What is Organic Matcha?
All matcha tea comes from the same plant, but not all matcha tea is made the same.
Matcha, like all teas, comes from the leaf of the camelia sinensis plant but the leaf-to-cup journey of matcha is not the same. How your cup of matcha came to be might make a difference to your brand preference. If you’re drinking matcha and absolutely love the health benefits, you would want to know if your matcha powder is organic or not.
What is organic matcha?
To be able to run an organic matcha tea farm requires out of its farmer an incredible amount of patience and the tenacity to commit to a vision of producing high quality organic matcha that can only be the fruit of and allow us a bit of cheesiness - love. Because it’s not a job just for anyone. To fully appreciate how hard it must be, you need to understand how organic matcha tea is made.
The journey of organic matcha tea starts when at the moment the tea bushes stop receiving synthetic fertilizers and the application natural organic fertilizers such as residuals of seeds and composted leaves begins. Halting chemical fertilization lowers the tea bush’s resistance to pests, bugs and weeds that it necessitates the farmer to painstakingly weed out their plantation by hand, an arduous task especially during the sweltering summer months.
On top of that, there’s the hurdle of getting past yearly certifications and audits because Japan takes its tea very seriously, and for the tea culture to have its roots in Japan then exploding into a billion dollar industry you shouldn’t expect anything less. They’re required to keep records of:
- Purchasing organic;
- Tea farm operation (fertilizing, weeding, harvesting, and so on),
- Control and production outputs,
- Delivery management.
Plus, they have to pass an audit by an organic certification body supported by documentation and inspection. If a farm fails, shipment of all products stop until the problem in cleared up. One matcha farm stacked of a year’s worth of documents and measured a staggering 3 ft! You can say the operation, management and upkeep of an organic farm is a tall order.
Why chose organically grown matcha?
Because growing organic matcha tea has a lot of hurdles, the number of organic matcha growers can be compared to a tree in a forest, or more appropriately, a single leaf in a tea plantation: less than 1% of tea is grown organically. But despite their number, they do exist and are trying to make a niche in the tea market.
Organic matcha farms exist because of the farmers’ belief that matcha grown devoid of the interruption of synthetic materials can yield superior results:
A conventional matcha farm tries to control nature, an organic matcha farm lives together with nature. As the pests and bugs reclaim the bushes, Spiders, lizards, mantis, and ladybugs - their natural enemies, eliminate them and protect the tea leaves from damage. You are sure that an organic matcha farm does not disrupt the nature’s harmony in its location. In short, it’s eco-friendly.
Have you wondered why you’ve seen warnings about drinking too much matcha? That’s because of the lead content in chemical fertilizers to make it taste sweeter.
Drinking matcha means taking in the whole leaf that means you’re ingesting the chemicals it had since it was a tiny leaf. Because organic matcha used natural fertilizers, you won’t be drinking chemical traces any time soon.
In the end, how your matcha is made might not matter to you, but to a farmer somewhere, choosing to drink organic matcha tea might mean the world.