FEATURE: “Matcha” popularity sees competition brewing among Japan producers

The growing popularity of “matcha”-infused sweets and beverages sold at cafes and pastry shops in Japan is triggering fierce competition amongst green tea producers in their own backyard.

Growers of “tencha,” the green tea leaves grown in particular conditions and processed into the finely ground tea powder used to flavor matcha lattes and an assortment of Japanese confectionery, have intensified production to try to keep up with demand.

Prefectures such as Kagoshima and Shizuoka, which traditionally have mass-produced varieties of tea leaves for Japan’s most popular green tea called “sencha,” have expanded their production, while growers in Kyoto, famous for its matcha “Uji tea” brand, are distributing new matcha varieties more widely.

Photo taken in July 2021 shows buyers selecting tencha tea leaves, the raw ingredient for making matcha, at the Japan Agriculture Cooperatives’ tea market auction site in Joyo, Kyoto Prefecture. (Kyodo)

Source: FEATURE: “Matcha” popularity sees competition brewing among Japan producers