Shade is the secret.
Across hundreds of years of trial and error, Japanese masters discerned that to obtain the highest-grade ceremonial matcha – koicha – the tencha tea bushes must be shaded from the sun for final 20-30 days prior to harvest.
This protection from direct sunlight increases chlorophyll by restricting photosynthesis in the leaves – photosynthesis converts chlorophyll from light into energy. Increasing green chlorophyll pigment alters the balance of caffeine, sugars, and flavanols in each leaf. Similarly, restricting photosynthesis increases L-Theanine, which adds the unique vegetal flavor, beneficially transforms the effects of caffeine and relaxes the body while still engendering an alert mind.