I have matcha at least once a day.

Not in the morning – usually in the afternoon, as a way to take some time to enjoy the little moments in life. It’s energizing, packed full of antioxidants, and is so incredibly delicious. It brings me back to when we lived in Japan and I would try to slow down and savor the seasons even though we were in ever-so-bustling Tokyo.

Matcha green tea

Matcha is taking over the world – from matcha lattes to cake, bread, ice cream, croissants, popcorn, cookies – there seems to be no end to the world’s love of matcha flavored things. It’s no surprise that matcha is the number one favorite flavor of sweets in Japan. From the traditional tea ceremony to more casual lattes in hip cafes, matcha is integral to Japanese culture.

Matcha green tea is the purest expression of this. I miss the matcha culture in Japan so much. I never realized how much matcha green tea I drank until we left! From the twist cap cold matcha from convenience stores to the cute matcha cafes, I had so much matcha that I’m surprised that I didn’t turn green.

matcha in a sieve | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is matcha?

Matcha is a powdered green tea made from dried green tea leaves. The powdered tea is made from leaves that have been shade grown and doesn’t contain any stems or veins. Matcha is an incredibly vibrant green color, due to extra high chlorophyll levels.

What does matcha taste like?

Matcha has a sweet vegetal grassy note, with a hint of nuttiness, and gentle bitter undertones. It’s like next-level green tea!

matcha powder | www.iamafoodblog.com

Is matcha good for you?

Incredibly so! Green tea is an antioxidant, but matcha is on another level, benefits-wise, since you consuming the entire tea leaf. The antioxidants in matcha help reduce the risk of heart disease, boost metabolism, and lower blood pressure.

Does matcha have caffeine?

Matcha contains more caffeine than regular green tea and just about the same as coffee. Unlike coffee, it doesn’t give you a jittery buzz because matcha has a specific amino acid (L-Theanine) that slows the release of caffeine and provides a sense of relaxing calmness.

Which brand should I buy?

If you’re looking to drink your matcha with just water, go for ceremonial grade – we like Ippodo brand from Japan.

If you want to enjoy your matcha with milk or sweetener and use it in desserts, culinary matcha is cheaper and will do the trick. Ito En culinary matcha is a good choice – I love their bottled cold green tea, so it makes sense that their culinary matcha is good too.

ippodo matcha | www.iamafoodblog.com

Culinary vs ceremonial matcha powder

Not all matcha is created equally and it can be quite confusing. Generally, the more expensive the matcha, the higher the quality. The main difference is the youth of the green tea plants: the youngest plants produce a more sweeter, intense, rich and mellow flavor which is used for ceremonial matcha. Older plants are used to make culinary matcha.

  • Ceremonial matcha, because of its pure, sweet flavor is used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies where they make koicha – a type of thick matcha. Because koicha is so intense, only the best matcha can be used because it’s only ever mixed with water and never used for lattes or in desserts or food. Essentially, ceremonial matcha has nothing to hide behind. Still, even within ceremonial matcha, there are various grades available.
  • Culinary matcha is usually what is used for cakes, cookies, and other sweets or foods. Culinary matcha are usually harvested from older plants in the fall. Again, there are various grades of culinary matcha and because there’s no standard of grading, culinary matcha can range from very good to not so good at all.

Do I need a chasen/matcha whisk?

You don’t need a matcha whisk and holder, but if you have one, making match will be infinitely more enjoyable and easier. Traditional matcha whisks, called chasen, are made of a single piece of bamboo and have a multitude of springy whisps specifically designed to help whisk matcha into a creamy emulsified suspension.

Chasen’s advantages are twofold: because chasen are made from bamboo, they won’t scratch your bowls and because they have so many prongs, they will actually froth your matcha, unlike a metal whisk. If you get a matcha whisk, it’s best to get the holder – kusenaoshi – as well. The holder holds the whisk with the prongs facing down so they can air dry in the proper shape and not get moldy.

If you don’t want to get a chasen (they work great for making whipped cream as well) the next best thing is probably a milk frother. If you have nothing else, you can try shaking it in a sealed bottle.

chasen matcha whisk | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make matcha green tea at home

  1. Warm the bowl. Pour some hot water into your matcha bowl and soften the whisk by whisking it around the hot water. Pour the water out and dry with a clean cloth.
  2. Sift. Place your strainer over the bowl and put in 1-2 scoops of matcha and sift it into the bowl.
  3. Pour. Add about 3 tablespoons of water (the ideal temperature is 175°F). Use the whisk to slowly stir until there are no lumps.
  4. Whisk. Add more water, about 1/3 full. Whisk in from side to side in a zig-zag until the matcha is frothy.
  5. Enjoy. Drink the matcha straight from the bowl.

Matcha latte

If you want to make a matcha latte, do the same as above but add a tiny bit of sweetener and pour in 3/4 cups of warmed milk of your choice.

matcha latte | www.iamafoodblog.com

Tips and tricks

  • Don’t buy too much at once. Matcha has a short shelf life, once you open it, it will lose color and flavor so buy in small quantities. Keep it in the fridge for maximum freshness.
  • Use a mesh strainer. A mesh strainer will help you sift out any lumps and make the whisking process smoother.
  • Think about getting a matcha whisk. If you’re planning on making matcha a habit, get a chasen, or bamboo matcha whisk. It will break up any clumps, whip your matcha uniformly, and produce the right amount of foam.
  • Try it out of a bowl. Matcha is best enjoyed out of the ceramic bowl you whisk it in. You cup it with both your hands and breathe in the aromas before sipping. Matcha bowls are about 4.5 to 5 inches in diameter.
  • Sweeteners are okay! Feel free to sweeten your matcha with sugar, honey, maple syrup. Just don’t use too much or you’ll overwhelm the delicate matcha flavors.

What else can I make with matcha powder?

matcha pavlova | www.iamafoodblog.com

matcha | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to Make Matcha

Japan's most delicious drink as rated by the Japanese.
Serves 1
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp matcha
  • 3 oz hot water 175ºF, about 1/3 cup

Instructions

  • Sift the matcha into a small bowl.
    sifted matcha | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Pour in 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of hot water into the bowl. Use a matcha whisk to mix gently into a smooth paste.
    how to make matcha | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Pour in the remaining hot water and whisk vigorously in a zig zag motion until frothy.
    matcha | www.iamafoodblog.com

Notes

To make a latte: whisk in 1 cup of steamed milk and sweetener, as desired.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How to Make Matcha
Amount Per Serving
Calories 3
% Daily Value*
Sodium 0.06mg0%
Potassium 27mg1%
Carbohydrates 0.3g0%
Protein 0.3g1%
Vitamin A 99IU2%
Vitamin C 0.6mg1%
Calcium 4.2mg0%
Iron 0.17mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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4 Comments

  1. Tziona Anna Greenberg says:

    5 stars
    I drink David’s Tea Vanilla Macha tea. Very favourful taste. Very smooth. Just use one Tbsp with hot water. Not lumpy. I feel energized without feeling hyper. Recommend this one highly.

  2. Annie says:

    Do you have any recommendations for where to buy a good chasen? I’ve looked around but worry about the quality of different brands.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi annie,
      it’s hard to know, i agree. we bought ours from japan but even there you’ll find a lot of variety in quality. i think the best bet is to make sure it’s made in japan and made from 100% bamboo. another thing to look for is string count – the higher the number of strings, the better quality chasen – go for 70-80 tines. hopefully that helps a bit :)

  3. Michael says:

    Ok. My recipe. I tsp matcha, 1 fresh squeezed lime & pulp, fresh ginger. Put in blender 15-20 seconds. No more matcha in bottom of cup & no sugar. 3 very strong flavored ingredients make 1smooth flavored tea

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