The unstoppable rise of matcha
Matcha is a special form of powdered green tea that comes from the same plant as regular, whole leaf green tea. The difference between matcha and green tea lies in the unusual cultivation and processing methods, making it the king of greens.
Where does Pukka’s matcha come from?
Our matcha is grown on an organic farm on a beautiful volcanic island off the coast of South Korea. The island is called Jeju-Do. So the Korean name for our matcha, Jejo do Garucha, translates as ‘Jeju Island powder tea’. In 2007 Jeju-Do was named a World Heritage Site in recognition of the importance of its stunning landscape, a unique mix of mountains, waterfalls and cave systems, carved out of millions of years of volcanic activity which is a fitting location for the cultivation of our most precious tea.
How is matcha harvested and processed?
To produce matcha tea only the most tender fresh leaf tips are harvested. Unlike our other green teas, which are hand-picked into baskets, our matcha is harvested using a super hi-tech tractor that has been designed to move up and down the rows of tea delicately plucking leaves with rotating fingers. This ensures a consistent size and quality, and minimises the time between harvesting and processing which is an essential part of capturing the vibrant properties of the freshly harvested leaf.
The first step in processing is to steam the leaves to prevent oxidation. They are then air-dried and crushed into a uniform size before being put through a hi-tech colour sorter. This incredible laser machine separates leaves based on their colour, rejecting anything that is outside of a specified spectrum of deep iridescent green.
The final step in processing is to grind the leaves into a fine powder, removing any remaining fibres such as stems and veins from the leaves. Traditionally this is done by hand in stone mills. Nowadays it is usually done by machine; our supplier uses a stone vortex mill, which spins the leaves with cold air against the stone sides, separating fibres from the leaf and leaving behind only the finest quality matcha powder.
Make mine an organic matcha
At Pukka we believe it is important to ensure your matcha and your green tea (and black teas for that matter) are organic. Every one of our teas is certified organic which means that no artificial chemicals or fertisilisers are used in their production. This creates a tea which is not only better for you, but also better for biodiversity.
So why is matcha so popular?
Matcha’s recent rise in popularity in the West is in part due to a better understanding of its incredible health benefits. Recent research has shown that one cup of matcha has 100 times the antioxidants compared to green tea (and green has about double the levels found in black tea). Matcha also contains various compounds that are associated with improving health, reducing stress and increasing alertness. It’s the perfect brew for our over-stimulated busy world. It is also being used as an alternative to coffee.
Author: Dr Vivien Rolfe
Head of Herbal Research
Viv is a gut physiologist and has recently achieved a Foundation in Herbal Medicine. She leads Pukka’s research programme to explore how herbs can benefit our health and be used to widen healthcare choices. This includes research into herbs for Women’s health and as alternatives to antibiotics. She establishes global research partnerships and enthuses the next generation of scientists through Pukka’s Scholarship Scheme. She is a champion of diversity in science and open access to knowledge.
BSc, PhD, PFHEA
Years of experience:
30+ years in the wellbeing industry and academia
Degree in Physiology University of Sheffield, PhD University of Sheffield, Foundation in Herbalism Heartwood, MBA Entrepreneurship (on-going) Edinburgh Napier University, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Membership of Nutrition Society, Physiological Society, Society for Chemical Industry, and other herbal and botanical groups.