How to Make a Better Matcha
Making a plain bowl of matcha tea can be a great way to start your morning, but many people say that they just don’t like the flavor. Before you give up on matcha, here are a few tips you might want to try to make a better bowl of matcha tea.
The most important thing when you are making a bowl of matcha is to go for first harvest, ceremonial grade matcha. Latte grade matcha can be great if you are combining the tea with oat milk, but if you are drinking it plain with water, you really want to go for the good stuff. For first time matcha drinkers, we recommend to go for an Okumidori matcha like the noike matcha. While most matcha teas are made from the Yabukita cultivar, this tea can be a little bitter for first time tea drinkers. Thats why we recommend you go for the much smoother, Okumidori cultivar. The Okumidori cultivar tends to be more difficult to produce, so it’s really reserved for premium matcha and Gyokuro. While most Okumidori matchas are quite expensive, we found a small farmer outside of Kyoto that produces a really great one for an affordable price which is perfect for beginners. The Noike matcha is smoother and less bitter than most matchas, while still maintaining a reasonable price tag. This is a great one to start with if you plan on drinking the matcha plain.
The seconds tip when it comes to preparing your bowl of matcha is to sift the powder. This may seem like a small detail, but it can actually make a big difference. Matcha powder is very sensitive to humidity, so as soon as it is opened up it will begin to form these clumps. While these clumps don’t impact the integrity of the matcha, they don’t mix well into the water and it can make the drinking experience less enjoyable. You want the powder to be mixed evenly into the water, so each sip has the same consistency. The easy way to fix this is to just run the powder through a sifter right before you prepare your bowl of tea. This will give you a nice fine powder at the bottom of the bowl and allow you to mix the tea much more easily.
The third tip is to use a higher ratio of matcha powder to water. Just like when you are preparing leaf tea, you want the bowl of matcha to be very concentrated in its flavor. We typically recommend going for 2 grams of powder and 100 ml of water, but you can always add more water later if the taste is too strong. This high ratio of powder to water is also important when it comes to creating the foam on top, but thats something we’ll discuss a bit later. The important thing for now is that you use 2 grams of powder, 100ml of water and a temperature of between 160-175 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that you have a great tasting matcha that doesn’t taste too watered down.
The fourth tip to make a great bowl of matcha is to use the bamboo tea whisk or Chasen. This is the tool used during the Japanese tea ceremony, and although it is hundreds of years old, it still is the best tool for making these beautiful foamy bowls of matcha. The whisk is made out of a single piece of bamboo, and the 100 bristles move through the water to aerate the tea, creating a nice foam on the top. This foam not only makes the tea look nice, it also gives it a smoother and creamier taste. If you don’t have one of these at home, the next best thing is to use a milk frother. If you don’t have either of these tools at home, the last resort is to shake the tea up in a jar to mix it. This does a good job at creating foam, but the downside is the matcha doesn’t mix as easily and it can form clumps that may throw off your drinking experience. It’s best just to get the bamboo tea whisk and start practicing the whisking technique. Once you get good enough, you can invite friends over to host your own tea ceremony.
The fifth and final tip is to whisk your matcha in a bowl. We sometimes see people whisking up their matcha in a glass, but this can be quite difficult because the glass doesn’t allow as much space. The best solution is to whisk your tea in a bowl, you you have plenty of room to whisk the tea in these broader, zigzag motions. If you really want to get serious about matcha tea, you can go for the chawan or tea bowl. This is the clay bowl used in the tea ceremony, and it has a few different benefits. First off, the sides of the bowl are higher, so there’s less of a chance to spill the tea as you’re mixing it. Also, the heavy clay retains heat better, so you can keep your matcha warmer for longer. In the tea ceremony, they will preheat this clay bowl beforehand so it doesn’t take any heat away from the matcha. On a cold day, it can be nice to hold something warm like this while you sip your tea, which is another benefit of the chawan.
I hope you have all enjoyed this article. Hopefully now you have all you need to start recreating your own tea ceremonies at home. If you have any matcha questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. Until then, we’ll see you next time.