Kyle is Laura’s “tea dealer”. When Laura gave up alcohol five years ago, she discovered fine teas. We’re not talking about cheap tea bags here – it has to be loose leaf, and can cost a lot of money! And Kyle knows what he talks about. He has studied the tea ceremony in Japan, has been “a passionate tea drinker since I was a kid” and has been working with speciality teas for the past six years. In this “tea masterclass” webinar, he shares some of his knowledge, and shows us how to make a perfect cup of matcha, the Japanese green tea.
Kyle’s seven tips for preparing matcha
1. Sift it smooth!
Matcha inevitably clumps in storage/transit. Sifting your matcha powder before using it will give you a smoother and creamier beverage. Use a fine mesh sieve and either sift as you go directly into the bowl or sift a smallish quantity (around 20g or 2-3tbsp) in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
2. Keep it cool. Keep it fresh.
Store your bulk matcha in the freezer. Keep it airtight and preferably double wrapped. So seal the foil pouch and put it into another bag or Tupperware or if its in a tin, put that in a sealed bag or Tupperware.
For daily drinking, decant smallish quantities as above and store in the fridge.
Pro Tip: when decanting from your freezer stash, let it come to room temperature before opening the pack to avoid any moisture getting into the powder.
3. Proportion is everything
How much matcha powder versus water is key to a tasty and smooth drink. Too much powder and you end up with soup, too much water and the particles settle out too quickly, forming a sludge at the bottom.
Ideally use 1/2 a teaspoon or two chashaku (traditional bamboo scoop) full of power for 70ml (finger depth in a matcha bowl or 1/3 of a cup) of water.
4. Don’t burn it!
Water temperature is key. 70ºC is ideal. Do not use boiling water!
Pro Tip: you’ll get better froth at 80ºC but run the risk of it burning and going bitter.
5. Get energetic
Whisk your matcha vigorously!
Matcha is ground leaf, it will not dissolve in water so you have to suspend the particles in the water.
A traditional bamboo whisk or Chasen will give the best results but you can also use a small kitchen whisk or milk frother. When whisking with a Chasen practice a ‘M N’ motion. Relaxing your arm and letting the movement come from the wrist will make this easier. Practice and in time you will get faster and your matcha will be foamier and smoother. Just be careful not to press down hard with the Chasen or you’ll break the delicate bamboo. It should just touch the surface of the bowl, no more. You’ll get it, don’t worry!
Pro Tip: use the Chasen to gently tap down and break up any lumps that may have formed before you begin whisking.
Pro Tip: keep your Chasen on a special Chasen holder to keep it in tip top condition.
6. Shake it baby!
This is my favourite way to drink matcha in the summer. Using the proportions above, put powder and fridge cold water in a cocktail shaker (a plastic bottle, jam jar or flask work too) and shake vigorously! Shake it baby!
This suspends the leaf particles, gives a lovely foamy top and is oh so refreshing!
7. Drink up me hearty! Ho Ho!
Drink your matcha as soon after making it as possible. If you leave it the leaf particles will begin to settle and you’ll get a sludgy bottom! No one wants that!
You can find out more about Kyle and tea at his website.