Matcha is a precious beverage which has such great value that in the past it was reserved exclusively for the Emperor, the Royal Family, and nobility. Although currently the drinking of matcha is widespread throughout Japan and the whole world, the great care taken in every step of production continues unremittingly.
Matcha cultivation: A growing location must be chosen in a valley with volcanic earth high in mineral content so as to compel the matcha to have a mellow taste and unique fragrance. It's necessary to maintain the planting area well so as to have a level of sunlight and temperature suitable to enable refined drops of dew to form on top of the tea leaves each morning.
Harvesting: Matcha is harvested only once a year by making careful selection from the riches tea plot when the tea leaves begin to send out young leaves. One month before harvesting, the entire tea plot must be covered with reed screen to keep rich nutrients in the first 3 young leaves which make tea leave soft and aromatic. Then comes the picking process; tea leaves must be hand-picked by experienced specialists who will choose only the first 3 leaves, and the process must be finished before the first light of dawn.
Collected tea leaves will be taken to a steaming plant as quickly as possible to halt the oxidizing process, so they will retain as high amount of Catechins as possible and keep beautiful and deep green color. Then go through a sifting process to remove all stems and branches before being taken to grind in a Japanese stone mill made from a special kind of stone specifically for grinding matcha.
Sencha comes from the same tea plant as matcha, the difference being that sencha is grown outdoors all year round. It does not have to be covered with reed screen. Sencha is harvested four times a year, using scissors to cut the tea plant tips, then steaming and dried. After that go to twisting process. All the process gives them an intense taste and a rather nice flavor.
To drink sencha, take the dry leaves and put them in tea pot followed by hot water, wait for a moment until the tea water has the desired color, then pour and drink. The value of nutrients obtained from sencha come from immersing the tea leaves in water, which different from matcha which the whole tea leaves are consumed.