How to Properly Prepare Matcha for 3 Different Uses
No matter how matcha is prepared, it's a delicious way to add a bright, different flavor to your daily routine. However, trying to figure out how to prepare matcha in the way that you'll most enjoy it can be a challenging task! Do you like it most when it's prepared traditionally, with the bamboo whisk, and enjoyed hot? Or, instead, do you like it best with milk and a little flavoring in a latte? Maybe your favorite way to enjoy matcha is in a delicious baked good!
Regardless of how you enjoy your matcha, it's best to know how to prepare matcha in several different ways. That way, you can figure out what way you like best to get the most out of your matcha!
Looking for some tips on how to prepare your matcha and some recipe tips? We can help!
What is Matcha?
Matcha, or matcha powder, is a specialized form of green tea that is consumed whole instead of steeping the tea leaves in water. Grown in a specialized, labor-intensive way, the tea leaves used to produce matcha are grown in a shade-controlled environment to enhance the tea's flavor, color, and texture.
When harvested, matcha is dried to prepare for grinding rather than to be steeped. After removing the veins and stems, the leaves are ground up, leaving a fine, smooth, cornstarch-like powder. It is this powder that you whisk vigorously into hot - not boiling - water and leaves you with your delicious cup of tea.
When you drink matcha, you're drinking the entire tea plant, not just the result of steeping the leaves. As a result, matcha generally tastes almost like vegetables: a leafy taste not unlike spinach or brussels sprouts but with a sweet, smooth finish that closely resembles the sweetness of hay.
Over time, different harvests, grindings, and preparations of matcha have separated matcha powder into ceremonial matcha and culinary matcha. While you can use any grade of matcha in any usage you'd like, some grades are just better than others for certain applications. For example, ceremonial grade matcha is better to enjoy as a hot cup of tea than culinary matcha. Still, culinary matcha is better to give baked goods that certain "oomph" that ceremonial grade may be lacking. Not one grade is better than the other.
Ceremonial matcha tends to have a smoother, softer flavor because of its harvesting time and the age of the leaves. Ceremonial matcha is made from spring's first harvest of tea leaves. Ceremonial matcha has every stem and vein in the leaves removed before grinding, leaving you with a smooth, silky powder that has a slight grassy sweetness. Culinary matcha, though, tends to have a more bitter flavor
and is typically used to make lattes, pastries, and other baked goods.
Preparing Ceremonial Matcha the Traditional Way
Enjoying matcha traditionally dates back to the 10th century in China until it was eventually brought to the Buddhist monks in Japan. In Japan, matcha tea flourished and thrived, and how to prepare matcha became more of a ritual ceremony. Over time, the rules surrounding matcha have become less stringent, but the practice of preparing ceremonial matcha remains the same.
The Tea Ceremony
Originally, the tea ceremony was the premiere way to enjoy the luxury of matcha. Because growing, preparing, and harvesting matcha was so expensive and time-consuming, only the wealthiest members of Japanese society could afford to enjoy matcha tea. This is where the phrasing of ceremonial matcha comes from: it was only used for tea ceremonies as a status symbol or during celebrations.
The tea ceremony was a grandiose event at the host's home and could usually take anywhere from four to five hours to complete the whole ceremony. First, a meal was enjoyed by everyone gathered around the table while the water boiled for the tea. This water was also used to clean all of the tools used for the tea preparation, like the bamboo whisk, the bowl (also known as a chawan), and the bamboo spoon (called a chashaku).
Once the food was completed, the ceremony would begin. Each guest would wash their hands thoroughly and watch as the host prepared their tea carefully and precisely. The host would show the guests the expensive matcha powder, allowing them to inspect it for themselves before they prepared the tea to drink.
The host would take the first sip, turn the bowl, then pass the bowl around to other guests at the party. Each guest would take a sip of the rich, flavorful matcha, and the tea ceremony would conclude.
The Right Tools
Over time, the preparation of matcha tea has changed. The ritual of the whole preparation has faded, but not diminished completely. Traditional ceremonial matcha is still prepared in much the same way.
You'll need the right tools if you want the authentic traditional matcha experience. The essentials for ceremonial tea preparation are the bamboo whisk, the bowl (chawan), the bamboo spoon (chashaku), and the whisk holder. Sifters are also useful but are not vital to enjoying your matcha if that isn't something you'd like.
Fortunately, Matcha Outlet has a matcha bowl gift set with everything you need if you're wondering how to prepare matcha the traditional way. This gift set comes with the chawan, chashaku, bamboo whisk, and whisk holder, ready to go whenever you want to try making your own matcha tea. Matcha Outlet even has a sifter for your matcha if that's something you'd like to add! It's easy to get all the tools in one spot so you can start your tea preparation right away.
Preparing the Tea
Preparing ceremonial matcha the traditional way is simultaneously easy and difficult. There are several steps to prepare the tea, but the steps are simple and easy to follow. If you want to know how to prepare matcha the traditional Japanese way, then keep reading.
First, you should soak your bamboo whisk in some hot water. This helps the tines of the whisk absorb the water, making it so that you don't lose a single drop of your delicious matcha due to absorption. Let that sit for a while before beginning the other steps.
Once your bamboo whisk has been sitting in the water for a bit, it's time to begin. Spoon some matcha powder into a sifter to sift the matcha. This is not a necessary step, but this step does remove any potential lumps and helps to create a smooth, silky texture in your drink. Once you've done so, grab your chashaku to add about a teaspoon of matcha into the chawan.
Heat your water. Bring the water you'll be using to a boil, then cool it back down to about 165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. It's important to boil your water first, as boiling the water removes any lingering impurities in the water that might affect the taste. Do not pour boiling water into your matcha because it will change the flavor, and you won't get the full experience!
To your teaspoon of matcha, add about two ounces of hot water. Remove your bamboo whisk from the hot water it had been placed in and shake off the excess water. With your bamboo whisk, without touching the bottom of the bowl, whisk the matcha vigorously in the shape of the letter M for about twenty seconds. Once you've finished whisking, the matcha should be a creamy, foamy consistency and be thoroughly blended.
You're ready to serve! Traditionally, in Japan, you serve the matcha right in the chawan you blended it in. Show all sides of the bowl before you present it to your guest, with the best side facing forward.
Nowadays, not many people have the traditional tools to create a delicious cup of matcha. However, this shouldn't stop you from enjoying this delicious drink! Simply use a regular teaspoon, a mini whisk, and a coffee mug if you'd like to achieve a similar effect.
What Matcha to Use
When preparing matcha to serve this grandiose way, you should only use the ceremonial matcha. Compared to culinary matcha, ceremonial is softer, silkier, and has a milder sweet flavor than bitter culinary matcha. The perfect way to have a delicious, well-rounded matcha experience preparing tea traditionally is by using ceremonial matcha.
Matcha Outlet has you covered if you're interested in trying ceremonial matcha in your home or business. We offer three types of high-quality ceremonial matcha, both from Japan and China, with slightly different flavor profiles. We hope you'll try them all and decide which one is your favorite for your next tea ceremony!
Using Matcha in Your Café
Using matcha in your café can be a game changer to your menu. Offering a delicious and unique alternative to the caffeine in coffee is sure to be a hit!
Fun Matcha Drinks
If you're wondering how to prepare matcha in a way that's more accessible, then no worries! Matcha is easy to incorporate into a multitude of delicious drinks.
For example, if you love the feeling - or just the vibes! - of a latte, then make one with matcha! A matcha latte is super simple and easy to prepare. Prepare your matcha traditionally or by using a milk frother, and fill the rest of the drink up with milk, just like a traditional latte. The only difference between this latte and the usual coffee latte is the bright green color!
A matcha latte is perfect for introducing people to matcha who've never tried it before because the milk tamps down the almost vegetable-like flavor of matcha. Plus, it lends itself to a sense of familiarity. Your customers might not be familiar with this bright green tea, but they'll almost definitely be familiar with a latte.
A latte isn't the only way to use matcha in your café, though! If you like a cool, refreshing summer drink, then don't be afraid to add matcha to other drinks like lemonade! Matcha lemonade or matcha lemonade iced tea are perfect additions to your café menu.
What Matcha You Should Use
While you can use ceremonial-grade matcha in lattes and other drinks, the softness of ceremonial matcha doesn't often blend well with other strong flavors like the creaminess of milk or the sharp citrus of a lemonade. Culinary matcha, though, is perfect for usage in applications like this because of its stronger flavor. It can stand up to the flavors of whatever you're mixing it with, be it a latte, lemonade, or even if you're baking with matcha.
Matcha as a Baking Product
Those fun bright green pastries that you see in the pastry cabinet may just be from adding a little bit of matcha! Adding matcha to your recipes adds not only a bright green pop of color but also a delicious earthy flavor that blends well with vanilla, ginger, chocolate, and lemon.
It can sometimes be challenging to figure out how to prepare matcha in a way that tastes delicious and is easily accessible, but baked goods seem to be the ticket. When you're baking with matcha or using it in other ways, it's vital to remember that a little bit of matcha powder goes a long way. Just a few tablespoons can completely change the flavor profile of whatever you're making.
Typically, most baked goods will use about one to two tablespoons of matcha in their standard recipes to add that matcha flavor. For example, adding a single tablespoon of matcha to a standard pie crust recipe can change the taste and color of your crust. For the cookie dough, it's much the same! Sift two tablespoons of matcha into your flour to add a little matcha flavor to your standard cookie recipe. It's just like adding an extra dry ingredient to your baking!
Recipes to Try
Fortunately, Matcha Outlet has a wide variety of recipes for you to try. From delicious milk bread to smoothie bowls, we have more recipes than you can imagine, all involving the delicious earthy flavors of matcha.
We recommend our matcha cream puffs. A delicious mixture of a standard profiterole dough combined with a smooth, silky matcha pastry cream gives you the sweetness you're looking for with the slight earthiness of the matcha. If you're a sweets fan and love matcha, these are sure to be a hit.
Choosing Matcha Outlet
Matcha Outlet has everything you need when you're trying to figure out how to prepare matcha. From our traditional preparation gift sets to our wide variety of different matcha grades and flavors, Matcha Outlet does have it all.
Plus, with our recipe section, you'll never run out of ideas about how to prepare your matcha! Whether you're in the mood for a sweet matcha dessert or a tangy glass of matcha lemonade, Matcha Outlet can help you figure out what you need to get it done.
We haven't forgotten about our café owners! If you're looking to incorporate matcha into your menu, then Matcha Outlet is here to help! Our wholesale purchasing options are perfect for cafê owners trying to get good quality matcha for an affordable price. Check out our wholesale page for more information.
Hopefully, when you learn how to prepare matcha the way you most enjoy, you'll come to Matcha Outlet and let us help you with that final push.