Matcha Matcha Matcha!
OK, I’m giving in. You Steepsterites have convinced me. I will try matcha.
But I need your help. What type of matcha tools do you recommend – bamboo (natural) or metal, etc?
Is there a certain bowl you think is best?
Do I really need a bowl stand?
What are the flavors (in addition to the plain) that I should start with, as a beginner?
What are the best matcha companies to buy from? I’m guessing Red Leaf Tea, but are there any others you’d recommend?
What’s the best way to store the matcha, if it is sold in pouches?
Got any favorite matcha recipes to share?
Thanks guys! :)
Fair warning: I am not a huge matcha fan so my ‘warnings’ come from the negative side a bit. To be taken with a grain of salt – or a pinch of matcha. : )
I overbought in terms of tools and flavours when I started out with matcha and now regret that investment as I don’t like it a whole lot. I would suggest waiting on tool purchases and try doing it in a regular bowl or mug with a fork, whisk, immersion blender or whatever you have on hand. I understand shaking in a jar works well too!
As for the matcha itself, you need to have enough to try a few times but not so much that you’re stuck with lots of it if it disagrees with you for some reason – headache, taste aversion, nausea, whatever. That way if all goes well and you love it, you can buy more matcha and get the tools but if something doesn’t pan out you haven’t invested a lot into equipment you don’t need and tea you don’t like. My $0.02!
I just tried some after seeing all the reviews and I honestly didn’t like it but I’m going to try it again. . .do you want me to send you some? I got some of the Mocha Matcha from Red Leaf.
I even tried it in a latte and it just didn’t do it for me. . .but neither did green tea when I first tried it now I’m addicted. . .
@Joe – it might be that flavour that didn’t do it for you. I’ve tried the mocha matcha and while I enjoy it, it’s not what I would call one of Red Leaf’s best flavours. I’m also very much all about not having straight matcha haha.
@Uniquity – thank you for your insight! I don’t want to go overboard either. I have WAY too much tea as it is. I have like three filled cabinets. I’ll hold off on the tools then, and try your tricks first. THANK YOU :) :)
@JoeCool (Nichole) – sure! PM me so I can send you something in return. :)
I don’t own any matcha tools (oops). I have tried 2 so far from Red Leaf. I LOVE the caramel one. I have been making mine as iced lattes. I just mix em up in my cocktail shaker lol
I like the robust flavouring because I like in your face flavour.
I’m excited for you to start on your Matcha journey!
As others have mentioned I think you should hold off on purchasing matcha accessories until you are sure that it is something you want to invest into.
Unfortunately, alot of the matcha accessories online are greatly overpriced. It is a travesty really. At KaiMatcha we are actually working on developing a matcha “Starter Kit”. The kit would include a ceramic matcha bowl, bamboo matcha whisk, ceramic whisk holder, stainless steel measuring spoon, stainless steel sifter, and a 30g can of KaiMatcha Premium. We are hoping to price it around $50. We are trying to get it together for the holiday shopping season this year.
Until then, feel free to utilize the exclusive coupon code we created for Steepster members. Simply use the coupon code STEEPSTEROCT at checkout to receive 15% off your entire order. This offer is only valid for the month of October. You can learn more about KaiMatcha Premium at http://www.kaimatcha.com/buy.
Good luck on your matcha adventure! Everyone I know that has tried matcha get’s hooked instantly!
I LOVE my Kaimatcha. It is really great. I don’t have real tools yet. I used my small cereal bowl and a metal kitchen whisk. For plain matcha, I think a bamboo whisk would be more efficient for making froth.
Red Leaf has some excellent flavored matcha, and since I use it for lattes, I use my immersion blender. My daughter is using her aerolatte and loves it. She says it works great for matcha.
I have the Aerolatte ($16) that ashmanra recommended and if you are making hot or cold lattes with flavored matchas and almond or soy milk, like I do with the Red Leaf matchas, it works great to make it very foamy. I got a bamboo whisk made in Japan from Arbor Teas. They and Uptons have the best prices I could find for Japanese made whisks (about $16), most are made in China these days. The whisk is good if you really get into the unflavored matchas made in the traditional way. The Arbor Tea whisk comes in a container that you can use for storage and helps the whisk hold it’s shape. The whisk is not a necessity though, so like others have said, don’t invest a lot of $ until you see how much you like matcha and what your preferred way of drinking it is. Lots of people seem to like shaking it up in a water bottle. KaiMatcha is a matcha brand I want to try-it gets great reviews.
@tattooed_tea – I agree on the “in your face flavor” – I prefer that as well.
@KaiMatcha – thanks! I’ll add the tool to my holiday list (for myself) and maybe I can include it in my blog’s holiday guide? Thanks for the coupon code too – I’ll place an order next week. :)
Yes, that would be great if you could include it in your holiday guide. When will you be releasing it?
I will make a discussion thread on here once we launch the “Starter Kit”.
I just noticed.. is this subject thread a reference to “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!”
If so, very clever!
Speaking of matcha references… Not sure how many of you know the song “Macho Man” by the village people. But any time i make matcha (so like every morning?) I’m generally humming it under my breath but with the words
Matcha matcha man! I want to have my matcha man! sigh yeah I’m a dork lol
I have tried Red Leaf and Kaimatcha
my experience – Red Leaf’s delicate is good for a traditional cup of matcha with a slight twist. Distinctive is a good never fail option so you can enjoy both straight up and lattes. Robust is great for lattes, sometimes too overpowering for a regular cup with no milk or sugar. I prefer desserty matchas as robust and fruit as distinctive.
I LOVE Kaimatcha’s matcha! I’d say that be the best first matcha to get, it’s fool proof, doesn’t need sifting. I dump the matcha in a tumbler with ice water, stir and it’s done! This matcha also froths very easy.
Gear, I started with a small wire whisk, tea strainer (as a sifter) and a wide mug. For iced and non kaimatcha I use a bottle blender (used for protein smoothies).
While the KaiMatcha doesn’t need sifting, I’d still recommend sifting it, the aeration is important for the Matcha… but then again, this is for a hot bowl of Matcha as I don’t typically drink my Matcha cold. I might have to try it that way!
I tried sifting if the first time I tried making it, and it just fell right through my sifter! Totally boggled my mind lol!
I agree with Uniquity and JoeCool … I wouldn’t recommend buying all the tools just yet. You can easily use any bowl (If you have a ceramic one that is better because it will help retain the heat of the tea a bit better) and you can use a metal whisk, or even just a fork or a blender to mix it. I prefer the bamboo whisk because it does result in a nice amount of froth, but, even with that, it took me a while and a great deal of using the bamboo whisk before I was achieving a good amount of froth and I think that requires a bit of dedication to the Matcha itself … and if you don’t like it, there’s no real point in being dedicated to achieving a frothy cap on the Matcha, right?
I LOVE my matcha bowl and my matcha whisk. And they’re not just gadgets to me because I love Matcha … but, for someone who is new to it, while I USED to strongly recommend getting the tools, I no longer do. After my favorite bowl broke a few months ago, I came to realize that I can use a ceramic cereal bowl and it works just fine. I did replace my Matcha bowl … but I could have managed fine without doing so. I prefer a traditional Matcha bowl because I like the feel of it in my hands. But, again, this really would be something I wouldn’t experience if I didn’t like Matcha … so again, find out if you like it before dropping a lot of money on a Matcha bowl.
Basically, what is important is to first try it and see if you’re going to like it before you invest a great deal into it. If you do like it, you’ll probably want these tools but until then, they’re needless gadgets, and unless you’re really in to gadgets there’s no need to spend the money on them.
About the Matcha itself: while some of the flavors out there are amazing too and you should try whichever ones interest you, I would also recommend trying some pure Matcha (the one from KaiMatcha is amazing) to really discover Matcha.
I just re-read your original post… by “bowl stand” do you mean the Matcha whisk stand? If so … I still don’t have one. I was in whole foods yesterday and I was thisclose to buying one for myself because it does (or so I’ve heard) help keep the whisk in good condition. But I’ve been whisking Matcha now for years and I still have my same whisk (It does need replacing at some point soon though), and no whisk stand … so no… you don’t need it.
Other companies with flavored Matcha that I’d recommend: Shanti Tea has some great flavors too.
Flavors that you should start with: My favorites are the caramel, boysenberry, tiramisu and the cotton candy.
When purchased in pouches (this is how I purchase my Matcha) you should empty the pouch into a tin.
As far as when you’re ready to purchase a bowl, I prefer to buy mine on Etsy because I’m an artist and I like to support artisans by purchasing directly from them. Here’s one of my favorite ceramic artists on Etsy, and he made the bowl I’m currently using: http://www.etsy.com/shop/GuerreroCeramics
Favorite Recipe: I love adding my Matcha to my smoothies. I just add a heaping teaspoon to the blender when I’m making a smoothie. Turns the smoothie a weird color most of the time, but, it tastes amazing.
Unflavored Matcha recommendations: KaiMatcha, as it’s been already recommended and DoMatcha.
Thank you for all your insight! I do have some smaller ceramic bowls. I’m a Fiestaware fanatic & collector so I’m sure I have some bowls that will suffice.
Then if I decide I like matcha and want all the gadgets, etc, I’ll check out etsy too. Perfect – I too love to support artists, small biz owners, etc. :) I didn’t even think to check there, so thanks for that hot tip.
Cotton. Candy. Matcha?! You sold me.
I saw a bowl stand on one site but now I can’t find it. I think it may have been part of a tea ceremony or something. Maybe it was the whisk stand, but if you don’t have one, and you’re not only a reliable teaist but a matcha fan, I guess I won’t need one either. ;)
Adding matcha to smoothies is definitely a plan of mine, once I make a decision about matcha. I may have to ask you for some of your fave smoothie recipes too. :)
Thank you so much for all the valuable insight! :)
I store my matcha in the fridge away from strong smelling foods and tightly contained. Wish I could give you brand recommendations but my matcha is completely in Japanese. I buy it from a local tea shop. One thing I can recommend is to go for Ceremonial Grade right from the start. Matcha is the only type of tea that I buy just for myself because we don’t sell it on our website. I’m strongly thinking about giving KaiMatcha a try because of the fantastic reviews I’ve seen of their product. I wouldn’t recommend getting the whole set up from the start. You could end up investing a lot and not really be that interested. Also, if you do find you really enjoy matcha then its better to start off slowly purchasing pieces you really like rather than waste money on beginner kits.
OH yes… Stacy makes a very important point… the one important thing TO invest in (if you don’t already have it) is a good tin to store the Matcha in. Keeping it fresh is very important. Fortunately, that’s relatively an inexpensive purchase if you don’t already have tins on hand.
Yes, definitely a good container.
Also wanted to add that I have an extreme obsession with Hagi ware. Mmmmm, pretty. Anyone else love Hagi? I really want this one, if only it was cheaper: http://www.ebay.com/itm/c1720-SEIGAN-Large-ONI-HAGI-Tea-Bowl-w-Notched-Foot-/370451978246?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5640a89806
OMG – I love that bowl! I definitely could not justify that expense though. I was worried that my husband would flip his lid if he found out that my current bowl cost me just under $30 … that is why he does not know that it cost me just under $30. :)
I do love that bowl though, and I can see why it would be an obsession! Gorgeous!!!
Thank you for your input – good to know on the tins, especially. I have some tins, but not too many, and I think I’d want a new, clean one for the matcha instead of reusing some of my other ones.
That bowl is so cool!! I would totally rock it out if it wasn’t more than half of my rent. ;) I can justify Fiestaware purchases to the husband since he can use them too, but I highly doubt he would be on board with that purchase since he doesn’t drink much tea. And what would happen if you broke it?! I would cry, that’s what, and I’m not a big crier at all!
Hmm…maybe I will purchase a “special Fiesta bowl” just for my matcha… Not that I need it, but you never know… ;)
KeenTeaThyme-Make sure it is air tight. One way I like to test this is to put water in the tin and see if it will leak out.
LiberTEAS-I’m so in love with it. I do have a really nice white hagi piece but man that one gets me every time I see it. I think the most I’ve spent on a chawan is $230ish but the $600 range is just too much. The husband and I are both collectors so we have this unspoken rule not to ask each other how much we spent on something. Here is a fuzzy pic of my white hagi piece: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.481943398494893.102591.100000377107182&type=1. Not too bad either, it was priced around $60.