Japanese Tea is Unique
Japanese freshly-harvested leaves are dried naturally, and then kneaded and rolled into various shapes until they are completely dry.
Processing this way stops fresh leaves from oxidation and fermentation. Most Chinese green teas are pan-fried.
This is an efficient method for preventing the oxidation of flavonoids and polyphenols that gives Japanese green tea its unique flavor and health-enhancing properties.
Japan originated shading their plants to make gyokuro
Matcha comes from specially handled gyokuro leaves (tencha). Tencha is stone-ground into a fine powder.
Japanese and Chinese Green Tea Differences
China is the world's largest exporter of green tea by far. Most of the green tea you see in shops and dining establishments comes from China.
In China freshly-harvested leaves are are placed in a large wok and roasted until completely dry. This method lightly oxidizes the leaves.
In Japan the leaves are steamed and set to dry naturally. This results in finished leaves that are a brighter green color with a rich taste and aroma.
Japanese green tea leaves are not oxidized due to the unique cultivation and processing.