It's May already (where does the time go?), which means it's time for the first harvest in Japan!
Back in April, the first new shoots of the season appeared at the tips of the Camellia sinensis tea plant. Shortly after that, matcha plantations were shaded for about 20 days using a large overhead framework of screens. This served to shut out direct sunlight, reducing the rate of photosynthesis which results in high levels of theanine, the amino acid responsible for the full-bodied flavor of matcha.