Ceremonial Matcha Tea

Matcha Map

What is Matcha?

Matcha is a traditional Japanese green tea produced by stone-grinding a shade-grown green tea called tencha into a fine powder. Matcha has a rich cultural tradition as the tea prepared and revered during chanoyu–the mindful, artistic, Zen-inspired Japanese Tea Ceremony. Matcha is unique among teas in that when we drink matcha, we consume the fresh green tea leaf itself, ground and whisked up into an energizing, refreshing bowl. At Rishi, we enjoy matcha both as a sort of daily uplifting “tea espresso” as well as in more formal settings using traditional accouterments in our practice of chanoyu.

We’ve taken extraordinary care to share matcha with you exactly the way we’ve experienced it in Japan. Many factors can influence the quality of matcha, from the tea bush cultivars, to the shading techniques used in cultivation, to the picking standard used during harvesting. Explore some of the ways Rishi matcha is superior below…

Introducing Rishi Ceremonial Matcha

  • Sourced from our favorite gardens with micro-lots produced exclusively for Rishi Tea
  • Made using tencha harvested from tea bush cultivars noted for high concentrations of L-theanine, the amino acid that produces an uplifting, calm state of alertness and gives matcha its lush umami quality
  • Our premium matchas are stone-ground fresh to order and delivered by airmail direct from Kyoto throughout the year in small quantities to ensure peak freshness
  • Available in 20g airtight, resealable bags. Each bag yields 10 bowls of matcha, enough to get you through the week with a daily bowl and some extra to share or enjoy on the weekend. Small pack sizes ensure matcha maintains its fresh quality


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Region


Cultivars


Shading Technique

Picking Technique

Stone Grinding Speed (slower rate preserves freshness and aroma)
Kirishima Mountain,
Kagoshima Prefecture

Yabukita, Asatsuyu,
Okumidori, Okuyutaka

Tana & Kabuse

Scissor-harvested

50g matcha/hour per
wheel mill

Wasuka, Ujitawara,
Joyo, Kyotonabe

Samidori, Goko,
Yabukita, Okumidori

Tana

Scissor-harvested

3-5kg matcha/day


Uji, Joyo, Kyotonabe,
Kumiyama, Yamashiro, Ide

Asahi, Samidori,
Goko, Uji, Hikari

Tana

Hand-harvested

600g matcha/day


Joyo, Kyotonabe


Asahi, Goko


Tana

Hand-harvested

300g matcha/day


Uji, Joyo


Asahi


Tana

Hand-harvested

150g matcha/day






How to Prepare the Pefect Matcha

1. Sift 1 tsp (2g) matcha into a chawan (tea bowl)

Tip: Always sift! Matcha powder is slightly electrostatic, making it naturally clump and stick to the bottom of a matcha bowl Sifting helps break up the clumps and ensures the matcha will whisk evenly into the hot water.
2. Add 2.5oz (70ml) of hot water, about 165°F–170°F.

Tip: Mind your measurements! Matcha is best prepared in a chawan (tea bowl) for better temperature control and ease of whisking.
3. Whisk with a bamboo chasen 15-25 sec until a rich, creamy foam appears.

Tip: Enjoy your bowl of matcha just after whisking to savor its soft froth and smooth taste.

How is Matcha Made?

True artisanal matcha is made by using granite wheels to stone-grind a shade-grown green tea called tencha into a fine powder.

Tencha
Tencha is harvested just once per year between May and June, and is grown almost exclusively to make matcha. Tencha tea bushes are shaded for 3–5 weeks prior to harvest using a traditional frame-and-thatch technique known as tana, which blocks 70-85% of the sun’s energy from reaching the tea bushes. Shading inhibits photosynthesis in the tea plant, boosting chlorophyll levels and creating a deep green leaf color. The tea bush draws up nutrients stored in its roots and grows wide, thin, tender tea leaves in a struggle to gather more light. These plant adaptations all result in boosted levels of natural plant sugars, amino acids and caffeine, along with decreased levels of catechins, giving high quality matcha its distinctively sweet, umami-rich flavor with a creamy texture and low bitterness. While common, mass-market grades of tencha are harvested by machine, the best grades of tencha with the most tender, sweet flavor are harvested by scissor or hand-plucking.

Granite Stone-Milling
The highest quality matchas are milled using traditional granite stone wheels. Stone-milling tencha into matcha results in a richer, smoother, creamier matcha than the more common ball-milling technique. The speed at which tencha is stone-ground plays an important role in the flavor and color of the finished matcha powder. Slower grinding speeds reduce the friction and heat applied to the tencha leaf, helping preserve its vivid green color and fresh flavor, whereas faster grinding speeds can “toast’ the tencha leaf and cause its bright color to fade to a greenish yellow.
How is Matcha Tea Made?
*Matcha grinder (ishi-utu) courtesy of The Hoshino tea Museum