In Part 1, we talked about what makes matcha so special, so if you missed it, be sure to check it out. Matcha is the tea that is traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies, and it has become popular in tea shops, but also as an enhancement added to smoothies and other foods.
There is an elaborate ritual associated with making it for a traditional tea ceremony, but making matcha is also something you can do at home, with a few simple tools.
Start With Quality Matcha
There are three different grades of matcha on the market, and for brewing up a cup to drink straight up, you’ll want ceremonial grade. For mixing in a smoothie or making a latte, you don’t have to be as particular about the grade, and standard or food grade matcha will be fine.
The color of the powder should be a rich green. If it is yellow or brownish, it is of low quality, old, or hasn’t been stored properly. Matcha is very light-sensitive, must be stored in an air-tight tin that does not allow light to come through or its flavor and nutritional benefits will be drastically reduced.
A Few Special Tools Are Traditional
There are a few traditional implements that will make brewing matcha easier and give you a more traditional result and enhance the experience of both making and drinking your matcha, but you can substitute common kitchen tools if necessary.
Matcha is measured with a special bamboo scoop called a “chashaku” that is sized to pick up about half a teaspoon of matcha, and most people use one to two teaspoons per serving. The tea is made in a bowl with a flat bottom and straight sides, called a “chawan” to allow for proper mixing.
The tea is whisked with a short, wide bamboo whisk called a “chasen,” which has about 80 or so thin tines that curve in at the ends.
A Simple Version of Matcha
Boil at least twice as much water as you will need, and start by filling the chawan about a third full and set the whisk in it to moisten. Set the remaining water aside, off the heat as the temperature needs to come down. When the bowl is warm, pour out the water and dry it with a cotton towel.
You won’t need to use a tea infuser for brewing matcha, but a stainless steel food strainer is perfect for the next step of making matcha at home. Holding a small fine mesh strainer over the warmed chawan, measure the matcha into it and sift the dry powder to remove any lumps.
Pour in a small amount of water and blend the powder into a paste, then add two to three ounces of water that has cooled to about 175 degrees Fahrenheit and mix swiftly with the chasen. The tines should be just above the bowl bottom, and mixing should be a zig-zag across the bowl, not circular. When it is well mixed and bubbles form, lift the chasen and whisk the surface to create a fine froth, not big bubbles.
Enjoy your fresh, hot matcha immediately, before the matcha particles settle out of the solution.
We hope you’ll be inspired to give matcha a try! If you don’t have a high-quality, fine mesh strainer for sifting your matcha powder, buy a set here, and we’ll include a set of stainless steel tea strainers for making regular green tea with your order!