Well not as simple as making a cup of instant coffee, but you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make a cup or bowl of Matcha – I was!
I’m going to tell you about some very simple ways to make perfect Matcha:
Firstly it is important to talk about the temperature of the water we’re going to use, the debate is on as to the best heat, but from experiment the best temperature is around 80 °C or 176.0 °
In the Japanese tea ceremony they drink from a bowl called a Chawan especially dedicated to drinking Matcha. To be honest any nice porcelain bowl will do, but enjoy the experience. I remember drinking coffee from a bowl and dunking my croissants in it when I was a child staying with some French friends back in the 70’s and it’s a very pleasant memory that still lingers.
Then we have a traditional bamboo whisk called a ‘Chasen‘ and a bamboo scoop called a ‘Chasaku‘. To be honest these are relatively in-expensive to buy and add to the experience of preparing and drinking Matcha, but for my cheat guide on how to make Matcha more quickly and without all the tools, you can skip ahead.
KOICHA – The Espresso of Matcha’s:
I am first going to describe how to make the strongest Matcha tea called KOICHA. It’s a very strong, thick, viscous Matcha which can be drunk on its own or used as a base for a Matcha Latte; similar to espresso coffee.
So we start with 4 bamboo scoops (about 2 level teaspoons) of Organic ceremonial grade Matcha and add it to the Chawan (bowl) – it’s a good idea to warm the bowl with hot water first, and then dry it with a clean towel . Take about 50ml of water at around 80 °C and then add just enough of it to make a fine paste using the whisk. Some people use a sieve to take out any lumps from the powder but it’s not essential if you have a good grade of Matcha. We then add the remainder of the water whisking gently in a circular and criss cross motion. The idea of KOICHA is to not have any bubbles but a very nice thick, beautiful dark green liquid. It’s now ready to drink directly from the bowl.
Normally the taste is fairly bitter originally but gives way miraculously to a sweet after taste.
Usucha – The Frothy Americano Matcha:
This is the more common way of drinking Matcha with a creamy frothy head and a smoother more delicate flavour.
This time we start with 1½ to 2 scoops of a good organic ceremonial grade Matcha and around 50ml to 60ml of water at around 80 °C. Sieving the Matcha may help if the powder has any clumps in it. Add to the pre-warmed bowl along with a little of the water and stir to make the smooth paste as per the Koicha mix described above. Now add the remainder of the water and this is the bit that needs a bit of practise: without touching the bottom of the bowl we whisk very quickly in a ‘W’or ‘M’ motion using the wrist till it starts to froth. Lift the whisk gently to break up the larger bubbles on the surface and whisk till you have a beautiful creamy mix. If you want the Matcha slightly thinner you can add more water at this stage.
Now drink and enjoy along with your favourite cake or biscuit sprinkled with a dusting of Matcha! Tip: If like me you have a sweet tooth, try adding a little of a good quality honey for sweetness.
The basic Matcha Latte, as mentioned above, is made by preparing a Koicha and adding a cup of 80 °C hot milk. The Milk is down to personal preference but try coconut milk or almond milk instead of cow’s milk. So 3 or 4 scoops (Chasaku) or two level teaspoons of Matcha organic green tea powder sieved into your bowl with a tiny amount of 80 °C water just sufficient to make a creamy lump free paste. You can whisk it with your bamboo whisk or your electric whisk. Heat your milk with your espresso machine, hob or microwave and then whisk it to a froth using your chasen or a proprietry milk frother as suggested below. Pour the hot milk into your bowl (Chawan) and then pour the steamy froth on top. Add a little Matcha powder, Cinammon or chocolate powder to the surface and design as per your artistic bent and you’re good to go. Enjoy.
Matcha the Cheat Guide:
To take any effort out of making your Matcha try using a cheap aerolatte milk frother instead of a whisk. Also great for getting all that froth into your Matcha Latte.
Or, and this is how I started, use a clean jar with a tight lid and after shaking vigorously (I do it over the sink!) until you get a good creamy froth, pour into your bowl before drinking. Warm the jar and bowl before adding. The best Matcha, unless you’re an expert with fast flexible wrists is made by using the aerolatte, but it’s fun and rewarding doing it the traditional way.
So now you know how to make it, what should we be looking for when we choose Matcha and what health benefits will you expect.