With so much attention going into the production of matcha, it would be a shame to ruin it all with improper preparation. Here’s the right way to brew matcha: Place the powder into a bowl with a bamboo scoop (chashaku) and add hot (but never boiling) water. Then, whisk. It sounds simple, but there’s a bit more to it.
Let’s talk about how to get the best color out of your matcha. A perfectly brewed cup of matcha is a rich emerald green color. Unlike other, heartier green teas, matcha burns easily at high temperatures, resulting in bitter flavors and a pea soup green color that looks a lot like a certain scene from The Exorcist. The best way to get a vibrant, green hue from your tea is by controlling your water temperature. The optimal temperature for your water when brewing matcha tea is between 158 and 176 degrees. The temperature of the water also changes the taste of the tea: Colder water releases more umami flavor and grassiness, while hotter water gives you a heavier, more bitter tea. Brew to your tastes. Just remember: Never boil.
It’s time to touch on texture. The last thing that you want to do is chew your cocktail, and if not incorporated properly, matcha powder forms giant clusters that will muck up your drink. Clumping in matcha occurs if you haven’t mastered your whisking technique (think scrubbing motion rather than circular) or if you haven’t sifted the matcha powder before brewing (always sift it through a tea sieve). Make sure to whisk briskly, so that a bubbly foam appears.
Just as important as proper preparation is proper storage. Once opened, powdered matcha needs to be stored in a cool, dry place that is free from moisture and stinky foods or beverages. Remove all the air from the matcha package, place it in a Ziploc bag, remove all the air from that bag, then seal it and store it in your refrigerator. That way you won’t have funky, oxidized tea.
To help you master matcha, we came up with three delicious recipes: Our Pisco Sour will test your grasp of temperature; the Matcha Spritz will teach you how to incorporate matcha at cold temperatures and how to sift the tea correctly; and the Matcha Latte allows you to become one with your whisking. It’s one of the tastiest classes you’ll ever take.