Matcha

Matcha (抹茶) is classified as a fine powder tea originating from China. Its signature look is that of a vivid green powder, and is often seen as a flavour or a dye to other foods.

So green.
So green.
Curious Color

What makes matcha so special as a tea lies in how the tea is farmed and processed. Matcha is actually grown under shade, which slows growth and stimulates chlorophyll levels. This is what gives Matcha its vivid green colour!

Tools 道具

The first step to making matcha is to prepare the utensils you will need: A ceramic bowl (茶碗 - chawan), a bamboo whisk (茶筅 - chasen), a bamboo spoon (茶杓 - chashaku) and a sieve. Optionally, you can also get a tea caddy (茶入 - chaire) to hold the matcha. In terms of getting matcha itself, there are many vendors that sell matcha. But you will want to make sure you are buying from a reputable source, as sometimes vendors will simply sell instant tea that is dyed green.

My 茶道具 (tea tools)
My 茶道具 (tea tools)
Preparation

Matcha is a bit different as it is usually not served in a cup or mug. Instead it is served in small portions in a ceramic bowl. This helps keep the tea hot in the winter, and cools it faster in the summer. You need only one scoop from the spoon to produce a bowl of tea.

A scoop of matcha.
A scoop of matcha.

Ideally, you should sift the powder that goes in to the bowl. This is done to get all the big chunks of powder out which will help make the whisking easier later. To sift, I usually dump the scoop of powder into the sieve and use the back side of the scoop to push the powder through until it is all separated.

Sifting the matcha with a sieve.
Sifting the matcha with a sieve.
Fully sifted tea.
Fully sifted tea.

The next step is to boil some water! 60-80ml of water should be enough, but you will want to pour the water in the ceramic bowl after it has sit for a minute (ie. not boiling).

Pouring water into the bowl.
Pouring water into the bowl.
Bamboo whisk.
Bamboo whisk.

You will then want to whisk your tea. To whisk, take the bamboo whisk and place it in to the water. Quickly move the whisk back and forth in a zig zag motion until there are no more clumps of tea. Frothy is good in this case, as you will know when you are done when there is a layer of froth!

Whisking.
Whisking.
Beginning to see froth.
Beginning to see froth.
A fully frothed tea!
A fully frothed tea!

You will want to drink your matcha immediately once its ready. If you let it sit for too long, the bottom of the bowl will begin to get grainy. Enjoy!

Posted Nov 30 2016
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