Do you need to use a matcha sifter when you prepare matcha tea? At this point, you may have seen our videos where we sift the matcha powder into a bowl before preparing the matcha tea, but is this necessary? In this article, we are going to talk a little bit about the matcha sifter and why you may want to use one. Without further ado, let’s get started.
What is a matcha sifter?
A matcha sifter or furui is the sifter used to make matcha tea. There are certain types of matcha sifters that are specifically designed for sifting matcha powder, but these are not necessary. Any type of metal sifter can be a matcha sifter, as long as it is the right size.
These matcha sifters are also available in plastic as well, as some believe that the metal can negatively affect the flavor of the matcha powder. We like to avoid using plastic wherever possible, so we stick to the metal matcha sifter. Ideally this sifter is small enough to rest on top of the matcha bowl so the powder can be sifted directly into it.
What are the benefits of a matcha sifter?
When you open up a tin of matcha tea, the fine matcha powder is exposed to the humidity in the air. This will immediately cause clumps to form in the matcha powder. This is not a sign of a low quality matcha, nor does it mean that the matcha powder has gone bad. The clumps can however negatively affect the flavor of your tea.
When the matcha clumps are submerged into water, they do not break up completely. This means that the matcha is unable to mix evenly into the water. The tea will take on a more watery taste, rather than a rich creamy flavor. The texture will also become more gritty and unpleasant.
The good news is, you can solve this problem with a simple matcha sifter. By pushing the matcha powder through the matcha sifter, you are able to break up the clumps of powder. When you position the matcha whisk over the matcha bowl and sift the powder properly, you should be left with a fine green powder at the bottom without the clumps.
If you really want to take this a step further, you can start by adding just a tiny bit of water into the matcha powder and mixing it into a paste. When the matcha is in this paste form, it is easier for you to see the clumps as they form and smooth them out. Once you have done this, you can then mix in the rest of the water, whisk it up and enjoy your smoother matcha tea.
Do they use a matcha sifter in the Japanese tea ceremony?
The traditional matcha sifter or furui is used in the Japanese tea ceremony, but you may not see it. The matcha powder is pre sifted before hand before being brought into the tea room with the natsume.
If you ever get a chance to take part in the Japanese tea ceremony, you will notice that the tea master is scooping out finely sifted matcha powder, but you may not see them physically using the matcha sifter. The matcha sifter is nevertheless an important part of the Japanese tea ceremony, and an important tool for making matcha tea.
How to use the matcha sifter
Matcha Sifter Step 1:
place the matcha sifter on top of the matcha bowl or chawan. Most of these matcha sifters should have a lip on the end which will allow it to balance on top of the matcha bowl.
Matcha Sifter Step 2:
Add 2 grams of matcha powder into the sifter. This is the perfect measurement for a bowl of matcha tea.
Matcha Sifter Step 3:
Use a spoon to push the matcha powder through the sifter. This should take under a minute to get all the powder through but the time can vary depending on the amount of powder you are using.
Matcha Sifter Step 4:
After you have a layer of finely sifted powder at the base of the matcha bowl, you can add in the water and start preparing your tea. When it comes to water temperature, we have found that anywhere from 60-80 degrees celsius (140-175 degrees fahrenheit) works well for matcha. If the water is too cold, it will me more difficult to mix and if the water is too hot the tea can become bitter.
When it comes to mixing the tea, the chasen or bamboo matcha whisk is the best tool. No other tool is close when it comes to creating that smooth foam on top of the matcha tea. This foam not only makes the matcha look nice, but it also gives it a lighter texture and taste.
What else can you use the matcha sifter for?
In addition to using the matcha sifter for preparing a bowl of matcha tea, it can also be used for a variety of other creations as well. Just as the clumps can affect the consistency of a bowl of matcha tea, they can also affect baked goods.
Let’s imagine you are baking matcha brownies or matcha cookies. You want to make sure that the matcha powder is mixed evenly into the batter. If the matcha powder is not evenly distributed, some bites will not have much flavor and other bites will taste like nothing but matcha.
By sifting the matcha powder into the batter, you allow it to mix evenly and you really get the most out of the flavor. Anyone who has ever baked before knows that the key is making sure the ingredients are mixed properly. Just as you don’t want lumps of flour or sugar in your matcha cookies, you also don’t want lumps of matcha powder in the cookies.
When you are finished baking your matcha dessert, you are still not done with the matcha sifter! You can also use it to top the desserts in a fine dusting of matcha powder. Just as you would use a regular metal sifter to dust powdered sugar on top of brownies, you can also use the matcha sifter for this. It really can make all the difference in terms of aesthetics, and it can really drive home the matcha flavor.
Using the matcha sifter for matcha food pairings
We used to do a lot of matcha food pairings and we kept using the matcha sifter because it made it easy to add matcha powder to foods. For example, matcha actually pairs quite well with a banana, but it can be messy to dip the banana into the matcha powder or to sprinkle the matcha powder on top of the banana with your fingers. This is where the matcha sifter comes in!
All we had to do was cut up a few slices of banana onto a plate and then we sifted the matcha powder on top of them. This was an easy way to control the quantity of the matcha powder, and make sure there wasn’t too much of a mess.
The matcha powder can also be used to sprinkle matcha powder on top of vanilla ice cream for example, or even a croissant as we tried recently. When it comes to pairing matcha directly with food, it appears that there are 2 methods that work. The first is by using the matcha sifter to sprinkle matcha powder on top of the foods, and the second is to use the koicha.
Koicha is a thick matcha paste made with double the amount of powder and half the amount of water. This is normally drunk plain during special tea ceremonies, but it can also be helpful when it comes to food pairings and matcha lattes. Either way, it is still important that you remove all the clumps from the matcha when you do these food pairings, and the matcha sifter is the perfect tool for that!
Where can I get a matcha sifter?
If you search for a matcha sifter or furui online, you should be able to find a few different options. If possible, try to find one that includes the wire handle and lip so that you can balance it on top of the matcha bowl. You also should look for one that has a relatively fine mesh, because matcha particles are very small and in order to separate them you need a very small mesh sifter.
I hope you have found this guide to be helpful. While the matcha sifter can make a big difference in the overall taste of your matcha tea, if you don’t have one it is no reason to not get started in the world of matcha tea. Matcha can be a fun experience and ritual to enjoy, and we have some great matcha tea sets to help you get started.
With the matcha sampler bundle, you get to try 21 different kinds of matcha tea from all over Japan and you get the matcha bowl, matcha whisk and matcha spoon included. Not only do you get to try different premium matcha tea grown without pesticides, but you also get all the tools you need in order to prepare it. When you order our tea, you are not just helping to support us but also the dozens of talented farmers we have the privilege of working with.