If you are new to the matcha tea revolution and would love to learn the art making a matcha tea bowl like a pro, or if you want to be the go-to person in anything matcha tea and be tagged as a matcha tea connoisseur, you're in the right place!
In celebration of the Japanese culture and its matcha tea ceremonies, we are giving you the how-to's and what to note to be able to achieve an authentic-tasting matcha tea, and enjoy a healthier tea experience.
To be able to properly prepare matcha tea, you should first be able to recognize the subtle distinction between two different consistencies of matcha tea: Usucha (thin matcha) and Koicha (thick matcha).
While usucha is made from the leaves of younger tea bushes, aged 30 years old and below, koicha, on the other hand, is made from the first harvest of tea leaves from trees that are over 30 years old. This ultimately plays a key variable on why these two viscosities of matcha tea have contrasting characteristics. Some even describe the consistency of koicha as that of warm honey, while usucha is close to a macchiato.
Although usucha is comparatively lighter and has more froth than koicha, manytraditional tea drinkers especially those who truly enjoy chanoyu (tea ceremony) prefer the thick matcha tea more as it brings out not only the natural sweetness of the matcha but its distinct umami flavour as well.
While everyone has their own preferences, for those starting their matcha journey we recommend starting with usucha.
What you need to make the perfect bowl of matcha tea
Preparing matcha tea the traditional way requires some specialized equipment. You need to have the right tools in order for you to succeed in creating a lovely green concoction.
Mentioned above are the traditional Japanese matcha utensils to add in your kitchen essentials. Get them and increase your chances of capturing the perfect brew and therefore, enhance your matcha tea experience.
The Brewing Process
It is rather important to decide from the onset which type of matcha tea you want to make. Especially since thick and thin matchas areprepareddifferently. You do not have to get tea lessons or a proper Japanese tea ceremony training to be able to whisk your way to matcha tea success. Below are some basic steps and brewing suggestions on how to create that perfect matcha green tea bowl.
STEP 1:Warm your matcha bowl by filling it with hot water, about 1/3 full. Rinse the tips of your bamboo whisk in the bowl and discard the water. Now, thoroughly dry your bowl with a cloth. Make sure to bring your water to the ideal temperature of 70°C–80°C (158°F–176°F).
(Note: A great way to get your water to the right temperature is to pour some into a container, either a kettle or a cup, and allow it to cool for a minute or 2)
STEP 2: Add 1 -2 scoopfuls of matcha tea powder for usucha, or 3-4 scoops for koicha, and sift it into the warm, dry bowl.
(Note: Sifting will help you score a clump-free matcha tea later on.)
STEP 3: Add in your hot water (70ml/2.3oz for usucha, or 40ml/1.3oz for koicha) into the tea bowl with matcha.
(Note: Make sure your water is in its ideal temperature so as not to make it bitter.)
STEP 4: Pick up the whisk in one hand and hold the rim of the matcha bowl with your other hand. Now begin whisking at a speed of about 2 rotations per second.
For usucha, use your wrist to whisk the matcha back and forth in a ‘W’ motion until the match produces a thick froth with a crema on top.
For koicha, begin whisking in a gentle, circular motion to make a thick, smooth consistency without the froth.
(Note: Whisking the matcha tea well to ensure that all the powder has been incorporated. So stretch up and prepare for some arm workout!)
STEP 5: Drink and enjoy your bowl of matcha tea!
(Note: It is best to drink your matcha right away. Letting it sit will make some of the powder settle at the bottom. Should you get caught in an interesting conversation and happen to forget that you have some matcha tea left, whisk it again or just swirl to dissolve the suspended powder.)
TIPS:Bring in the sweets.
In Japan, small sweet treats are always served during tea ceremonies. The sweetness of the treats balances the tea and lets it settle in your stomach.