碾茶を抹茶にする最終工程

碾茶を抹茶にする最終工程

今回は碾茶(荒茶)を仕立てていよいよ抹茶にしていく工程をご紹介します。

お茶問屋さんは碾茶工場から碾茶を引き取り、葉を揃えるために廻し篩という機械で切断します。

その後唐箕にかけて茎や葉脈を外し、火入れをして2日ほど乾燥させます。最終的には96〜97%の水分を飛ばし、仕立て葉が完成します。

仕立て葉を茶臼で挽いていよいよ最終段階の抹茶にしていきます。この作業は空気に触れて香りが飛ばないよう、専用の挽茶室で行います。 茶臼は直径が30〜35cmほどで、1分間に50〜60回転させます。回転は速すぎても遅すぎてもダメなのだそうです。また、葉は品質の良いものほど軽いので挽くのに時間がかかり、石臼は厚いほうがきめ細やかに挽けるとのことです。機械臼では1時間に約30〜40gの抹茶を挽くことができます。茶臼室からは挽きたての抹茶の良い香りが漂っていました。

以上3回にわたり抹茶になる工程をご紹介しました。このような工程を経てようやく抹茶が完成するのです!

 

This time, I will introduce the process of preparing tencha (coarse tea) and finally turning it into matcha.

Tea merchants receive tencha from the tencha factory and use a machine called a rotating sieve to cut and align the leaves. Then, the leaves are placed in a sieve basket called "Toumi" to remove stems and veins and undergo a process of "hiire" (firing) for about two days to dry. Ultimately, the leaves are dried to remove about 96-97% of their moisture, completing the tencha.

The prepared leaves are ground in a stone mill to finally produce matcha. This process is carried out in a dedicated grinding room to prevent the fragrance from dissipating upon contact with air.

The stone mill has a diameter of about 30-35cm, and it is rotated 50-60 times per minute. The rotation speed must not be too fast or too slow. Additionally, higher-quality leaves are lighter and take more time to grind, and a thicker grinding stone produces a finer result. With a machine mill, it is possible to grind approximately 30-40g of matcha per hour. The grinding room emitted a pleasant aroma of freshly ground matcha.

I have introduced the process that takes place three times to produce matcha. Only after going through these steps, matcha is finally completed!

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