Springtime in Japan is nothing less than magical.
From late March to mid-April, Japan's iconic cherry blossoms capture everybody's attention as their beautiful pink flowers blanket the country in soft, colorful splendor.
Around this time, the tea fields, in which Matcha tea leaves are grown, so called, the Shaded Tea Field, are covered from the top with the traditional straw screens or recently artificial fiber cloth to slowly and gradually decrease the amount of sunlight, and hence photosynthesis. By doing this, tea leaves begin to crank out increasing amounts of both Chlorophyll and Amino Acids (Theanine) that makes Matcha color nice and bright green and gives its intense “Umami” taste.
The first harvest tea-plucking begins in late April, then followed by second and later harvests. The first flush of the year is considered the most delicious and has the most nutrients because, during the winter, tea plants store nutrients, and the tender new tea leaves which sprout in the spring contain concentrated nutrients.
The highest quality Matcha tea leaves are only the smallest, youngest, and greenest parts of the plant - the two leaves at the tip of each new shoot, and its taste is not solely sweet, but a distinctive complex taste that is full-bodied, rich, and mature, never chalky, bitter, or bland. This top quality Matcha from the first harvesting days (First Flush) in Japan is used in the Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony, in which people enjoy and appreciate its delicate full flavor without masking with any additions.
For Matcha (and Japanese tea) drinkers, first harvest tea season is an exciting time.
Join in the excitement and Enjoy!