tencha is delivered to the matcha factory. Micron-sized matcha is produced using tea grinders in a manufacturing room under constant temperature and humidity 24 hours a day. High-class matcha for tea ceremony is ground very carefully so one tea grinder can only produce 40 grams per hour.
Ground matcha is packed after final inspection. Only products that pass the final inspection are kept fresh and delivered across Japan and worldwide.
To grind tea with tea grinder is a necessary process to make high-quality matcha. One tea grinder can produce 40 grams of micron-sized high-class matcha for tea ceremony. "Grind setting craftsmen" with skills passed down for generations control the tea grinders which produce such invaluable micro grains. AIYA has traditional craftsmen to hone the techniques to produce top-quality micro grains every day.