What is Matcha?
Matcha is a stone-ground green tea, known for its vibrant green powder appearance and complex, earthy, umami taste.
While matcha technically originated in China over 900 years ago, it was popularized in Japan with its traditional tea ceremonies. In recent years, matcha has become a popular coffee alternative across the globe.
The highest quality matcha is now found exclusively in Japan. In fact, its name, “matcha” translates to “rubbed tea” in Japanese.
How do you pronounce Matcha?
The proper way to pronounce matcha is “mah-cha”.
What do you need to make Matcha?
It is best to use a ceremonial-grade matcha when preparing it with just water. Make sure you are buying matcha grown in Japan; good quality matcha is a vibrant green color and is often labeled with the region it was grown in Uji, Aichi, Fukuoka, Shizuoka, or Kagoshima.
This is a bamboo scoop with a curved end used to measure between a third and a half of a teaspoon of matcha powder.
This is a Japanese ceramic tea bowl used to prepare matcha. It is wide and round in shape, often with a flat bottom, providing enough room to whisk the matcha. In traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, the matcha would be made and served in the chawan.
This is a fine-mesh strainer that will help you sift the matcha powder and avoid clumps.
This is a bamboo whisk used to froth the matcha in hot water. The different types vary by the number of tips, the 80-tip being the most common and affordable. However, you can also find more expensive 100-tip or 120-tip chasens that will make getting the matcha to froth easier. A chasen naoshi is a porcelain stand that helps the chasen dry after washing and maintain its shape.
If you are new to matcha and getting your feet wet, you may want to purchase a matcha tea set that comes ready with all of the important items you will need to begin your matcha journey at home!
How do you make Matcha properly?
To make the perfect cup of Matcha, you will want to use 1 teaspoon (or 2 chashaku scoops) of Matcha for each 2-ounce cup.
Step 1: Pour your water into the tea kettle.
You will need 2 ounces or 1/4 cup of water for each serving, plus some extra water to warm your Chawan. Use cold bottled spring water or cold filtered water. (Tea Tip: Do not use distilled water – this will negatively impact the taste). Make sure to pour some extra water to warm up your teapot or steeping vessel.
Step 2: Boil your water.
Bring the water to about 175°F. This is important, as green tea is delicate and will get scorched and become quite bitter if it is mixed with water that is too hot. If you do not have an electric tea kettle with a temperature setting, just bring your kettle to a full boil, then remove it from the heat and let the water sit for a moment before steeping the tea.
Step 3: Warm up your teapot and wet your whisk.
First, pour a bit of your boiled water into your Chawan (tea bowl) and swirl it around for a few seconds to allow it to warm the vessel. Next, dip the tips of the whisk into the water to wet them. Be sure to avoid getting water on the handle. You can then discard this water in the sink and dry the bowl.
Step 4: Scoop out matcha powder with your Chashaku (tea scoop)
You will need 2 scoops (or about one teaspoon) of matcha powder per serving. Use a fine mesh strainer to sift the matcha into your tea bowl to avoid clumping.
Tea tip: when you’re done with the tea scoop, just wipe it down with a dry paper towel — do not wet it to clean! This will warp the bamboo!
Step 5: Add the hot water.
You will need 2oz (or 1/4 cup) of hot water per serving.
Step 6: Whisk the matcha.
Use your chasen to rigorously whisk the matcha using a zig-zagging “Z” motion until the matcha is frothing with little tiny bubbles.
Step 7: Drink and enjoy while it’s hot!
Matcha is meant to be had in the same tea bowl you make it in.
Can you cold brew Matcha?
Yes, you can definitely cold brew Matcha! In fact, cold-brewed matcha is a great way for beginners to introduce themselves to matcha and its flavors.
The best part is you do not need any of the tools you typically need to make hot matcha.
All you need is a high-quality matcha powder, cold filtered water, ice, a cocktail shaker, a jar with a lid, or a water bottle.
Keep reading for the steps to Cold Brewing Matcha at home.
Did you know cold brewing is the best way to make iced tea? To learn all about it, check out our post on everything you need to know about cold brew.
How do you make cold brew Matcha properly?
To cold brew Matcha, use 1 teaspoon of high-quality matcha powder for every 8-ounce cup of water.
STEP 1: Add your cold water, ice, and matcha powder to your cocktail shaker, water bottle, or jar with lid.
STEP 2: Secure the top to your drink container.
STEP 3: Shake vigorously until all of the matcha is dissolved into the water (most likely about 20 seconds).
STEP 4: Pour mixture into a glass and enjoy!
What are the different grades of Matcha?
Labels and grades of Matcha don’t actually exist in Japan; however, tea vendors use a grading system for marketing purposes to show the quality level of the matcha being sold.
This is the highest quality matcha that was traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies. This grade uses younger leaves, providing the consumer with a fresh, delicate taste, super-smooth powder, and a vibrant green color. When you are making traditional matcha mixed with water, it is best to use a high-quality ceremonial-grade matcha made in Japan. The better the quality, the more expensive it will be.
This is a lower-quality, cheaper matcha that often comes from outside of Japan. It typically has a duller color, and a more astringent flavor, making it a better option when you need to use matcha as an ingredient in lattes, desserts, or other matcha-flavored foods.
What does Matcha taste like?
Matcha is known for its complex flavors and umami taste. It is rich, earthy, vegetal, and bittersweet.
Keep in mind that good quality matcha should not be unpleasantly bitter; rather, this may be a sign of low-quality matcha or a drink that has not been prepared properly.
How much caffeine is in Matcha?
Matcha has a higher level of caffeine than other green teas since you are drinking the entire tea leaf that has been ground into a powder, rather than just steeping the leaf and removing it.
The exact amount of caffeine can vary, based on the quality and quantity of the matcha used. However, on average, matcha has more caffeine than coffee, with just a 2-ounce cup of prepared matcha having up to 70mg of caffeine! (Keep in mind the average 8 oz cup of coffee has about 95mg of caffeine.)
However, the caffeine in matcha is slowly released in our bodies and is digested differently than the caffeine found in coffee, thereby preventing a lot of the negative side effects felt by coffee drinkers, such as sudden crashes and jitters.
What are some health benefits of drinking Matcha?
Matcha has many health benefits including being super-rich in antioxidants, heart health, and skin health!
For the full summary, check out our post on the health benefits and possible side effects of Green tea.
What is the best way to store Matcha?
Since Matcha is a ground tea, it is imperative to store it correctly, as the color and flavor will immediately start to degrade with any oxygen exposure.
When it comes to storing Matcha, there are a few other important things you will want to avoid in addition to air exposure. These are light exposure, moisture, heat, and strong odors.
In order to keep your tea in its best and freshest condition, you will want to store it in a container that helps avoid the above-mentioned threats.
The best containers are made of opaque materials with a tight seal. Some good options include non-reactive metals, glazed ceramics, and non-leaching plastics.
Once you have your tea in its storage container, keep it in a cool, dark place. You can keep it at room temperature or you can store it in the refrigerator. Keep in mind, if you store your matcha in the fridge, you should bring it to room temperature before using it to make a drink.
Matcha is best consumed within a few months of opening the package.
You want to ensure your tea stays fresh as long as possible. To make sure you’re not making any common mistakes, be sure to check out our post on the best practices in tea storage!