Matcha Tea Plantation Grown in Shade

The Secret Shade of Matcha

Unveiling the Magic Behind the Vibrant Green Powder

Here at Wabi, we're passionate about matcha, and a question we often hear is: "Why is matcha shade-grown?" This seemingly simple step in the cultivation process has a profound impact on the final product, creating the vibrant green colour, smooth taste, and unique health benefits we love.

Sun-Shy for Superior Flavour

Imagine a tea plant basking in full sunlight. It undergoes a natural process called photosynthesis, converting sunlight into energy. This process creates catechins, antioxidants with a slightly bitter taste. While essential for health, an abundance of catechins can make the tea taste harsh.

Enter the shade! When matcha plants are covered for several weeks before harvest, they receive less sunlight. This triggers a clever survival mechanism. The plant ramps up chlorophyll production, a pigment that captures the little sunlight available. This not only gives matcha its characteristic rich, deep, green but also creates a sweetness because the plant prioritizes the production of L-theanine, an amino acid with a smooth, umami taste. So, shade essentially creates a perfect balance between bitterness and sweetness, resulting in matcha's delightful complexity.

Beyond the Flavour Profile

The shade doesn't just stop at taste. Reduced sunlight also leads to higher levels of antioxidants in matcha, particularly the superstar EGCG. This powerhouse compound boasts numerous health benefits.

A Labour of Love

Shade-growing matcha is a meticulous process. Here at Wabi, we source our matcha from farms in Japan that use traditional methods. These methods involve carefully covering the tea bushes with woven mats or screens weeks before harvest. It's a testament to the dedication of matcha farmers that this extra step elevates the final product to such a high standard.

So, the next time you sip your matcha, remember the transformative power of shade. It's a testament to both the science of nature and the passionate artistry of matcha cultivation. Now that you know the secret, enjoy your matcha with an even greater appreciation!

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