OMGTEA Meets its Matcha – Our Trip to Japan
As matcha specialists (we don’t do any other teas) OMGTEA have developed a range of matcha to cater for different budgets and styles.
We source OMGTEA from most respected and reputable matcha supplier in Japan who have won many awards for their high standards of organic matcha farming and production.
Our aim is to make matcha as mainstream in the west as it is in Japan. More and more people have started switching from coffee to matcha as the word about its fantastic health benefits and the natural energy it delivers spreads and we believe within the next few years’ people will be ordering an OMGTEA as opposed to their usual coffee/caffeine tipple.
The Story Behind OMGTEA
OMGTEA was founded by Katherine Swift. Katherine discovered matcha’s incredible health benefits when her mum was diagnosed with breast cancer & whilst she was working for a leading breast cancer charity. OMGTEA has an abundance of EGCG which has been shown in clinical and scientific studies to help prevent & fight age related diseases/decline. Katherine’s personal story is what makes OMGTEA truly unique among matcha brands.
OMGTEA is working with UK leading medical professionals at Manchester University* conducting scientific trials which leave no doubt as to its superior health benefits for ageing and age related diseases.
The University of Chichester** are also testing OMGTEA in relation to fat oxidation to show how OMGTEA enhances healthy weight loss.
A percentage of OMGTEA’s profits have been pledged to The Healthy Life Foundation, a charity that has been founded by Katherine Swift that funds research into ageing.
*The Manchester Centre for Cellular Metabolism at Manchester University
**Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Chichester
Not all matcha’s are created equal, so what is the difference?
When it comes to buying matcha it’s really important to recognise the real differences between a quality matcha and one that just isn’t up to scratch.
You may think that a matcha labelled as “Ceremonial Grade” versus one labelled “Cooking Grade” or “Culinary Grade” will ensure you are buying good quality matcha, Yes? Actually NO! Put simply it’s the taste and the colour. Higher quality grades have a sweeter, smoother taste and are a more vibrant green. On the other hand, lower grade matcha’s tend to be more bitter to taste, can be gritty and have are less vibrant green colour. Taking the time to research your matcha means you will hopefully choose well.
Tracing OMGTEA’s Matcha roots
At OMGTEA we think it’s critical to know exactly what we’re drinking. We want to know where it came from, who has grown it and what journey its taken from the tea field to our cup. There are two major regions in Japan in which matcha is cultivated, one is Nishio and the other one is Uji. OMGTEA’s matcha comes from Nishio where the Japanese have been cultivating tea since the 1200’s. Nishio’s stable climate, fresh waters and fertile soil means its tea leaves are more resiliently grown, are extremely green and packed full of nutrients – more so than those found in any other regions of Japan.
Nishio is a key region for organic cultivation as it is located 600m above sea level providing a cooler climate. These lower temperatures provide a natural barrier against insects. This is obviously very important as organic production does not use any pesticides. The matcha farmers in this region are considered among the best in Japan for organic cultivation.
OMGTEA Meets its Matcha – Our Trip to Japan
Following OMGTEA from leaf to tin in Nishio.
To find out more about how OMGTEA’s matcha is cultivated we travelled to Japan this May to immerse ourselves in all that is Matcha.
Japanese Zen Buddhist monks have been using matcha for over 800 years when they discovered it enhanced their meditation. For centuries matcha was reserved exclusively for Japan’s royalty and religious elite but nowadays, in addition to being an important part of the cultural heritage, matcha is used by the Japanese on a daily basis as a drink and as an ingredient, we even found matcha flavoured Kit Kats and Häagen-Dazs.
After soaking up the sights in the world’s most populous metropolis, Tokyo, we head down to Nishio on the ‘Shinkansen’ bullet train.
Our first stop is to visit the tea plantations. On arriving at a small tea field we are introduced to one of the local farmers and are quite taken aback to learn that he has been farming here for 47 years and at 67 looks much much younger than his years, he says this is due to the matcha he consumes every day. In fact, he informs us that he only drinks matcha, no coffee at all, because he believes it’s the purest thing to drink.
Our tea company has an exclusive contract with this farmer and the factory is within metres of the tea plantation so the leaves can be taken straight from the field and into production.
Our next stop is the factory where we watch the tea leaves being steamed, air dried and roasted.
At the end of the production line we are greeted by Mitsuhiro Sugita the company’s professional tea taster, who has dedicated his 40-year career to matcha. Mr Sugita explains the art of tea tasting which he says is very like wine tasting, where one must sip in a small mouthful, while breathing in air to get the full taste of the tea. He decides on quality, price and use of all the tea leaves that pass through the factory. All of our tea will pass his nose, his hands and his palate and only the leaves he believes are good enough will be turned into matcha.
Our next stop is to the other part of the factory to watch the final stage of production, an intensive process where the leaves are ground into a fine powder using traditional Japanese granite stone mills.
It takes 1 hour to grind just 40g of matcha, and we are told if the stone mills worked any faster the leaves would burn this also allows the leaves to retain chlorophyll. The grinding itself is done in a cleanroom in which the temperature and humidity are kept constant.
All that’s left to do now is vacuum pack it and ship it to OMGTEA HQ for our lovely customers to enjoy!
Some drink matcha simply to ease stress; some to help them across the finish line; some to aid meditation and others just to relax, contemplate and enjoy.
If you’re new to OMGTEA take a few minutes to explore our website www.omgteas.co.uk to find out more about this amazing superfood and if you’re a seasoned connoisseur we are sure you’ll enjoy our line-up of high-quality matcha products.
It’s a crazy but amazing world out there and we believe OMGTEA helps us experience, feel and appreciate it better — there is nothing else like it. Enjoy! Why not see how the benefits of Match Green Tea can bring to your life and buy some today.
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