Unveiling the Mysteries of Matcha: First Harvest vs. Later Harvests

March 22, 2024

Welcome to the world of matcha, where the vibrant hues and delicate flavors of this finely ground green tea powder enchant tea enthusiasts and novices alike. As you navigate through the offerings at DaigyoTea, you might have encountered terms like “first harvest” and “later harvest” matcha. But what do these terms mean, and how do they influence the taste and quality of your matcha? Let’s delve into the nuances of matcha harvests to help you make an informed decision for your next purchase.

Understanding Matcha Harvests
Matcha is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis plants, grown under shade to boost chlorophyll levels and amino acids, which contribute to the tea’s unique flavor and vibrant green color. The harvesting of matcha is a meticulous process, and the timing plays a crucial role in defining the tea’s quality.

First Harvest Matcha
The first harvest of matcha, occurs in early spring, typically in late April to early May, depending on the region. These first-picked tea leaves are the youngest and most tender, having been shielded from direct sunlight for about three weeks before harvest. This process enhances their flavor profile and nutritional content.

Taste and Quality
First harvest matcha is renowned for its superior quality and exquisite flavor. It boasts a brilliant green color, a smoother texture, and a more delicate taste compared to later harvests. The flavor profile is rich in umami, with a perfect balance of sweetness and a subtle hint of bitterness. This premium matcha is often reserved for ceremonial purposes, reflecting its top-tier status.

Later Harvests Matcha
Following the first harvest, later harvests can occur throughout the summer and sometimes into the early fall. These subsequent pickings involve leaves that are older and have been exposed to more sunlight, which affects their biochemical makeup.

Taste and Quality
Later harvest matcha tends to have a bolder, more astringent flavor with a slight increase in bitterness. The color might lean towards a darker green or even have a yellowish tint, and the texture can be slightly coarser than its first harvest counterpart. While still enjoyable, later harvest matcha is often used for culinary purposes, such as baking, cooking, and making lattes, where its stronger flavor can complement other ingredients.

Making the Right Choice
When selecting matcha, consider what you’re looking for in your tea experience. If you desire a matcha that’s smooth, with a rich umami flavor and minimal bitterness, first harvest matcha is an excellent choice, especially for traditional tea ceremonies or sipping straight. On the other hand, if you’re experimenting with matcha-infused recipes or prefer a tea with a robust flavor, later harvest matcha could be a better fit for your needs.

Both first harvest and later harvest matcha have their unique charm and applications. By understanding the differences between them, you can better appreciate the artistry and tradition behind this exquisite Japanese tea. Whether you’re a matcha aficionado or a curious newcomer, exploring the various harvests can deepen your appreciation for the complexity and versatility of matcha.

We invite you to browse our selection of first and later harvest matcha Daigyotea. Here, you’ll find a curated collection of the finest matcha, suited for every taste and occasion. Embrace the journey into the heart of matcha culture, and let the vibrant world of green tea unfold before you.


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