How to Drink Matcha: A Beginner's Guide to Enjoying This Vibrant Green Tea

How to Drink Matcha: A Beginner's Guide to Enjoying This Vibrant Green Tea

Written by: Mécène Market

|

|

Time to read 8 min

Matcha, a vibrant green tea powder, has been gaining immense popularity in health and wellness circles. This finely ground powder, made from specially grown and processed green tea leaves, is celebrated for its unique flavor and impressive health benefits.


Originating from traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, matcha has a rich cultural significance and is now enjoyed worldwide in various forms, from traditional tea to matcha lattes and desserts.

Experience the tranquility of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony with matcha – a ritual of mindfulness and appreciation.

What is Matcha?

Matcha is a type of green tea made by finely grinding young tea leaves into a bright green powder. Unlike regular green tea, where leaves are steeped and then discarded, matcha involves consuming the entire leaf, providing a more potent source of nutrients and antioxidants.


The unique process of shading the tea plants before harvest increases chlorophyll levels, giving matcha its distinctive vibrant green color and enhancing its flavor profile, which includes a rich umami taste.

Matcha Green Tea Health Benefits

Drinking matcha offers numerous health benefits, making it a popular choice for health-conscious individuals. Here are some key benefits:


  • Rich in Antioxidants: Matcha contains high levels of antioxidants, especially catechins, which help combat free radicals in the body, reducing oxidative stress and lowering the risk of chronic diseases.

  • Boosts Metabolism: Matcha can help increase your metabolism, making it easier to burn calories and lose weight.

  • Enhances Mood and Concentration: Matcha's combination of caffeine and L-theanine provides a calm yet alert mental state, improving focus and cognitive function.

  • Supports Heart Health: Regular consumption of matcha green tea can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease.

  • Detoxifies the Body: The chlorophyll in matcha helps detoxify the body by removing heavy metals and harmful chemicals.

  • Improves Skin Health: The antioxidants in matcha can help improve skin elasticity, reduce inflammation, and protect against UV damage.

  • Enhances Immunity: Matcha is rich in vitamins and minerals that support the immune system, helping to fend off illnesses and infections.

Essential Tools and Ingredients

TOOLS NEEDED

To prepare matcha correctly, you'll need a few essential tools. 


A matcha whisk (chasen) is crucial for whisking the powder into a smooth, frothy beverage. A matcha bowl (chawan) provides the ideal shape and size for whisking, and a measuring spoon helps ensure the correct amount of matcha powder is used. 


These tools are integral to achieving the perfect texture and flavor in your matcha tea.


SELECTING YOUR MATCHA

Choosing the right matcha powder is essential for an enjoyable drinking experience. Here are some tips to help you select high-quality matcha:

Ceremonial Grade Matcha

  • Made from the youngest tea leaves and offers a superior taste with a vibrant green color.
  • Ideal for traditional tea ceremonies and drinking straight.

Culinary Grade Matcha

  • Suitable for cooking and baking and may have a more bitter taste.

  • It still provides health benefits but is not as delicate in flavor as a ceremonial grade.

Essential tools for preparing matcha – discover the art of whisking this vibrant green tea to perfection.

When selecting matcha, pay attention to its color, aroma, texture, and packaging. Look for a bright, vibrant green color, as dull or brownish matcha indicates lower quality.


High-quality matcha should have a fresh, grassy aroma; avoid matcha that smells stale or off. The powder should be fine and silky to the touch, with gritty or coarse matcha being a sign of poor quality.


Matcha should be stored in airtight containers to preserve its freshness and prevent oxidation. Opt for matcha that is packaged in small quantities to ensure you are consuming it at its freshest.

Preparing Your Matcha

TRADITIONAL METHOD


The traditional Japanese method of preparing matcha is a meditative practice that has been refined over centuries:


  1. Sift your matcha powder using a fine mesh sieve into your matcha bowl to prevent clumps and ensure a smooth tea.

  2. Add hot water —just under boiling—to the bowl. Use about 70-80 ml of water for every 2 grams of matcha powder.

  3. Whisk vigorously with your bamboo whisk in a W or M motion until the tea is frothy and there are no visible clumps. This step is crucial for activating the full flavor and creating the signature froth that matcha is known for.

MODERN TWISTS


Matcha can be incorporated into various modern beverages, adding a unique flavor and a boost of antioxidants. 


Here are some popular ways to enjoy matcha in contemporary drinks:


  • Matcha Latte: Combine 1-2 teaspoons of matcha powder with a small amount of hot water and whisk until frothy. Add steamed milk (dairy or plant-based) and sweeten with honey, sugar, or other sweeteners to taste.


  • Matcha Smoothie: Blend 1 teaspoon of matcha powder with your favorite fruits, a cup of milk or yogurt, and a few drops of maple syrup or other sweeteners. This makes for a delicious and nutritious smoothie.


  • Matcha Shake: Mix matcha powder with milk, ice cream, and a little sugar for a refreshing and indulgent treat.


  • Iced Matcha: Dissolve matcha powder in a small amount of hot water, then add cold water and ice. Sweeten as desired for a refreshing iced matcha drink.

Create a creamy and delicious matcha latte at home – a modern twist on traditional matcha.

Proper Techniques for Drinking Matcha

Sipping Matcha the Traditional Way

Drinking matcha in a traditional setting is a practice steeped in etiquette and ritual, reflecting the tea's cultural significance.


Before beginning, ensure all your matcha tools, including the tea bowl (chawan), whisk (chasen), and spoon, are clean and ready. Prepare the matcha by following the traditional method, whisking the powder with hot water to create a smooth, frothy tea. Once the matcha is ready, it is customary to admire the tea bowl.


Hold the bowl with both hands, appreciating its design and craftsmanship before taking a sip. Take small, mindful sips, savoring the rich umami flavor and the vibrant green color of the tea. This process is not just about drinking matcha but also about appreciating the moment and the effort put into its preparation.


After finishing the tea, it is polite to thank the host and clean the tea bowl and whisk, which completes the ritual.

Enjoying Matcha in Daily Life

When drinking matcha traditionally, it is customary to enjoy the tea slowly, savoring each sip to appreciate the full range of flavors and the serene experience it offers.


The practice encourages mindfulness and presence—a perfect reflection of Mecene’s ethos of living passionately and savoring every moment.

Flavor Enhancements and Variations

Matcha has a distinctive flavor that can range from slightly bitter to pleasantly sweet, and adjusting the taste to suit individual preferences is straightforward.


If you find matcha too bitter, consider adding a sweetener to balance the flavors. Common options include honey, maple syrup, or sugar. For those seeking a healthier alternative, stevia or agave nectar can be excellent choices.


You can experiment with adding milk or milk substitutes, such as almond or oat milk, to create a smoother and creamier texture, resulting in a delightful matcha latte.


The key is to start with small amounts and adjust gradually until you find the perfect balance that suits your palate.

CREATIVE MATCHA RECIPES


Exploring different ways to enjoy matcha can add variety to your routine and highlight its versatility. Here are a few simple recipes to get you started:


  • Matcha Latte: Whisk 1-2 teaspoons of matcha powder with a small amount of hot water until frothy. Add steamed milk of your choice and sweeten to taste.


  • Matcha Smoothie: Blend 1 teaspoon of matcha powder with a banana, a handful of spinach, a cup of almond milk, and a few drops of maple syrup for a nutritious and delicious smoothie.


  • Matcha Energy Balls: Mix matcha powder with oats, honey, and almond butter. Roll into small balls and refrigerate for a convenient and healthy snack.


  • Matcha Ice Cream: Combine matcha powder with your favorite ice cream base for a refreshing and unique dessert. This can be a fun and tasty way to introduce matcha to friends and family.

Start your day with a nutritious matcha brownie – packed with antioxidants and flavor.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Preparation Errors

Preparing matcha correctly is essential to enjoy its full flavor and benefits. Common mistakes include using water that is too hot, which can make the matcha taste bitter. Ensure the water temperature is around 175°F (80°C) before mixing with the powder.


Another frequent error is not sifting the matcha, leading to clumps that can ruin the texture. Always sift the matcha powder before adding water to ensure a smooth drink.


Additionally, avoid using too much matcha powder; 1-2 teaspoons per serving is sufficient. Overloading the powder can result in an overpowering taste that might be unpleasant.

Storage Tips

Proper storage is crucial to maintaining the freshness, flavor, and health benefits of matcha. Matcha should be stored in an airtight container to protect it from light, heat, and moisture.


To prevent oxidation, keep the container in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or refrigerator. It's also advisable to buy matcha in smaller quantities to ensure it is consumed while still fresh.


Matcha's vibrant green color and distinctive flavor are best preserved when it is kept away from direct sunlight and humidity. By following these storage tips, you can enjoy a perfect cup of matcha every time.

Conclusion: How to Drink Matcha

Drinking matcha is a delightful experience that offers numerous health benefits and a unique flavor profile.


From traditional Japanese tea ceremonies to modern lattes and smoothies, matcha's versatility allows for endless experimentation. Start by trying a simple matcha tea to familiarize yourself with its taste, and then gradually explore more elaborate preparations and recipes.


Enjoy the process of discovering your favorite ways to drink matcha, and embrace the vibrant energy and wellness that come with this exceptional green tea.

MEET THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Pendleton

Dr. James Pendleton is a primary care physician specializing in a naturopathic approach to family medicine. He has nurtured a family practice in Seattle, directed a VIP medical center in Abu Dhabi, published several books and scientific articles, and designed innovative nutritional supplements for manufacturers worldwide.

REFERENCES

  1. Weiss, D. J., & Anderton, C. R. (2003). Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography. Journal of chromatography. A, 1011(1-2), 173–180. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0021-9673(03)01133-6

  2. Bryan J. (2008). Psychological effects of dietary components of tea: caffeine and L-theanine. Nutrition reviews, 66(2), 82–90. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2007.00011.x

  3. Dulloo, A. G., Duret, C., Rohrer, D., Girardier, L., Mensi, N., Fathi, M., Chantre, P., & Vandermander, J. (1999). Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 70(6), 1040–1045. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/70.6.1040

  4. Kuriyama, S. (2008, August 1). The Relation between Green Tea Consumption and Cardiovascular Disease as Evidenced by Epidemiological Studies. The Journal of Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/138.8.1548s

  5. Kochman, J., Jakubczyk, K., Antoniewicz, J., Mruk, H., & Janda, K. (2020). Health Benefits and Chemical Composition of Matcha Green Tea: A Review. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 26(1), 85. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26010085

  6. Sokary, S., Al-Asmakh, M., Zakaria, Z., & Bawadi, H. (2022). The therapeutic potential of matcha tea: A critical review on human and animal studies. Current research in food science, 6, 100396. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crfs.2022.11.015

  7. Heinrich, U., Moore, C. E., De Spirt, S., Tronnier, H., & Stahl, W. (2011). Green tea polyphenols provide photoprotection, increase microcirculation, and modulate skin properties of women. The Journal of nutrition, 141(6), 1202–1208. https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.110.136465