栽種技術 - 優質抹茶會採用「覆蓋遮陽技術」以提升茶葉的質量、風味、顏色和養份。隨著茶葉生長週期變化，遮光率要逐步提高。當茶青長至一芽二葉，便會進行覆蓋，減少約70%陽光照射，到最後遮光率會提升至95%至98%。由於陽光被遮擋，茶葉的光合作速度會降低，促使茶葉中茶氨酸、兒茶素和氨基酸含量升高，而這些元素，令抹茶的味道更香濃。
殺青方法 - 抹茶需要「蒸氣殺青法」來進行殺青，相比一般製程使用高溫炒鍋殺青更為快速，且品質均一，防止茶葉加工中氧化，並去除青草氣，發展茶香，極大保留茶葉營養。
研磨方法 - 研磨是一種耗損的過程。研磨時轉速越快、溫度越高，就會造抹茶風味和顏色的耗損。研磨後的幼細程度即是抹茶口感的關鍵。顆粒越細，口感越順滑。
成份是否純正 - 小心選擇是否100%抹茶產品，有些產品可能混入綠茶粉、糖分和奶粉等。
安全無農藥 - 如果茶葉使用農藥，由於抹茶是整片磨粉而成，因此食或喝下肚的農藥也會比其他茶葉多。所以採購有機產品會比較安全。
Looking for the Best Matcha?
The green tea is an umbrella term generally referred to dried tea leaves without going through the fermentation process. The most popular green tea includes Sencha, Longjing, Gyokuro, Biluochuan, Huangshan Maofeng and many others. A kind of green tea, Matcha is a bright-green, super-fine ground powder made from tea buds completely shaded before harvest.
Tea plantation technique - prior to harvest, tea buds for making premium Matcha are protected from the shade-grown technique which enhances the quality, flavour, color and nutrition benefits of the resulting Matcha. With the changes in the growth cycle of tea, the shading rate will be gradually increased. When the new tea buds spread 1-2 leaves, the shading rate will reach to about 70%, and then the sun-shade nets will be used. As the leaves gradually spread out, the shading rate reaches to about 95-98. As sunlight has been blocked out, it will reduce the rate of photosynthesis, resulting in high levels of theanine, catechin and amino acid in tea leaves . That’s why Matcha has a full-bodied flavour.
Fixation - as opposed to the traditional high temperature frying, Matcha produced by the “steam fixation”method can prevent the original ingredient from being oxidized during the process while removing the grass scent to purify its aroma and retaining its nutrients.
Milling condition - refined milling causes the loss of flavour and colour in the process. The more rapid the milling, the higher the temperature is, making the fading of the matcha’s flavour and its colour unavoidable. The mouth-feel sensation of Matcha greatly depends on the fineness of the powder. The more refined the powder, the smoother its texture is.
Pure ingredients - to make sure that you have selected 100% pure Matcha, check out if any green tea powder, sugar and milk powder are on the ingredient list.
Safe and pesticide free - organic matcha is a safer choice for consumers. Matcha is milled from whole leaves. If the source contains pesticide residues, Matcha drinkers may have a higher intake of pesticide residues than other drinkers of non-ground teas.
Matcha Vs Green Tea Powder
Both Matcha and green tea powder originate from green tea, but they go through different production processes. More demanding in time and effort, Matcha is grown and made under more stringent requirements than other ground green tea products. Therefore, its price is a few times higher than those of the latter.
Photo credit: GuiTea