Matcha is made from green tea leaves ground into fine powder. But the tea leaves used are no ordinary tea leaves. Only tea leaves grown in covered farm can be used to produce matcha. For ,matcha case, Tencha are used. Bear in mind that only powder made from covered-grown tea leaf can be called "Matcha", while other can only be called "green tea powder". Becareful when you purchase matcha from the store, some seller will label Sencha powder as matcha powder.
Tencha is similar to Gyokuro, Japanese finest green tea. They are grown in covered farm, results in very high amino acid and L-theanine which are the main source of umami (sweetness) of matcha. On the other hand, matcha also has lower astringency because of the covering process reduce the Catechins which is the main source of astringency.
Although matcha is produced with high grade Tencha, but there are different grade of matcha categorized based on the maturity of tea leaf used in processing. Higher grade use younger tea leaf which has the highest sweetness and softest, while lower grade has lower sweetness and higher astringency (stronger taste). Higher grade matcha are suitable for making tea because of its high sweetness, while lower grade matcha are suitable for kitchen use due to stronger taste.
Matcha has lot of health benefits. Most popular benefits are very high in anti-oxidants, prevent cancer, weight loss and help in concentration.
Read about Matcha Benefits.