How to Grow a Matcha Plant
Matcha tea powder is popular in Japan. The traditional Japanese tea ceremony centers around drinking matcha tea. The tea is popular in the United States for its health benefits and is known for its sweet flavor. After matcha is harvested, the matcha leaves are laid out flat and dried. The leaves are then de-viened, de-stemmed and stone ground into a fine powder. The process is quite time-consuming, and it can take an hour to grind 30 grams of matcha. Matcha is typically sold in its powdered form, but you can grow a matcha plant and complete the process yourself.
Choose a place to plant your matcha. The plant will eventually grow into a bush around 5 feet in diameter, so choose a location that is at least 12 feet away from other plants. Select a location where the plant will receive full sun.
Dig a hole for your matcha plant. The hole should be at least three times as wide and three times as deep as the matcha container.
Plant your matcha tea plant in sandy soil. You can grow the plant from seed as well, but it will take an additional two years for the plant to reach maturity.
Add a few inches of mulch around the matcha plant. Matcha plants require moist soil and mulch will help maintain the moisture of the soil.
Add fertilizer to the soil when you initially plant and no more than once every six months after that. Too much fertilizer can lead to root rot.
Four weeks before harvesting, begin to shade your plant. Traditional matcha tea production calls for the plant to be shaded by bamboo mats or vinyl sheets. By cutting off sunlight from the plant, the tea leaves retain more amino acids, and the plant is left with softer buds.
Harvest your plant leaves. Traditional matcha harvesting is performed once a year at the beginning of May. Harvest only the youngest leaves and buds, typically the three terminal leaves and the terminal bud.
Based in San Diego, Calif., Madison Garcia is a writer specializing in business topics. Garcia received her Master of Science in accountancy from San Diego State University.