Uji was a famous area for making tea. The soil was rich with nutrition and the weather conditions were very good, thus the area was well-suited for making tea.
A great monk who traveled to China brought and presented tea seeds to the monks in Uji. It was there that green tea started being made. Until the Edo Period, tea was only offered to the upper samurai class.
Tea has been grown in Uji for over 500 years.
Tea made in Uji has a high quality image attached to it (even in Japan).
Ujicha was made in the nature-blessed Harima Garden. The tea was made using only manure and no pesticides, which is natural, healthy, and safe.
This old way of making was not only popular with workers in Japan, but also with those overseas. True Ujicha is bright yellow and almost transparent, has a thin yet rich flavor, a fresh smell, and one can feel the sweetness as it pleasantly passes through the throat.
The matcha is carefully grown in the garden and only the finest leaves are picked and the finest materials are used.
The process involves removing the stalks and veins from the leaves and crushing them into a fine powder to make Ujicha.
Harima Garden's beautiful, tasty matcha can be used in several ways, such as in the thin tea from tea ceremonies, in cookies and cakes, or just simply-mixed tea. It's also popular with health and beauty-conscious European customers and has received recognition internationally.
The matcha at Harima Garden is carefully grown and they produce "Tencha", which takes a very long time to make. Tencha is the main leaf used to make matcha. The leaves start sprouting around the start of April to May. They are kept protected from the strong, daily sunlight by the late spring frost covering them.
Since leaves are kept out of the sunlight, the leaves are thinner and softer so the harshness decreases while the flavor increases. These are the best-suited leaves for matcha.
After being picked, the leaves are then steamed using a special furnace and dried. This makes them into Tencha. The stems and veins of the leaves are then removed, the leaves are cut into 5mm pieces, and they are then carefully grinded into a fine powder using a stone mill making the final product that is Ujicha. Due to no heat being added and the leaves being carefully grinded on the mill, one hour's worth of work only produces a few grams. Having no heat also prevents discoloration.
Since the process takes a long time, is hard to do, and only a few dozen grams can be made in an hour, high grade matcha is very scarce.