Matcha is a variety of fine, powdered green tea used particularly in the Japanese tea ceremony, as well as to flavour and dye foods such as mochi and soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of wagashi (Japanese confectionery). The most famous matcha-producing regions are Uji in Kyoto, Nishio in Aichi, Shizuoka, and northern Kyushu.
Matcha is generally expensive compared to other forms of tea, although its price depends on its quality. Only the finest tea buds are hand picked, and it can take upwards of one hour to grind 30 grams of Matcha. Matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves also used to make Gyokuro, unlike other forms of powdered tea, such as powdered Sencha.
Powdered tea, stored and traded as tea bricks, was invented in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Preparation and consumption of powdered tea was formed into a ritual by Zen (Chan) Buddhists. 
Zen Buddhism, and powdered tea along with it, Japan in 1191 by the monk Eisai. Powdered tea was slowly forgotten in China, but in to be an important item at Zen monasteries, and became highly appreciated by others in the upper echelons of society during the 14th through 16th centuries. Along with this development, tea plantation owners in Uji perfected techniques for producing excellent tea for matcha. The cultural activity called the Japanese tea ceremony centers around the preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha. The 16th century tea master Sen no Rikyu is regarded as the person who perfected this cultural activity. The kind of Japanese tea ceremony that he conceived is called wabi-cha or sōan-cha.