A Beginner's Guide to Preparing Matcha
It's time for a quick refresher course on matcha. Ready? Matcha's the powdered green tea that's been used during Japanese tea ceremonies, especially in the Zen Buddhism tradition, for thousands of years. However, in the past decade or so, it has also become a darling of the wellness scene and evangelists have sung the praises of matcha's purported health benefits, saying that the tea contains a healthy dose of prized antioxidants called catechins and a number of other vitamins and minerals. It has a low but potent level of caffeine, which people say provides a calming and focusing energy, compared to the anxiety-inducing jolt of a cup of coffee. And also, frankly, matcha just looks cool: It's a verdant, cover-your-eyes bright green.
Have you decided to give this kind of caffeine a go? Excellent. But first thing's first: How do you prepare matcha? There aren't any bags to drop in boiling water, or loose herbs to shake into infusers. So clearly, if you're making matcha yourself—and not just ordering a matcha soy latte at your closest hipster coffee shop—you're going to need the right equipment. And there's more than you might expect. A starter kit for matcha makers involves, at the very least, a tea bowl, a mesh strainer, a measuring spoon, a bamboo whisk, something to boil water in, and, of course, the tea itself, which should be from Japan and is hopefully ceremonial grade, but you do you, because that stuff can get pricey.
Here's how this works.
1. Make sure you have your matcha ready.
This great blend is certified organic and comes from the slope of Uji in Kyoto, Japan.
2. Get out your tea bowl.
Bet you can't wait to hold this smooth bowl in your hands.
3. Boil your water in a tea kettle.
We're going classy and understated on the tea kettle.
4. Measure out two-three scoops of matcha with a chashaku, or hooked measuring spoon.
Very dainty, very necessary.
5. Press the matcha through a mesh strainer over the tea bowl.
Not the most exciting, but absolutely essential for smooth tea.
To buy: Stainless Steel Drainer Mesh Tea Strainer Teapot Filter, $5.31 for two, on Amazon
6. Add 2-3 oz. of the just-below-boiling water to the matcha in the tea bowl and use a bamboo whisk to combine until frothy.
Matcha is nothing without this guy.
And that's it!
You can sip your matcha straight from the tea bowl, and enjoy that mellow buzz.