Matcha is harvested in the beginning of May. The fresh green tea leaves are traditionally plucked by hand — even today. After they have been harvested, the leaves are immediately refined in the Aracha factory (1st refine facility). This refining process is the beginning of a long journey turning the leaves into Matcha powder.
First, the tea leaves are carefully steamed which halts the fermentation, keeping the leaves fresh, and locks in the nutritional components of the tea. Then the leaves are carried through a dryer heated at approx. 180°C / 356°F. The temperature and the time to dry depend on the respective weather condition at the time. After this process, the dried leaves weighs only 20% of its original weight. The tea leaves after this 1st refinement, is called "Aracha," which means "rough tea."