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The preparation of matcha

10 March 2010

at 22:05 by Seb

Although the traditional Japanese tea ceremony (chanoyu) can seem complex and inaccessible for most amateurs, matcha is not so complicated to prepare. These days increasingly popular for its pleasant flavors, its invigorating effect and its beneficial health properties, this bright green powdered tea is a memorable experience for anyone who is willing to risk a taste for the first time. For this tea there is no need for a teapot. We do, however, need a particular instrument, the chasen (a whisk cut from a piece of bamboo), and also a chawan (a large tea bowl) and a small, fine, strainer to filter it. Here are the basic steps of its preparation:

Matcha 1

Preheat the chawan with hot water for half a minute or more. Gently stir the chasen to hydrate the whisk, thereby making it more flexible. Discard the water and thoroughly dry the inside of the chawan with a clean cloth. Using the spoon and strainer, sift about one level teaspoon of matcha (to aerate the powder, which will allow us to obtain a creamier foam emulsion – and to prevent lumps).

Matcha 2

Matcha 3

Pour onto the powder 50 to 100 millilitres of water at around 70-75 ° C (depending on desired strength), and then, in a movement from the bottom of the bowl to the surface, whisk the tea in an energetic and constant movement with the chasen. During the whisking the strands of the whisk should not be brushed directly on the bottom of the chawan nor catch on the edges. When a delicate foam begins to form, whisk more over the surface of the emulsion and continue whisking more slowly, making sure to break the larger bubbles in the foam.

Matcha 4

Matcha 5

After removing the whisk (which you can rinse with warm water after your tasting is completed), just savour a few sips of the delicious “jade” emulsion you have just prepared. Although I invite you to taste your matcha without flavouring, it must be said that, traditionally, a little morsel is eaten before taking the tea, just to wake up the taste buds for the slightly bitter emerald liquid. Dark chocolate goes wonderfully well, just melt a piece in the mouth before taking the first sip of matcha.

 
 

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