Matcha… It’s a very different drink. It’s tea, through and through. But you don’t steep it and you certainly don’t take it out afterwards. Matcha has its own set of tools and it’s kind of the black sheep of the tea family.
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If you’ve never seen matcha before, it’s a very fine powder made of green tea leaves that is made to be mixed into the water. It creates a frothy, almost creamy drink. Ever really think about putting milk into your green tea? Well, now you will, because it just works! Don’t question it. (Oh, you have put milk in your normal green tea? Now, that’s not something I hear every day.)
Tools of the trade
This is my kit. It’s got most of the bells and whistles… I really just wanted to find out what it was like to have legitimate matcha. So I bought myself an inexpensive set and went to work. Get the set that I use here!
Now the reason why I say inexpensive is because some matcha kits can get up in price very quickly. Full, ceremonial matcha making kits can easily be$60-$80 plus. It’s not a bad price if you are getting all of the pieces and using them all the time, but it is definitely intimidating to someone like me who’s really just curious about this “mixing my tea into water instead of steeping it” business!
If you get the most basic set, it’s going to come with a chasen, or a bamboo whisk. These are really important! And if you get a chasen and the ball in the middle comes loose, don’t worry. It’s going to do that. Just putting that out there if you’re like me and freak out because you think your chasen is broken… 🙂 You can see that the tines on the inside of my chasen are loose in the picture above.
You’ll also get a scoop to get the tea out, also called a chashaku. That’s the “J” shaped piece of bamboo. The chashaku is also what you are going to use to press the matcha through the sifter.
Next is a mini sieve. Mine is made from a fine mesh and is made to fit over a chawan or a mug (we will get to chawans in a moment!). This is to get the lumps out of the matcha. Think of when you make muffins; you don’t want lumpy flour. Same thing goes with matcha. It’s not imperative but believe me when I say, it makes a difference! The matcha is going to have less of a grit and more froth and foam.
The chawan your mixing bowl for all the magic. Chawans are definitely not cheap bowls, so use your discretion to if you want to get one or not. For me, I didn’t get one because I have a nice ceramic bowl at home already. I have a hard time justifying buying a chawan at the moment when my trusty old bowl works for me! it won’t fit the chasen perfectly, but it’s not too angular where the matcha could get stuck in the seams.
Making matcha, the more traditional way
The next step after getting all of the materials was learning how to actually use all of these tools!
Now to be honest, I didn’t know how to go about making matcha at first. I had to scour the internet too! POPSUGAR was probably the most helpful in my research endeavors and I will link their post here. No matter where you go, the consensus on matcha will be relatively the same but measurements will vary.
When all else fails, follow the amounts of matcha powder and water listed on your matcha container. POPSUGAR told me a scoop and a half of matcha (about 3/4- 1 tsp) for 2 ounces of water but my package said a 1/2 teaspoon for 8 ounces!! What a flavor and texture difference.
Scoop out allotted amount of matcha on package with the chashaku (scooper) into the sifter, over your chawan (bowl).
Use the flat part of your chashaku to press the matcha through the sifter. (Look! More GIFs!)
Slowly add allotted amount of hot water into your chawan. This needs to be done slowly so that there isn’t any clumping. Also, don’t put boiling water over your tea. There is no shame in pulling out a thermometer to make sure your water is the right temperature! It should be around 180˚F.
Here comes the fun part: use your chasen (bamboo whisk) to vigorously whisk in a zig-zag formation for a minute or two, or until a light-green foam appears on the top of your matcha mixture.
And enjoy however you please!
Now, I put this as the more costly method because it’s going to take a little more cash for the right equipment. If you keep scrolling, you will find the more cost effective method too!
The American Method
You can use a whisk; I would know because this is how I made my matcha before I had my chasen! POPSUGAR also talked about using a mini immersion blender, which I will get to later…
The process will be near identical to the instructions above, but with tools you are more likely to find in an American kitchen. I tried the same above process, but with some of the tools you see below:
Oh, and if you’re going to use a whisk, use an coil or spring whisk. Instead of the whisk coming to a cone on the bottom (like a standard whisk would), coil or spring whisks are flat on the bottom and will account for more surface area and more mixing power. You’re welcome.
We’re going to follow the same steps as above, but instead of using your chashaku, you’re going to use a measuring spoon. Measure out as much as needed, again, using the amounts said on the matcha container.
Use a spoon to push the matcha through the sieve, and whisk. Very simple. It’s the same as above but with items you (probably) already have in the kitchen.
Upon taste comparison, I was definitely able to tell the difference between the traditional chasen and the spring whisk mixes. The top was less foamy and the body of the tea was grittier with the spring whisking.
The spring whisk just wasn’t made for making matcha, and that’s okay! I use that whisk for a million and one other tasks.
The sieve that I used was also an issue; it was the next finest sieve that I had, right after the one that came with my matcha set. I saw a lot of small clumps pass through the sieve and I knew this was going to affect the end product.
Mini immersion blender method
I’m not covering it here!
Whaaaat? Yeah, you heard me. Well, I’m still covering it on this blog, just not on this post! I’m actually going to use it and show it to you on Friday. When the post goes live, I will be putting a link here! This one’s fun, kids. You’re going to like it.
So which method did you try? How did matcha making work out with you? Let me know in the comments below!