Japanese Green Tea Cultivation
Most Japanese green teas are made from elegantly handled leaves, and much of their quality and rich color is due to their style of processing: steaming immediately after harvesting, then air drying.
This process does much to preserve the flavor, the fragrance, and the beautiful color of Japanese green tea.
Most tea harvested in Japan is sencha. The quality of sencha varies. Quality depends on the tea's origin, the season, and leaf processing techniques that are employed.
Gyokuro leaves are aged for about 3 months. More for some gourmet teas. This produces a tea that is renowned for its smooth delicate taste.
Matcha differs from gyokuro in that the leaves are not rolled at all. After steaming, the leaves are thoroughly dried and veins are removed. This is tencha.
The tencha leaves are ground into a superfine powder, and that powder is what is known as matcha.