Ready to start making your own matcha at home? To make a perfect bowl of matcha, let's start with the essentials:
A matcha whisk made from one piece of bamboo. The highest quality ones (they last longer) are made in Japan and cost $20+ while the ones made in China cost around $10. The most popular chasen is the 80-tip (the number of tips on the bamboo) but you can also find the 100-tip and 120-tip.
A bamboo scoop/ladle used instead of a spoon to measure out matcha into your bowl.
Ceremonial Grade Matcha
There are different grades of matcha (powered green tea leaves) and for those wanting to drink it straight with just hot water, you want the ceremonial grade matcha, which is not bitter and tastes mildly sweet. The color should be a vibrant green. (Kathy YL Chan's matcha shown in these photos is really smooth and balanced.)
When using matcha in recipes or drinks with milk, go with cooking or culinary grade instead. The subtle flavors in the ceremonial grade will get lost when added to anything other than water.
Ok, now onto making matcha!
I like to warm the bowl and soften the whisk tips first. Pour hot water into the bowl about halfway and move the whisk around to soak the tips. Pour out the water and dry the bowl.
Place the strainer over the matcha bowl and using the tea ladle, put in one and a half heaping scoops of matcha into the strainer. Sift matcha into the bowl.
The recommended water temperature for matcha is 175 degrees. I like to bring my water to a boil, then transfer it to my kettle, which allows the water to cool a bit. Using boiling water makes the matcha bitter so you want to make sure it's not too hot. Pour about a half cup, or 3–4 ounces of hot water into the bowl.
Time to whisk! The entire movement should come from the wrist. Briskly move the whisk in a zig-zag or a "W" shape. Do not overwhisk! You want to make around 10 W's. Be careful not to apply too much pressure to the whisk so that it's scraping the bottom of the bowl since that will ruin the tips. If all things are aligned perfectly (the sifting, the water temperature, the amount of water, the whisking, and so on) you should have a lovely froth on the surface of the matcha.
Enjoy your matcha straight from the bowl it was prepared in. With ceremonial grade matcha, there shouldn't be a need to add any sugar, honey, or milk. It should be delicious and full of umami on its own.
When cleaning up, I rinse the whisk, no dish detergent, then store it upright. Don't put it back damp in the plastic container it came in since that can cause mold. Wipe the tea scoop with a paper towel -- don't get the scoop wet since that can change the shape of the ladle. Store the matcha in a tightly sealed container. You can leave it out at room temperature or store in the fridge and use within 6–8 weeks.
(The matcha froth in the photo above could be much better, dammit. Still need to keep practicing!)
Follow me on Instagram where you can see how my matcha froth comes along.