All About Koicha by Japanese Tea Experts

By now you may have seen videos of Koicha all over our instagram and tiktok. You might be asking yourself, “what kind of tea is that?” In this article we’re going to teach you all about it. Koicha actually plays a significant role in the Japanese tea ceremony, it can be loaded with health benefits and it can really help out in recipes for lattes and matcha desserts. We’re going to discuss what koicha is, how to make it and what the be

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What is Koicha?

Koicha is a special type of matcha paste made with half the amount of water and double the amount of powder. Many people ask why we don’t simply say it's made with 4 times the amount of powder, and there is actually a reason for this.

When making a typical serving of usucha or drinking matcha, you use 2 grams of powder and 100ml of water. You then whisk the matcha tea to create this beautiful foam on top.

When it comes to making koicha, you should use 4 grams of powder and 50 milliliters of water. If you were to use 8 grams of powder and 100 milliliters of water, you would end up with a tea that has almost 300 mg of caffeine, which would be far too much. This is why it is important to stick to the guideline of double the amount of powder and half the amount of water, to give yourself a manageable portion of koicha green tea.

How to Make Koicha?

First let’s start off by talking a little bit about how to make koicha. You need to start by getting out your matcha powder. To make koicha tea, you can only use an extremely smooth matcha like the matcha washimine, otherwise it will be extremely bitter. We refer to this matcha as a koicha matcha, meaning that it’s suitable to use for koicha tea.

Benefits of using Koicha Matcha

Step 1: get the ideal Matcha to prepare your Koicha

The matcha washimine comes from the okumidori tea plant, known for having more of a smooth flavor with less bitterness. When you make the matcha in a paste like with koicha green tea, it concentrates the flavor so every hint of bitterness will be magnified. A good koicha matcha like the matcha washimine won’t have much bitterness to it, so even at this high concentration it will stay nice and smooth.

Step 2: sift your Matcha powder

Once you have found a good koicha matcha to use, you can sift 4 grams of powder into the bottom of the matcha bowl. It isn’t quite as important to sift here compared to when you’re drinking usucha, but it still helps when it comes to making better tasting koicha tea.

Step 3: add the water in your Matcha Bowl

After the powder has been sifted in, it’s time to add in the water. You can use 50ml of warm water here, with a recommended temperature of between 140-170 degrees Fahrenheit. Matcha tends to be less sensitive to heat, so you can use anything in between this range.

Step 4: stir the Matcha powder

Once the water has been added, you can begin to stir in the powder. This can be done with the regular matcha whisk, although you can also use a special koicha whisk which has less bristles. The motion of whisking koicha tea is very different from the motion used to whisk regular usucha matcha. When it comes to koicha, you really just have to worry about mixing the powder evenly without clumps.

An important tip here is to make sure that you don’t spread too much of the koicha on the sides of the bowl. Once the thick koicha paste is stuck here, it will be nearly impossible to fully get off. To maximize the amount of koicha tea, make sure you keep it towards the bottom of the bowl.

Step 5: time to drink a smooth Koicha

Once the powder and water have been mixed together well, you can simply pour this matcha paste into a glass or you can even drink it right out of the bowl. This is actually the proper way to consume koicha tea, which we will discuss next.

What is Koicha used for?

Koicha simply means “thick tea” and it’s used during special tea ceremonies. While most Japanese tea ceremonies tourists attend serve usucha or “thin tea”, during special occasions they serve koicha or thick matcha. There is something about drinking such a potent blend of paste that conveys a sense of importance in the tea ceremony.

During the tea ceremony where koicha tea is served, it is recommended that the guest eat something sweet alongside the koicha. This will help to smooth out some of the bitterness, without adding any sweetener to the koicha tea. With Japanese green tea in general, it is discouraged to add any type of sweetener whatsoever. If you find the taste to be a bit too bitter, what you should do instead is eat something sweet like mochi alongside the tea.

There is a long tradition of eating sweets or “wagashi” during the Japanese tea ceremony. This not only acts as a flavor pairing for the tea, but also is a gift presented to the guest by the host, in order to strengthen their bond.

Benefits of Koicha

When you concentrate the matcha powder into a thick koicha paste, you of course are concentrating the health benefits of the tea. As you may know, what makes matcha tea unique is that it is mixed directly into water rather than being infused. This means that you are consuming the entire leaf, all in one drink. Whatever the nutrients are in 1 gram of matcha, you will get 4 times as much in 4 grams of matcha.

That being said, you do need to be careful because it will also contain 4 times the amount of caffeine. A normal cup of matcha tea has a high amount of caffeine as it is, but koicha is even more extreme.

Use of Koicha

There are a few great uses for koicha tea. Because it is so thick and concentrated, it is actually great for certain recipes. Let’s briefly discuss a few things you can use koicha tea for.

Koicha for matcha lattes

When it comes to making matcha lattes, you really want to reduce the amount of water you use, to make the drink more flavorful. You can basically make a koicha matcha milk, by mixing the koicha paste in with some coconut milk or soymilk and then stirring it up. This is much more flavorful than if you were to use regular usucha matcha in your latte, which would taste watered down.

Koicha for food pairings

You may have seen some of our videos where we talk about different matcha food pairings, and in most of them we use koicha paste. The reason for this is that it spreads easily, so you can put it on just about anything. You also avoid choking on the dry powder when you make it into a paste.

We have found particularly good results by dipping a banana into a little bit of the koicha paste and eating it like that. This almost tastes like a dessert!

Koicha for desserts

Koicha matcha is very easy to blend into different recipes. The easiest way to make a matcha ice cream for example is to just mix koicha paste into vanilla ice cream. Green tea ice cream or matcha ice cream can be a really delicious treat, but very hard to find. Making your own matcha ice cream can be challenging, but this method only takes a few seconds!

Where to Buy Koicha Matcha

If you are looking to buy a matcha tea that works great in a koicha, we would recommend the matcha washimine as mentioned before, but also the nakai superior matcha, masudaen superior matcha and the sakamoto sae matcha. These ones are extremely smooth with a light sweetness, perfect for matcha koicha.

I hope this article has given you some great ideas about what to use koicha for. You may find it to be either a meaningful part of a tea ritual, or a simple trick that saves you time in your recipes. Whatever it is to you like to use it for, we’re grateful to you for taking the time to read this article!