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If you're new to Matcha, the first thing to remember is to not treat it like any ordinary tea. For most of us, the habit of dropping a tea bag into a mug and pouring boiling hot water is the way to go. Not the case with Matcha tea. Boiling water will DESTROY the matcha and makes it taste really off, and downright bad. Plus you'll lose all the benefits of why you bought the matcha in the first place.
There are a few tea masters in Japan who take this even further and suggest the optimal way to prepare matcha is with cool water, declaring that only with cooler water can maximum umami be coaxed out of the tea.
And it's true: matcha prepared with cooler water does bring out more umami. As much sympathy as we have for the quest for maximum umami and as tasty as cool matcha sounds on a hot day, there's just something about a hot cup of tea that satisfies in a special way.
So RULE 1 - Don't burn your expensive ceremonial grade or any other grade of matcha with hot boiling water. We find that the optimal temperature for matcha is 80c.
We matcha drinkers prefer our matcha to be smooth and frothy. But this powdered green tea has an inherent tendency to clump together. If you don’t sift it, no matter how much you whisk your matcha, it’s not going to be as smooth or frothy. Some of the lumps will survive the whisking process and rise to the surface of the whisked matcha and can even stick to the bowl. Not only is it unsightly, it also spoils the experience of drinking matcha.
RULE 2 - Sift matcha to experience smooth and frothy matcha.
Whether pure or when I prepare a latte, before pouring on the milk, I always, always whisk.
There's also a science behind whisking. The whisk allows you to mix matcha powder, water, and air into a nice frothy beverage, releasing aromas and essences in the foam on the surface. It is not only about dissolving the powder in water! Oxygenation is key.
RULE 3 - Whisk matcha with a bamboo whisk in order to extract the aromas and essences that make a perfect cup of matcha tea.