Over the last few years, matcha has recently become a highly established ingredient in the modern Western culinary and beverage world and is now well known globally due to its powerful health benefits. However, this unique blend dates back nearly a thousand years to a time when dynasties ruled China and Shogun clans ruled Japan. Let’s take a look at the beautiful history of matcha and how Atelier Japan’s own Marukyu Koyamaen made its mark in the Japanese tea trade.
Varieties of Tea
When it comes to tea, there are three main categories. Completely oxidized and fermented teas such as black teas, half-oxidized teas known as oolong teas and, most commonly, non-oxidized teas that are green, such as matcha. Most Japanese teas are of the green variety and a lot of effort goes into maintaining the beautiful green colour of the fresh leaf together with all of its health-preserving properties.
In Japan, there are two different methods of tea cultivation, both of which give contrasting results. One method is to let the tea bushes grow and bud without any shade from the sun. This method was originally introduced from China for the growing of leaf tea and is used to produce the most common tea in Japan known as Sencha. The other method of cultivation is to shade the tea bushes completely. This method was originally developed in Japan for the production of finely powdered tea, such as matcha, but later extended to the production of the high-quality Japanese leaf tea known as Gyokuro.
History of Marukyu Koyamaen
In the Genroku period (1688-1704), a man by the name of Kyujiro Koyama began to cultivate and manufacture matcha and tea in the village of Uji and Ogura in Kyoto. His work was the beginning of what was to become the renowned Marukyu Koyamaen. Over the last 400 years, Koyamaen have devoted themselves to producing the highest quality tea generation after generation.
During the following generations, the quality of tea was raised through improvements in all aspects of the cultivation, treatment and production, thus establishing the tradition of Ujicha. The fourth generation of Koyamaen began marketing the matcha and tea, and by the eighth generation, Motojiro, the market had been extended to the whole country. A standard of high quality, consistent from cultivation to the final product, was achieved, and the tea was highly esteemed. It is well known that Marukyu Koyamaen stands for the highest quality standard of tea as well as being one of the oldest established tea manufacturers in Uji; today, they supply their high-quality tea to many prestigious temples, shrines, and tea ceremony houses.
Authentic Flavour and Appraisal
For generations, Marukyu Koyamaen matcha and teas have been carefully inspected and produced by succeeding directors. Through repeated training, honing of skills and techniques, their knowledge of how to produce the finest teas and maintain their quality has been constantly improving. Whilst preserving tradition, Koyamaen promote technologically innovative production techniques. In recent years, Koyamaen have been focusing on developing new products such as their patented Mizutate Ousu in which matcha tea can be made with cold water. Marukyu Koyamaen now ranks among the foremost producers of fine teas in Japan.
Every year, as part of their efforts to improve the quality and consistency of their teas from the growing stage to the final processing, Marukyu Koyamaen submit their tea and matcha for appraisal in competitions. So far, Marukyu Koyamaen has come first in Japan’s National Tea competition twenty one times, first in Kansai’s Regional Tea Competition nine times and first in Japan’s National Tea Tasting Competition twice.
Want to experience the inspiring flavour award-winning, authentic matcha? Marukuyu Koyamaen’s matcha is one of the finest blends that the world had to offer. With its smooth taste and natural flavour, their matcha blend is truly one of a kind. Visit their full collection to discover more award-winning Japanese matcha for a transportive experience like no other. https://www.atelierjapan.co.uk/product-category/koyamaen/matcha/
Want to learn more?
Read all about the health benefits here: https://www.atelierjapan.co.uk/2018/01/08/the-health-benefits-of-matcha/
Fancy getting more inspiration?
Discover how matcha can be your perfect summer drink here: https://www.atelierjapan.co.uk/2018/04/10/matcha-green-tea-the-perfect-summer-drink/