Instructions on Preparing Matcha Green Tea

September 15, 2012

This is a short introduction to how to make matcha green tea.

There are two different, traditional Japanese ways for preparing matcha: Koicha and Usucha. Normally before being used, matcha will be first filtered through a device called a sieve in order to break up any clumps that may form in the mixture. Usually, these sieves are made of stainless steel mesh. After being sifted, the matcha is placed directly into a tea bowl or in more formal situations a chaki (tea caddy). For this purpose only a small amount of matcha should be placed in the bowl using what is traditionally called a chashaku (bamboo scoop). Hot water (but not boiling) is added into the mixture. Next, it is lightly mixed into a generally consistent texture using a chasen (bamboo whisk). If done properly, there should be no lumps left in the liquid, and no ground tea should remain on the sides of the bowl. Before drinking the matcha, a guest would normally be served wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) to balance out the bitterness of the matcha.

Usucha (thin tea) requires about one and a half scoops (using the chashaku) of matcha and 75 ml of hot water per serving. Depending on the drinker’s personal preference, the tea may be lightly mixed to produce froth or not.

Koicha (thick tea) is slightly less bitter than Usucha and calls for more matcha, around three chashaku scoops and 40 ml of hot water per serving. The resulting mixture is thicker, similar to that of liquid honey. Therefore, blending it entails a much slower stirring motion so as not to produce foam. Koicha is usually made from more expensive matcha, originating from tea trees exceeding thirty years of age. Koicha, rather than Usucha is served almost exclusively as a part of Japanese tea ceremony.

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