Want to learn about matcha and how to make matcha at home? We’re going to cover everything from the basics like what it is to the different quality grades and I’ll share the secrets to a killer homemade latte.

The Ultimate Guide to Matcha

Making matcha at home may seem daunting at first, but I guarantee it’s not only easy to do, but also the best way to enjoy. At cafés, you’re paying a premium for a poorly whisked latte and a high probability of clumps at the bottom of the drink. You’ll not only save yourself some money but will probably end up with a much tastier latte!

Nowadays, matcha is becoming more and more popular but it’s important to note that not all matcha is good. Yup! I said it. Growing up, I would drink it with my oba-chan (grandma, in Japanese) and when I tried my first Starbucks matcha I was so surprised by what I tasted. My standards are definitely a little up there, but the contrast between a good and bad can make all the difference.

Think about it like you would coffee. There’s such a wide range of blends, roasts and types of coffee you can enjoy. So, before you decide you’re not a fan of it, make sure you give a really good matcha a shot first.

I’m going to walk you through the entire process of making it at home, including how to find quality matcha powder, and what tools you need.

Iced matcha latte

What is Matcha?

Matcha is a finely ground powder of green tea leaves. It differs from green tea in that you’re consuming the entirety of the leaves, versus just steeping tea leaves. Naturally, the flavour is much more intense and bold.

The consumption actually originated in China, however it was brought by Myoan Eisai, a Japanese Buddhist monk, back to Japan where it was then popularized. As it gained popularity in Japan, it became an integral part of Japanese culture. Today matcha is enjoyed as part of Japanese Tea Ceremonies, also known as chado.

Varieties of Green Tea

Matcha actually comes from the same tree as sencha, gyokuro, genmaicha, houjicha, green tea and even oolong and black tea. The difference comes from the time of harvest as well as as the processing and fermentation methods which influence the variety you end up with as well as the price and quality. The first harvest yields tea leaves appropriate for sencha, which is a brewed tea and ceremonial matcha. Later in the summer, the second harvest yields culinary matcha which is less nutrient rich (as it is the second harvest of the year) and a lower grade of matcha. Finally, the third harvest is typically used for commercial drink products, like bottled tea.

Tea leaves for matcha require a very specific climate to be grown. They are shade grown, most commonly in mountainous tea regions in Japan like Shizuoka, Uji, Wazuka and Kagoshima. What makes these regions ideal for tea growing is the access to shade and mineral rich soil. Shade and/or fog are important when growing antioxidant rich tea because exposure to too much sunshine imparts bitterness.

How is Matcha Made?

Right after harvest, green tea leaves are steamed and then fermentation is stopped. They are then dried several times by machines to remove the moisture and finely ground into a powder.

Caffeine in Matcha vs. Coffee

One of the most common questions is about how the caffeine content compares to the caffeine content in coffee. Most people do not realize that the caffeine content in a serving of matcha can actually be equivalent and sometimes higher than the caffeine content in one serving of coffee. On average, an 8oz serving of matcha can contain about 25-75mg of caffeine but the caffeine tends to be much more tolerable than in coffee. This is because of L-theanine which aids in the slower, sustained release of energy with no sudden crash. For this reason, Buddhist monk Eisai described the feeling matcha provided as a “calm alertness”.

In addition to L-theanine, matcha contains EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) a powerful catechin, chlorophyll and more.

Matcha Health Benefits 

Matcha is commonly advertised for its potential to prevent cancer and neutralize free radicals in the body and it is said to aid in weight loss as a metabolism booster as it supports sustained energy levels. All of these potential health benefits are tied to the amino acids as mentioned above.

Culinary vs. Ceremonial Grade Matcha

The difference between culinary and ceremonial grade come down to price and quality. As mentioned earlier, culinary comes from the second harvest of the year, where as ceremonial grade is the premium, first harvest.

The flavour difference and colour difference can be stark between the two. You may notice that culinary powder can take on almost a yellow/brown and very dull green colour whereas ceremonial grade is rich, vibrant and deep in green colour. Culinary tends to be much more bitter, and can even have a slight fishy taste to it.

My recommendation for anyone drinking matcha would be to drink ceremonial grade. You will not only be consuming the most nutrient, but also the best flavour and colour. Even though the name “culinary” may suggest that it is better for cooking purposes, the colour and flavour are much more dull, so I would still recommend ceremonial grade.

One very important tip I’ll share with you is that ceremonial grade matcha can still vary in its quality. As long as it is harvested first and processed correctly, it could be ceremonial, but you want to make sure you’re purchasing from tea families specializing in proper growing and processing.

One last thing to note: matcha powder should contain only one ingredient–matcha. Look out for powders with added corn starch or wonky ingredients.

Matcha powder scoop Veggiekins Blog

Where to Buy Quality Matcha

I purchase the majority of my matcha from Ippodo tea, which is a traditional Japanese family owned brand over 300 years old. The tea is grown in Kyoto, which is a region known for producing the best quality. My oba-chan turned me onto Ippodo, and they have a great selection of different kinds of matcha. They also list their varieties from richer to lighter and taste notes for each type.

Other brands I enjoy include Kettl and Matchaful.

Is Organic and Third Party Tested Matcha Important?

Because you’re consuming the whole leaf, it can be important to look for an organic tea. One thing to know is that in Japan, there is something called JAS certification but it is not recognized by the FDA in the United States. If you see JAS, you can rest assured, even of “organic” is not printed on the label. Many families in the tea growing regions do not want to pay for JAS or FDA organic certifications despite the fact that they are not using any pesticides and are growing by the guidelines, so ultimately it is up to you. If you’re drinking it daily, it could be good to consider.

As it is grown in Japan, radiation contamination, lead, and chemical pesticides are concerns, so most matcha is third party tested.

How to Store Your Matcha

As we know, matcha is sensitive to the sun! It is therefore typically packaged in metal tins or opaque paper bags to keep the sun out. For best freshness you can also store it in the fridge or freezer and it’s common to find a silica packet or other drying agent in your tin of matcha to keep out any moisture. When using, be sure to close the lid right after use and always keep dry. You can store it in a cool dark place in your kitchen if you don’t want to refrigrate or freeze.

It’s best not to purchase large quantities at once because the freshness tends to fade, but if you find yourself not able to make it through your supply fast enough, then the fridge/freezer is your best friend.

Must Have Tools

The basic tools I recommend using are listed below. Ippodo carries a great selection of matcha tools as well, which are made to last, when cared for properly. I’ll also include a few fun items that are not necessities, but nice-to-haves. These tools do absolutely change the end result of your drink, so if you’re asking yourself if it’s worth it, my answer would generally be yes! Investing in all of your tools and a good matcha powder usually ends up saving you money when compared to buying a matcha latte at a cafe regularly.

Bamboo Tea Ladle or Scoop

This will provide the perfect serving, and is a beautiful traditional tool. If you prefer, you can scoop matcha powder by the teaspoon as well (typically 1 tsp-2 tsp per serving). This tool is also important for pushing your matcha through your tea sifter.

Tea Sifter

This tool is the first step to removing clumps. Matcha powder naturally will clump as it sits together, so breaking it up initially is key. If you don’t have a tea sifter, you can also dry whisk the powder with the bamboo whisk to help remove clumps too. I did this when my tea sifter was broken and it works alright as a substitute. I recommend against skipping this step as it will help to aerate your tea too.

 

Tea Tools Veggiekins Blog

Bamboo Whisk

A tool essential for whisking out clump properly, and also adding froth to your drink. A whisk with a higher count of threads will be more effective. Some people like to use an electric whisk, milk frother, blender or even a metal cooking whisk but I have tested all methods out and stand by the bamboo whisk being the best tool! There’s a reason why it’s used in japan 😉

Whisk Stand

Personally, this is a tool I think is worth investing in. Bamboo whisks can mold if not dried properly, and crack or dry out of shape. To take proper care of your whisk, rinse and clean after use and then store on a stand to preserve shape as it dries. You can also watch this video for more information on proper whisk care.

Bamboo Whisk Veggiekins Blog

Tea Bowl (Chawan)

You can use most bowls to whisk your tea, but I recommend one with higher walls, so you can whisk without fear of spilling. I always like to use a bowl with a spout, to make pouring easier.

making matcha at home veggiekins

How to Make Matcha at Home

Once you have a high quality powder and the right tools to work with you can begin. The basic process for preparing the matcha is the same for most drinks (whether a hot or iced latte, simple iced matcha or even a fancy mixed drink). You can compare it to preparing a shot of espresso–the fun happens after the shot is ready!

  1. Heat roughly 1/4 cup of water per serving over a stovetop or in a kettle and remove from heat just before it boils. Aim for hot, but not boiling, water.
  2. Place your tea sifter over your bowl, and sift a serving of matcha powder, roughly 1-2 tsp, over the tea sifter. Use the back of the ladle to push the powder through the sifter into the bowl.
  3. Pour hot water into the bowl and make back and forth motions with your bamboo whisk (an M shape), being sure to whisk to cover all of the surface area. Whisk until no clumps remain, and matcha is slightly frothy.
  4. Enjoy as is or and add hot or iced water to drink it straight. For a latte, add warmed mylk, or mylk and ice cubes and enjoy. If you like your matcha lightly sweetened, you can add sweetener as desired. I recommend using a liquid sweetener or making a simple syrup with sugar of choice for best results.

How Much Milk? How Much Water?

I am often asked what the right ratio of water to tea or tea to milk is. The answer is it will vary by person so experiment and see what you enjoy best! Think of it like coffee–do you prefer a milkier, creamier latte or something lighter and grassier? If you like it sweet, add sweetener!

Latte Pour Veggiekins Blog

Other Ways to Enjoy 

Once you have the basics down you can start to experiment with ways to enjoy. Incorporate into your favourite desserts, drinks and more! Here are some of my favourite tea-infused recipes you can try:

If you try these tips, tag me on Instagram @veggiekins so I can see what you whisk, and for a chance to be featured! As always, I love when you share your reviews in the comments below, and if you found this guide helpful, please let me know!

making matcha at home veggiekins

353

Filed under: Drinks, Eat

share this post:

BY Remy • September 16, 2019

How To Make Matcha at Home & Matcha 101

making matcha at home veggiekins

leave a comment

  1. Hello! On a mission to create the perfect matcha, so thank you for your post! I am following your directions, but the frothiness of the matcha seems to disappear when I add the matcha to more hot water. Is that normal? Thank you!
    • Remy says:
      HI Kelsey! Yes can be normal, I'd say add your hot water first then pour your whisked matcha on top to preserve some of the froth :)
  2. Brianna says:
    Thanks for the information. I was just wondering, which variety of Ippodo matcha do you use? I love the variety, but I'm not sure which would be the best for me to try first. I am looking for matcha that's very flavorful, grassy, and has umami but not a lot of bitterness.
    • Remy says:
      Hi Brianna! I usually switch between a few (I also love to try when they have new seasonal varietals) but this guide on my IG Story Highlights might be helpful!
  3. Nasya says:
    Hi! I was wondering how much milk you should use, and what kind of milk do you recommend. Also can I use maple syrup as a sweetener? What should I use if I don't have a bamboo whisk? Thank Youu
    • Remy says:
      Use as much as you'd like and whatever milk you'd like. It's up to your taste preference, do as you would with a regular coffee based latte :) Same with sweetener, use whatever you'd like and what tastes good to you. Unfortunately, you do need a whisk to prepare matcha so I don't have any alternative recommendations. If you blend it up in a high power blender, it might work but will likely clump once it settles again.
  4. Mia says:
    Hi Remy I was wondering if it is possible to store prewhisked matcha in the fridge, like making a small batch of it from 4-5 teaspoons in the morning and using it throughout the day just pouring it over the milk? Thank you!
    • Remy says:
      Hi Mia! I wouldn't recommend that because matcha does settle and separate when it sits for a long time (even if you're having a latte and take over an hour to enjoy, for example).
  5. Laura says:
    This was very helpfull! I've got a bamboo whisk now, yay :)
  6. jess says:
    Thank you for turning me on to Ippodo! I tried Horai last year and am working through Sayaka now. I have definitely been through some less than stellar matcha and now I feel like Ippodo spoils me for choice.
  7. Kelly says:
    Is there a quick and easy “just add water” matcha latte product that you’d recommend (like clevr blends or other)? Just had a baby and suddenly lost all the morning time, but could especially use some matcha!
    • Remy says:
      Personally I don't use any just add water products so can't recommend but Ito En sells a bottled plain iced matcha.
  8. Cat says:
    Hi Remy, Thank you for sharing! Is it ok to heat the water for matcha in a stainless steel tea kettle? Do you know about how long a container of Ippodo lasts for you drinking daily? Also, does the matcha need to be refrigerated? Thanks!
    • Remy says:
      Hi yes! Totally ok. As for the Ippodo, about a month for me, and it doesn't if you consume it quickly but for freshness it never hurts to store in the fridge or freezer.
  9. Kristin says:
    So glad I found your videos! I started drinking matcha a few months ago and am hooked. I love the meditative aspect of preparation. Do I need to soak my whisk before each use? How long do the 20 and 40 oz containers of matcha from the website listed last if you have a cup a day? Also, how do you properly care for/clean your whisk? I typically just rinse mine and put it on its little stand to dry. I've been having a frothed latte daily but can't wait to try iced now that the warmer weather is coming!
  10. Katie says:
    Hi Remy! Thank you so much for all your wonderful content! My twin sister and I had to become mostly gf and df and your content have been a great help to us on our health and wellness journey - Especially at 18 it is really great to have such a positive role model :) I was wondering : are the characters of the Ippodo matcha obvious? And which one would you suggest? I like matcha but I've never had a high quality one before and am not sure what to get. They all look so good! Thanks so much!
    • Remy says:
      Hi Katie! You can find descriptions for each of the matcha varieties on the website and there's also a little quiz you can take to fin the right one for you :)
  11. Shamiez Nasser says:
    Hi Remy, Where is your bowl from? I don't see it on the Ippodo site.
  12. Olivia Hass says:
    Hi, is there other high quality matchas that are more affordable that you would suggest?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

read more —>

Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.

meet remy

Some brands I’ve had the pleasure of working with…

follow along
@veggiekins

COPYRIGHT © 2020 Veggiekins    ☼    Website by Sunday Stories

COPYRIGHT © 2020 Veggiekins   ☼   Website by Sunday Stories