How to Brew Matcha Tea
What is Matcha?
Matcha is referred to a finely milled green tea powder. The tea is produced from shade grown tea bushes (Gyokuro "shaded tea"). The rich green color is derived from the chlorophyll rich leaves grown in the shade for most of the growing period. The bushes are shaded because to achieve the rich taste of matcha, the leaves of the tea bush needs to be shaded to slow down growth so the bush can stock up on chlorophyll and produce the essential amino acids.
Why drink tea?
There are various health benefits from consuming tea. Green tea, especially, has an abundant concentration of the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a very potent antioxidant that has various therapeutic healing properties in treating various disorders, (cancer). Ingesting the tea that has a high concentration of chlorophyll can also help with regulating the levels in the pancreas; therefore, used to treat pancreatitis (a condition that causes the gland to be inflamed.) It's also often linked to giving the consumer longevity if consumed on a regular basis. In a diet aspect, the tea helps boost metabolism; thus, helping the dieter lose weight. It is also a good cholesterol regulator.
What is the difference between drinking loose tea leaves and matcha powder?
The difference from drinking loose tea leaves, leaving the leaves to steep in hot water for some time, the consumer is ingesting the tannin of the steeped tea leaves (tannin is the organic matter that seeps into water when it is steeped in water.) When drinking matcha, the consumer will be ingesting the whole tea leaf, rather than loose leaf tea, and that action alone is responsible for the elevated potency of matcha tea.
What does matcha tea taste like?
Unlike the typical tea where you ingest the tannin of the tea leaves, matcha powder has a very complex taste. At first, it is very potently RICH, very bold and very bitter; but, as the tea progresses the taste starts to become more alluring with a smokey aroma and finally a sweet taste in the very end. The feeling of having matcha tea is overall very addicting. The taste is very predictable, it doesn't change in order probably attributing to why it's so addictive. When matcha powder is used as a garnish, the richness diminishes but the smokey aroma of the tea is still there but has subtly subsided or hidden. The taste of matcha tea will reappear in a surprise moment catching you off guard with a burst of bitter, smokey, grassy and sweet taste when you least suspect it. It's not surprising why so many bakeries and kitchens use matcha as a additive ingredient because it is able to awaken the taste buds when food can get old.
Tools of the Trade
There are two important items needed when preparing matcha. The first thing needed is the whisk. The whisk is important because this is what will blend the water and powder together and it will thoroughly mix the two together.
The next item is the cha-wan or the tea bowl. The tea bowl is not as important as the whisk but it will overall help you complete the experience.
The bowl can be substituted with any small bowl that is able to hold 1/2 a cup of water. The experience may not be the same but the flavor of the tea will not be affected by using another bowl.
If you do not have a whisk or just do not want to by a matcha whisk, a battery powered whisk is also appropriate. Bamboo matcha whisks do degrade with time, any tea powder left on the whisk will grow moldy if not cleaned properly. It is important to replace the whisk from time to time.
Ingredients and Equipment
- 2 Scoops (2 teaspoons) Matcha Powder, Thin Matcha Tea (Usucha)
- 4 Scoops (4 teaspoons) Matcha Powder, Thick Matcha Tea (Koicha)
- 5 Tablespoons Water, Thin Matcha (Usucha)
- 3 Tablespoons Water, Thick Matcha (Koicha)
- Matcha Whisk, To whisk matcha powder and water together.
- Cha-wan (Bowl)
- Take water and pour into your cha wan. The water should not be boiling but should not be luke warm. Swish the water around the cha wan to acclimate the cha wan. Apply the whisk and let the whisk rinse within the cha wan.
- Empty the cha wan of the water and wipe the cha wan clean of any remaining water.Take the whisk and set aside for matcha application.
- Based on what kind of matcha tea you want (koicha or usucha, thin or thick) apply the necessary amount to the cha wan.
- Apply the necessary amount of water for the specific type of matcha tea you desire.
- Take the matcha whisk and apply a gentle zig zagging motion for making thin usucha and make sure to create a frothy foam surface. If you are brewing koicha, first start with mixing the powder and tea in a circular motion to mix the powder and water together. Then start gesturing a cross like motion when whisking the tea to create the thick koicha. Creating the frothed foam for koicha is not recommended and highly impossible a it might damage your whisk.
- Enjoy with "wagashi" a sweet Japanese confectionery. Can substitute with a small sweet pastry.