Nearly all of the highest grade Matcha and Gyokuro is grown in the Uji region of Japan. It is said that the Matcha grown specifically in the Ogura area of Uji is exceptionally excellent, so it is truly the finest quality Matcha available in Japan or anywhere in the world.
Around A.D. 1400, tea farmers began growing Matcha in the Ogura area of Uji. In this area, there is a large pond where thick reeds grow. These reeds were ideal for providing shade to the tea plants. The farmers harvested the reeds and used them to cover the tea plants to diffuse the sunlight. High quality Matcha and Gyokuro need to be fertilized about three times as much as other teas. The Ogura area is located at the southern edge of the Kyoto Basin, where the capital of Japan had been for a very long time. Fortunately the Kyoto Basin was rich in vitamins and minerals which provided nutrients to the growing tea plants.
These geographical features are the reason why Matcha was originally grown in this area of Japan and has been grown there for many hundreds of years, allowing farmers to develop and perfect techniques for producing the highest quality Matcha available anywhere in the world.
Effort to Grow
Tea trees for Matcha are fertilized three times as much as other kinds of tea, such as Sencha, in order to create the deep smooth taste which Matcha is known for and to protect the tea tree from the burden of defused sunlight before harvesting. The higher grades of Matcha which are hand-picked are given even more nutrients.
Tea leaves for the highest grade Matcha are picked only by skilled hands – not by machine. Picking by hand rather than by machine ensures that the leaves are accurately sorted. Though it is a slow process, hand-picking produces a tea of the highest quality. (For more information, click here.)
Breed of Tea Tree
Only some breeds: Samidori, Asahi, Gokoh, Uji Midori and so on are suitable for Matcha. It is very difficult for any other breeds to produce the deep sweet taste of Matcha. These rare breeds: Samidori, Asahi, Gokoh, Uji Midori are grown mainly in the Uji region.
To grow the finest-quality Matcha takes not only time and effort but also tea trees passed down from prior generations, geographically ideal soil conditions, and technical succession – it must be by the very grace of God that we can all enjoy excellent Matcha of this quality!