Other standard teas are grown in the open with direct exposure to sunlight. Matcha, however, spends its last month before cultivation in the shade. The shading process begins a month before harvest time. To do this a framework is built around the fields, with layers of tarp placed on top. Around 90% of the sunlight is blocked by doing this.
Step 2 - Hand pick
When they are ready to be harvested, the quality leaves are handpicked. This is mainly due to the importance of the placement of the hand and the angle at which the leaves are picked during harvest. They need to be picked at a downward angle, so that the leaves which are very delicate are protected and not torn or damaged.
Step 3: Steamed and air dried
Once the leaves have been collected, they are lightly steamed. This stops the natural decomposition of the leaf. They are then put through a separation process to remove any veins, stems and other unwanted parts. This is done through a system of air blowers. The heavier stem will fall first, and the lighter more desirable parts fly further.
Step 4: Granite stone grind
Once these desirable parts have been collected, they are placed into granite grinders. The granite stone grinder grinds down the leaves into a very fine powder through the process of spinning and rubbing without producing any excess heat from friction. It takes one hour to produce about 70 gram of matcha powder.