Why Is Matcha More Highly-Priced Than Other Types of Green Tea
Matchas' rise in popularity has prices set by various methods of cultivation and production.
These factors determine price structures. Top Ceremonial Grade Matcha comes from the tea plant's select top two leaves and a bud. Production is limited by availability and harvesting occurring just once a year, adding to its scarcity. Quality matcha is limited by a two month harvesting period compared to several harvests producing other types of matcha teas.
Moreover, the quantity of the leaf needed to make matcha is considerably higher than required to produce an equivalent amount of green tea. It takes approximately six kilograms of the green tea leaf to make just one kilogram of matcha. In contrast, it takes just four kilograms of the fresh tea leaf to produce an equivalent amount of regular green tea.
The traditional cultivation and processing methods used to make matcha have gone unchanged for over 800 years. Many producers, however, have shifted their harvesting practices toward more economical means. Nowadays, matcha is harvested mainly by modern machinery, which significantly improves efficiency. A traditional granite stone mill producing just forty grams of matcha powder in each hour can't compete with large volume manufacture.
Hand-made matcha is a labour-intensive process; however, it is considerably superior in quality. In contrast, when machine-harvested matcha can be produced in higher volumes, that effectively mitigate costs. Regardless of how the matcha is ground, the faster the process, the more the tencha is inclined to burn and consequently be dull in colour and bitter to taste.