How to make matcha foam

Let’s talk about how to make matcha foam. In this article, we’re going to break down why your ceremonial matcha isn’t foaming, and also share with you a few tips on how you can improve your matcha making, and how to make frothy matcha at home. 🍵🍃

What is matcha foam

A well-made matcha tea will naturally form a foam on top of it. This is likely to do with a combination of the saponin content as well as the amino acids.

Some matcha produces more matcha foam than others, and this is considered to be a quality indicator by many matcha drinkers.

 

Why is matcha foam important?

First, let’s briefly discuss why you want the foam on top of your matcha. This foam isn’t just to make the matcha look nice, it also aerates the tea, giving it a smoother texture and a creamier taste. A high quality matcha should almost taste like a latte, even without adding milk or sugar. The foam helps create this effect, by giving it a light and airy consistency. Although we show this matcha foam in a lot of our videos, many people tell us they are not able to recreate it with their own matcha at home, so we wanted to create a small guide to explain what might be going wrong.

Why You Can't Get Your Matcha to Foam - 5 Reasons

 

How to make matcha foam? 

When it comes to how to make matcha foam, there are 5 important things you should be thinking about. After reading this list, you should know how to make frothy matcha yourself with no problems! 

1. Get the right tools

Before you ask how to make matcha foam, make sure you have all the right tools. The most important tool when it comes to making a matcha foam is the matcha whisk, chasen or bamboo whisk. This tool is made out of a single piece of bamboo and the 100 small bristles move through the water quickly to aerate the tea. Compared to a metal whisk, the bamboo whisk creates a lot more foam and it does so much more quietly, making it a better fit for your morning matcha routine. 

2. Buy premium matcha 

If you really want to learn how to make matcha foam like a pro you should buy premium matcha powder. You can actually test the quality of a matcha by how well it foams. High quality matcha that is rich in amino acids, should be easy to foam up, but when you use low quality matcha it can be very difficult to produce a matcha foam. When you go for first harvest, ceremonial grade matcha, not only will you get a better taste from your matcha, but you will also see how to make frothy matcha at home.

3. Sift your powder

How to make matcha foam doesn’t only start with the mixing of the matcha tea, but even the sifting of the powder. When matcha powder is exposed to the humidity in the air, it will begin to form clumps. This does not mean that the matcha is low quality or that it has gone bad, but this does present a problem when it comes to the match foam. 

The key to how to make frothy matcha is making sure the powder is mixed evenly into the water. This can be very difficult when you have a lot of clumps in your matcha, as these won’t mix well in water. The solution is to simply run your matcha powder through a sifter before it goes into the matcha bowl. This will remove the clumps and ensure that you have an easier time mixing the matcha powder in with the water.

4. Use hot water but not boiling water 

One of the mistakes people make when it comes to how to make matcha foam is they use water that is too cold. As we mentioned before, the key to how to make frothy matcha is to mix the powder evenly and well into the water. This is much more difficult when you are using cold water, and the matcha seems to clump up more. To avoid this and get a nice matcha foam, you will want to use warmer water, at about 160-175 degrees fahrenheit. If you use water that is hotter than that, the tea can become more bitter so try to keep it within this range.

5. Try to whisk like a tea master 

The final key step in how to make matcha foam is to whisk the tea the proper way. First, begin by scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure all of the matcha powder is mixed into the bowl. Then you can gently scrape off the bottom of the tea bowl and begin to whisk up the matcha in a quick zigzag motion using rapid wrist movements. Once you learn this technique the question of how to make frothy matcha shouldn’t be a problem anymore!

How to Make Matcha Foam Instructions

1. Take the right quantity of matcha with a Chashaku

First you will want to take two scoops of the chashaku spoon. Like the whisk, this spoon is made out of a single piece of bamboo and it is the perfect tool for preparing matcha tea. If you put as much matcha powder as can fit on a single chashaku spoon, this should come out to about 1 gram of matcha powder. Use two heaping scoops of the chashaku and put it into the sifter, positioned on top of the bowl.

What to do if I don't have a Chashaku? 

If you don’t have a chashaku, you can use a normal spoon but you will need a different method to measure out the powder. You can use 1 teaspoon of matcha powder, which should come out to about 2 grams. If you need a Chashaku, we give them for free in many of our matcha tea sets, so it should be no problem to get one.

2. Break up the clumps with a strainer and put the matcha in a bowl 

This next step is often skipped, but it is very important when it comes to how to make matcha foam. After you have placed 2 grams of matcha powder on top of the sifter, you can use your chashaku or any other spoon to push the powder through. This step should only take a few seconds, and you’ll know you’re done when you have a layer of finely sifted powder at the bottom of the matcha bowl.

What to do if I don't have a strainer? 

Strainers can be easily found online, but if you don’t have one, you can get rid off the clumps another way. First you can add a tiny bit of water to the matcha powder in the bowl, just enough to make it into a paste. When the matcha is in this paste, it will be much easier to find the clumps and smooth them out with your whisk. Once you add the rest of the water it will pretty much be too late, so make sure you take care of them here. This can be a good additional step to do, even if you do have a sifter, as some clumps can form after the water is added to the powder. 

3. Slowly pour cup of not-quite-boiling water into the center of the bowl.

Next it is time to add in the water. Pour in 100ml of 160-175 degree water at the center of the bowl. After all the water has been poured in and the matcha powder and water start to combine, it is time to move on to the next stage.

4. Whisk briskly in an up-and-down motion (like writing the letters M and W)

The whisking motion is key when it comes to how to make matcha foam. Make sure you keep your arm straight and whisk the tea with your wrist in small zigzag motions. Your whisking should form an M or W shape. This motion may feel a bit unfamiliar at first, but you will get used to it overtime. 

Tools that you need to make a frothy matcha 

Before you start learning how to make frothy matcha, you will need to make sure you have the right tools. We have made a list of the tools you might want to consider if you are going to explore how to make matcha foam. 

 

Chashaku  

This is the bamboo matcha scoop. The design may seem simple, but it has a few key features that make it easier to prepare matcha tea. First of all, it has a more vertical design, compared to the horizontal design of most spoons. This makes it easier to scoop out of narrower containers like a matcha tin. The second is that the chashaku is a great measurement tool. All you need is two heaping spoonfuls from the chashaku and you will have the perfect amount of powder to create your matcha tea. 

 

Strainer 

The strainer is another important tool when preparing matcha. There is not a whole lot special about this tool, and you may not even see it in the Japanese tea ceremony, but that is because the powder is presfited. A good matcha foam starts with finely sifted, high quality matcha.

 

Matcha whisk also called chasen

The Japanese word for the bamboo matcha whisk is the Chasen. You can refer to this tool as either the chasen, chasen tea whisk, matcha whisk or bamboo matcha whisk. 

Substitutes if you don't have a whisk 

If you don’t have a bamboo whisk, you can use a metal whisk. The downside is that the whisk will be much noisier and it won’t produce as good of a matcha foam. If you really want to get serious about matcha, it’s recommended you use the bamboo matcha whisk.

 

Matcha Bowl also called Chawan

The matcha bowl is also called the Chawan in Japanese. The word “Cha” means tea and the word “wan” means bowl, making this a very simple name for the clay tea bowl.  

Substitutes if you don't have a bowl 

If you don’t have the official matcha tea bowl, you can simply use whatever bowl you have at home. Ideally, you will want a bowl that has higher sides to make the whisking easier. The clay tea bowl also is made from thicker clay which helps to convey a sense of importance. It also keeps the tea warmer for longer. While the clay matcha bowl is the best tool for matcha, not having one is no excuse to not enjoy great matcha tea, just use whatever you have! 

 

Ceremonial Matcha

The most important thing to have when preparing a bowl of matcha tea is the matcha itself of course. What you want is matcha that is designed to be drunk plain, without milk or sugar. You can find a lot of cheap matcha online that is made for lattes and other recipes, but this matcha tends to be very bitter when you drink it plain. You should go for premium, first harvest ceremonial grade matcha, which will have far less bitterness than the cheap stuff, even when you drink it plain.

 

Hot water 

Of course hot water is also another important ingredient when you are preparing tea. You will ideally want to go for filtered water, so the calcium doesn’t interfere with the taste of the matcha. You want the water to taste as neutral as possible. Also, you can use an electric kettle to heat the water, as this will be quick and easy.

 

5 reasons why you're not able to make matcha foam 

1. Low Quality Matcha

Reason number one is that the matcha you’re using is low quality. We have found that these low quality culinary matchas do not produce as good of a foam. If you plan on making matcha yourself and drinking it plain rather than in a latte, we highly recommend that you pick up some ceremonial grade matcha, otherwise you will notice that it foams a lot less. Within ceremonial grade matcha, some matchas foam better than others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the foamier matchas are higher quality, it just comes down to the saponin content of the tea.

2. Water is too Cool

The second reason your matcha may not be foaming is because the water you’re using is too cool. While matcha can be made in cooler water, it doesn’t mix quite as well. When you pour the cool water into your matcha, you may notice more clumps starting to form, and because these don’t mix as well into the water, it will prevent it from foaming up as well. This is why we recommend to go for a temperature between 160-175 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t want to burn the tea, but you do want to prepare it hot enough to mix in properly. This will make sure that your matcha foams well and also that it tastes better.

3. Not Using Enough Powder

The third reason you might not be able to foam your matcha is that you’re not using enough powder. By using too much water and not enough powder, the matcha becomes too thin and is not able to produce as good of a foam. You want to use about 2 grams of powder or around 1 teaspoon and then about 100ml of water. By concentrating your matcha like this, you not only improve the flavor, you also are able to create more foam on the top.

4. Not Using the Right Tools

The fourth reason you may not create the foam you want is that you are not using the right tools. After testing many different tools, we have found that the best way to whisk your matcha is with the bamboo tea whisk or Chasen. This whisk is carved out of a single piece of bamboo and the 100 bristles move through the water to aerate the tea. Even though this tool has been used for hundreds of years, we still find that it’s one of the best. The metal whisk doesn’t create the right amount of friction through the water, so we found that it doesn’t produce as good of a foam. If you want to get serious about your matcha making skills, we suggest that you get your own bamboo tea whisk.

5. Not Using the Right Technique

The fifth and final reason you make not get foam on top of your matcha is because of the whisking technique. This takes a long time to truly master, but there are a few tips that can help make it a little but easier. First, you’ll want to move very quickly. When you watch the teamasters prepare the tea, they use very fast wrist motions with little arm movement. You’ll also want to move the whisk on the surface of the water in zigzag formations. We’ve found that this is the best motion to create more foam. What I have found helpful is actually practicing with a larger bowl if you have it. This will give you more space for a wider range of motion. When you get better at it, you’ll be able to whisk with less space with only your whisk, but this is a good starting point. If you really don’t want to practice your whisking skills, you can also use a milk frother for making quick matcha foam on those busy mornings. 

Cleaning after matcha foam session

After you are done making your matcha foam, make sure you rinse off your teaware, particularly the chasen matcha whisk. You do not want to put your matcha whisk away dirty, or even put it away damp. Make sure you rinse it with water and then let it sit out to dry before putting it away. Occasionally, you may want to give it a gentle scrub with an old toothbrush. This will let you take out some of the staining, without breaking the fragile bristles.

Conclusion on how to make matcha foam

So let’s review what we learned. First, make sure you get a high quality ceremonial grade matcha and mix 1 teaspoon of powder with 100ml of water between 160-175 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next take your bamboo tea whisk and whisk it very quickly with zigzag motions along the surface of the tea.

If you follow all these steps, you know how to make frothy matcha at home. Thank you all so much for watching, I hope you’ve found this article helpful when it comes to making matcha at home. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. Until then, we’ll see you next time.

 

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