Matcha is shade-grown green tea that has been stone-ground into a fine powder. High grade matcha has a deep, malty aroma with a subtle underlying sweetness, a vivid green colour and when prepared in the traditional style has a rich and velvety texture.
The traditional method for preparing matcha may seem complicated at first but it’s actually really simple once you’ve done it a couple of times. It’s also fairly adaptable to your own taste. It basically involves sifting the powder, then whisking with a small amount of warm water until a creamy froth appears. Water that is too hot releases tannins that will produce bitterness so if you used boiled water, give it a few minutes to cool before using.
The ratio of powder to water can vary. Traditionally there are two ways: The first is very strong and thick – like the consistency of honey – and is made by mixing 1tsp of matcha with 1.5 shots (40ml) of hot water. This is known as koicha.
The second way is much thinner and weaker, with a 1/2tsp of matcha being mixed with around 2.5 shots (75ml) hot water – basically doubling the liquid and halving the powder of the first method. This is known as usucha.
Everyone has their own taste though and you’ll quickly determine what works for you without the need for precise measurements.
The matcha ceremony also involves specific tools: a Chasen bamboo whisk; a Chawan – ceramic bowl that is wide enough to whisk in but small enough to drink from; a Chasaku bamboo scoop and a sieve. These traditional tools are lovely but you can definitely achieve the same result with a stainless steel whisk and other things you probably have in your kitchen right now.
1tsp Ceremonial Grade Matcha
40ml warm water
1/2 tsp Ceremonial Grade Matcha
75ml warm water
Pass the matcha though the sieve into the bowl.
Add water and whisk until a thick crema appears.