Things You Should Know About Matcha Preparation
The tips you need to prepare the best matcha of your life
1. The matcha whisk, known as ‘chasen’, is made usually out of white bamboo, but other types of bamboo whisks are also common. Whisking is an essential step that can’t be substituted by a spoon as only whisking can create the foam in matcha. Using the whisk ensures better taste, consistency and texture. Also note that the more bristles the whisk has, the better the foam. In the traditional matcha ceremony, the whisk is only ever used once and then thrown away.
2. If you’re thinking of using an electric frothers for foaming matcha, just know that it with it can’t compete with a chasen. It can’t create the rich fine froth of whisking by hand.
3. Keep your whisk in good shape by storing it in a ‘kusenaoshi’ or a whisk keeper. Although the lack of it doesn’t prevent you from making a good bowl of matcha, it will help in prolonging the life of your whisk. After multiple preparations, the whisk will eventually lose its shape. Place the whisk in the whisk keeper to regain its curved shape.
4. There’s a special spoon used in matcha preparation called ‘chashaku’. A single scoop is equivalent to 1 teaspoon scoop.
5. Do you know that here are two ways of preparing matcha? Usucha, the standard ‘thin’ one; and koicha, the ‘thick’ and strong one for the traditional tea ceremony. Aside from the consistency, a bowl of usucha has a rich foamy layers the top that koicha does not.
To prepare usucha:
- Sift the matcha powder for a more mellow flavor and to remove any lumps.
- Place 1 teaspoon of Matcha (2g) into the bowl.
- Pour 70ml ( 2.36fl oz) of hot water. Keep the water temperature at 176F (80C).
- Using the bamboo whisk, whisk the Matcha like writing a letter ‘W’, not in circular motion. Wait until it has a rich foam on top.
- It is best drink immediately or within 3 minutes of preparation. Letting it stand longer and the foam will vanish and matcha particles will settle at the bottom of the bowl.
To prepare koicha:
- You get the best koicha from ceremonial grade matcha powder, so make sure yours is ceremonial grade matcha powder.
- To remove clumps, sift the matcha powder.
- Place 2 teaspoons of matcha (4g) into the bowl.
- Pour 50ml (1.69fl oz) of hot water into the bowl and whisk in circular motion to get a smoother texture. Take note that unlike Usucha, koicha will not get a rich foam.
Don’t forget to wash your whisk after!
6. If a hot drink isn’t to your taste, matcha can also be prepared cold. On hot summer days, cold brew matcha is the a pleasurable treat to beat the summer heat.
- Fill a container (mason jar, water bottle, anything with a tight-fitting lid will do) with 500 ml (1.69fl oz) of cold water. Add with as much ice as you want.
- Put 1 teaspoon of Matcha (2g) and screw it shut.
- Now shake it hard! You’ll see bubbles forming, and after letting it sit for a while, these will rise to the top that when you open it should resemble usucha.
Apart from these, there are various ways you can prepare matcha to your like. You can add milk to create matcha latte, create ice cold matcha which is different from cold brew matcha, or toss in a blender to make a matcha shake. If you don’t know what you like, why not try them all? Hot, cold, shaken or stirred, it’s still a cup of matcha bliss.