How to Make Matcha: A Beginner's Guide

Finally, buy matcha that comes in an opaque, airtight tin. This will keep out light and oxygen to prolong your tea's life—and ultimately make it easier to scoop.

How to store matcha

Just like at the tea shop, you should keep your matcha in the refrigerator for maximum freshness. “It can last in the fridge for three to six months unopened,” says Jue, “but once you open it, it's a ticking time bomb.” You'll want to use it as soon as possible, ideally within one month.

What happens when matcha “goes bad?” Primarily, it loses its aroma. “That's the first thing that'll go,” says Jue, “which is a large component of matcha and green tea generally. Thats where you're getting all the flavor.” In time, your matcha will taste flat, earthy without any complex floral notes or nuttiness, and only dissipate from there.


Matcha-making gear

Like any caffeine-consumption habit, matcha drinking requires gear. But just because traditionally a litany of tools are involved in the making of one potent cup of green brew doesn't mean you need to outfit your kitchen with the whole lot before you can get started. Jue recommends a few tools to get the full matcha experience, but fully endorses certain work-arounds, as well, to keep your equipment load light.

A bamboo whisk, called a chasen, is perhaps the piece of equipment most commonly associated with preparing the tea, and the first thing many people seek when learning how to make matcha. The delicate tines integrate the powdered tea into the water and aerate the mixture, creating a cohesive suspension that's light and frothy. 

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While you can use a milk frother (or even rigorously shake your water and matcha together in a sealed jar), Jue thinks if there's one tool you purchase for your home tea practice, it should be a chasen. “Using the traditional tools is what provides that meditative element. Matcha comes from the tea ceremony and Zen Buddhism practices, so a lot of the historical culture around the product is the idea of presence and making something with your full focus—which the whisk requires. It sounds silly but the whisk does a lot to ensure you're setting a little time aside for yourself. You wouldn't use it otherwise and you're forced to pay attention. So from a functional standpoint, it's not strictly necessary, but I think people that do use one enjoy the experience a little more.”

The small, long-handled scoop that's traditionally used to measure matcha is called a chashaku. It's the perfect tool for portioning tea and easing it through the holes in a sifter, but as long as you have a ½ teaspoon measure, you don't need the specific scoop.

A chawan is a small bowl for whisking and drinking matcha. While Japanese potters have perfected the vessel especially for matcha-making, Jue says any small bowl—four to six inches in diameter, with enough room for the whisk to move about but not so large that it's tough to keep everything moving—will do. “The shape and size of your bowl will make a big impact on your ability to produce a frothy ceremonial cup,” she says, noting that something with a “gentle slope” at the bottom with be easier to work with than one that's flat across the base.

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“One of the more important factors in making matcha is the sifting,” says Jue. “You can get around it, but having a sieve or sifter will make a huge difference, both in preventing the clumps that you'll sometimes find at the bottom of your cup if you're making a latte at home and in achieving a light, frothy, ceremonial-style beverage.” Use the back of a spoon or chashaku to help the powder through the mesh.

An electric kettle results in a better cup of matcha because it allows you to heat your water to exactly 176°F—about 40 degrees shy of boiling. Says Jue: “Green tea doesn't like boiling water: it brings out a ton of bitterness and all the aromatics get lost. Lowering the temperature allows you, flavor-profile wise, to create something way more refined, elegant, and balanced.” This OXO kettle won our product review by being precise, speedy, and straightforward to use.

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Use matcha at home

A ceremonial-style matcha is like espresso: a concentrated, premium product enjoyed in smaller quantities. As such, you only need about ½ teaspoon of powdered tea (two scoops from the chashaku) in order to make a single serving.

Source: https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/the-best-matcha-to-make-at-home-article

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