This special lot of imperial grade matcha comes from the Furukawa family farm, stewards of a small plot of land near the Uji River, the historical birthplace of matcha. This land has been passed down through generations, and the family takes great care is to ensure that it will continue to be fertile and productive for generations to come. The tea bushes are only plucked once per year, during Spring time. After harvest season is over, the tea bushes are cut down to knee height, and allowed a full year to grow back.
Theanine, the compound in tea leaves responsible for umami taste, is produced in the roots of the tea plant, then transported to the leaves for storage. When exposed to sunlight however, theanine is converted to an astringent compound. Careful shading of the tea leaves for approximately one month prior to plucking the tea ensures that the tea leaves retain this rich umami flavor, and that leaves also develop a brilliant green color.
The Furukawa family only sells matcha made from hand plucked tender spring buds cultivated in their own gardens. These tea leaves are then steamed, dried, and stone ground at their own factory on site. It takes over 10,000 buds to produce one kilo of matcha. It is rare to find a grower that handles each step of the process from start to finish, but we have a fondness for these artisans as all of our other matcha also comes from a vertically integrated producer in the Nishio prefecture.