Your Questions Answered - Hyperpremium
Mainly because the farmers and processors care so much; their processes take longer, require more steps, and are just harder. They’re pretty obsessed with producing Japan’s tastiest and healthiest matcha, and we don’t mind paying them well for the extraordinary product they produce. Rarity comes into it as well -- some blends, especially the named blends (Kamakura, Rikyu, Jizo, Hikari, Satoshi, and Daphne) have extremely limited production. These teas are hard to produce.
No. No sugar, additives, or any other nonsense. It’s 100% extraordinary green tea leaves, ground up into a fine powder.
Location on the tea plant, mainly. Hyperpremium is the baby leaves; we only use the newest growth. Imagine baby vegetables, baby herbs, microgreens. They haven’t had much time to develop much molecular complexity, so there are no bitter or astringent notes, just clean, chlorophyll-packed umami.
Leaves used for coldbrew are slightly older, and have a little more biocomplexity to them. That complexity does add some bitterness and astringency, but it’s undetectable when prepared with ice water, so it tastes rich and creamy. Yields are tiny for the hyperpremium, and yields are bigger with coldbrew (the leaves themselves weigh more, and are larger, hence bigger yields).
This term has lost most of its meaning. Because there is no governing body of any type that monitors/controls what can be labeled ceremonial, anyone can -- and does -- use this moniker to connote quality, even though much of the “ceremonial” matcha on the marketplace is in fact barely culinary -- much of it could be better described as “industrial.”
Moreover, many tea ceremonies in Japan notoriously serve sub-par matcha. In the end, many of the ceremonies aren’t really about tea at all, they’re about choreography and pedigree. Sometimes the teas are tasty, but more often they’re oxidized and bitter and astringent; hallmarks of culinary (or worse) matcha.
Some people insist on organic (generally for good reasons), so we searched hard for years and finally found what we feel is the tastiest and best organic matcha in the domestic Japanese market. However, our conventionally grown matcha is utterly safe, and it tends to taste better because its umami/amino acid structure is more pronounced.