You may recognize matcha from its recent popularity on coffee-shop menus. But the beverage has a long and meaningful history in Japan, where it’s been part of the traditional tea ceremony since around the 12th century.
Unlike many other types of green tea, matcha is prepared by whisking powdered tea leaves into hot water. As a result, the brew contains the nutrients of the entire leaf — including high concentrations of antioxidants and amino acids. It also has a very distinctive flavor: deeply vegetal and both savory and slightly sweet.
It’s not difficult to make a cup of matcha at home. Traditional matcha tools include a special bamboo matcha whisk, a tea strainer, and a tea bowl that you can use to both make and serve the matcha, but you can certainly make do with a small wire whisk, a fine-mesh strainer, and a heatproof bowl. You’ll also need measuring spoons and an instant-read thermometer.
Makes one serving
- 12 oz. water
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. Japanese matcha powder, depending on desired strength
- Heat water to a full boil, then pour half of it into a small heatproof bowl. Place the small wire whisk in the bowl, allowing the hot water to warm both the bowl and the whisk. Set remaining water aside to cool to 170 degrees F.
- Once the bowl and whisk are warm, empty the water from the bowl and dry the bowl completely with a towel.
- Place a fine-mesh strainer over the dried bowl and sift the matcha powder into the bowl, using the back of a spoon to force it through the strainer if necessary. This step helps keep the powder from clumping.
- When the remaining 6 ounces of water is 170 degrees F or slightly less, pour about 1 ounce of water into the bowl and gently whisk water and matcha to combine.
- Slowly add remaining water, whisking continuously to incorporate. Whisk vigorously for another 20 seconds to dissolve the powder and create a thick foam. Drink tea directly from the bowl or pour it into a mug for serving.