I've been having matcha out so much lately that this morning, I wanted to make it myself. It's been awhile, but thanks to expert tips from the lovely founder of Matcha Source, Alissa White, I just made the best bowl of it I've ever had at home.
First the tea is sifted into a warmed, dry bowl.
The water is poured on top and whisked to aerate the brew.
The most important step is how you consume it.
I sat in my favorite spot in the pale morning sunlight and concentrated on the feel of the bowl, the sweet, vegetal smell of the tea, and that unmistakable taste- it's like drinking the essence of green.
My back against the wall, I held the bowl until the last trace of warmth dissipated. I got up, rinsed the bowl, and was now ready to write.
Matcha Source is just over two years old, and the company finds its high-quality tea in Uji and Nishio, Japan.
In Alissa's words, "Matcha was love-at-first-sight experience for me. A friend popped open a can in my kitchen, and the green matcha smoke wafted out of the tin and that was it: I was hooked. It looked like pigment and smelled like something I'd never come across before.
My dream is to make matcha accessible for Americans; to promote it as a delicious (and nutritious) beverage that is easy to prepare; to encourage experimentation and to build confidence so people are not intimidated by its history and mystique."
It's a noble dream, and one I share.
Matcha, in case you've been sleeping through this entire year of blog posts, is a Japanese green tea (tencha), stone-ground into a fine powder. It's best known as the centerpiece of chanoyu, the elaborately codified Japanese tea ceremony. But you really don't need a tea master, a solid gold antique kimono or centuries-old chawan (tea bowl) to enjoy it. As Alissa points out, it's as easy as spooning the tea (1-2 teaspoons per ounce of liquid) into a vessel, pouring hot water (165°-180° F, never boiling) over it, whisking to mix and give the brew an airy, frothy texture, and just enjoying it.
It really is that simple. The only other essential tips are to sift the matcha before using it (which can actually be done to the whole canister in advance, if you prefer) and to drink it quickly. Matcha doesn't actually dissolve in water; rather, the tiny particles are temporarily suspended after whisking, which is also why it should be mixed vigorously and consumed quickly.
If you really want to sound like a nerd- and risk your physical safety at parties- learn the various grades: thick (koicha), the superior and sweetest variety that is used for chanoyu, thin (usucha), a more everyday brew, and ingredient-grade, which Alissa recommends when baking or blending matcha with milk or juice.
And finally, when asked about her favorite tea ritual, Alissa recommends "one shared with a friend on a fall afternoon, served in a warmed cup." I can't think of a better way to spend the rest of the day.
As a treat to warm up Tea Spot readers, take 10% off any order at matchasource.com with the coupon code SPOTCHA. It's got everything you need- from premium tea to tools and vessels- to enjoy matcha every day.