Powdered tea was the preferred form of green tea consumption by the ancient Chinese during circa 960 AD. Tea was dried and formed together into tight bricks then grinded into fine powder form before hot water was added. It was Eisai, a Japanese monk studying in China, that brought back the practices and techniques to Japan in 1191. Leaf tea became the norm in China in 1391.
Today, Japanese Matcha (Mat: powder; Cha: tea) is one of the ultimate forms of powdered green tea. Japanese farmers took Chinese practices to masterful levels to create supreme Matcha. The primary techniques are continuous artificial shading and nitrogen fertilizers. The monks have found out that shading created deeper colours, sweeter taste, and more caffeine production; while nitrogen fertilizers helped the tea bush grow with minimal sunlight.
Unlike Japanese Matcha, Korean Malcha (Mal: powder; Cha: tea) created in Jirisan, does not include any of the human involvements mentioned above. Shading is dependent on natural shadows caused by the mountain, and no fertilizers are used, creating an organic product. This in return creates green tea powder that is paler in colour, less caffeinated, and more bitter in taste.
Now that may not sound so peachy for many, but it is perhaps the polar opposite of human engineered powdered tea. Korean Malcha boasts a natural flavour that reflects true to its environment: raw and rugged taste with layers of sophisticated deep flavour.