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BoxerMama said

Matcha Questions

I’m currently just getting into Matcha. I do have a few questions though, I keep mine in my freezer because I read that I should, but why do I?
What is the notable differences between a basic grade and premium grade?
I don’t sift mine, should I and why?
Does anyone sweeten theirs? I have yet to sweeten a cup of matcha, I do add steamed milk more often than not though.
Is there anything else to know?
Thank you, tea aficionados!

13 Replies

I have heard that you should not keep it not he freezer as it degrades the quality of the tea. YouSHOULD however keep unopened cans of matcha in the fridge , once opened dont put it in the fridge. Cold temps in the fridge protect it from heat damage. Damage can be cause but heat, light, and oxygen. Unopened cans are safe from the last two. Heat will cause tea to go stale and turn brown, oxygen oxidizes the tea.
Premium grade is subtler and sweeter. Example: matcha one I can use a whole teaspoon to make a bowl of matha but matcha two I can use a maximum of. 1/4 tsp to make a bowl and it still tastes bitter and like drinking wet grass spiked with the worst most bitter lemon juice. Both are drinking grade but matcha one is high end of middle grade and two is low grade.

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All sifting does is prevent matcha from lumping when you whisk it. It’s not 100% curative but it lessens the chance. Matcha #2 gets sweetened and milked ( 1/4 tsp matcha in 4oz water +2tsp sugar and 6-8oz milk. I can still taste the matcha). Matcha #1 never gets anything added to it.
I types this on my iPhone so I apologize for any misspelling or incomplete or runon sentences. I have difficulty proof reading on this tiny screen.

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The hotter the water the more it foams. :) also whisking cools te tea. My hot water dispenser spits out 170* f water. I’ve tried making matcha with 130 degree water and it refused to foam :(
By the time the water hits my chawan it probably has dropped towards 160 or 155 because pouring would cool the water.

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BoxerMama said

Thank you so much!

Your welcome! :)

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I agree with most of what SenchaMatcha said except you SHOULD definitely sift it. Sifting does more than reduce clumping/lumps. It also aerates the tea and I have noticed a difference in taste between Matcha that I’ve sifted and Matcha that I have not sifted. It helps make the prepared Matcha lighter and frothier, and much nicer to sip.

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Matcha should be stored in a air tight container, away from light and in a cool area like a fridge or freezer preferably. The reason being in that once opened the chlorophyll (which gives Matcha it’s brilliant green color) starts to oxidize causing the tea to brown. The reason a freezer is preferred over a fridge is that a freezer tends to have less traffic from people opening and closing it thus causing less temperature changes.

Generally “higher/premium grades” are more sweet and smoother than lower grades which have more bitter astringency. Higher grades are best for drinking traditional style Matcha tea. There are two ways to prepare Matcha usucha (thin tea) and koicha (thick tea). A regular ceremonial grade Matcha is suitable for usucha, but if you plan to make koicha then the really premium grade is ideal to avoid any bitterness. Lower grades or what we might consider a cooking/ingredient grade Matcha is best used for mixing with anything other than just water. So if you want to cook/bake with Matcha or make a non-traditional drink like a smoothie or latte using Matcha, then a cooking grade is preferred.

Shifting Matcha is to prevent clumping once a bowl of Matcha is made. Since the particle size is so small Matcha tends to naturally clump in humid environments or really dry environments due to static electricity.

Matcha is a versatile tea so you can drink or consume it in many forms.

BoxerMama said

Thank you so much! I need a sifter! I’m currently keeping mine in their foil bags inside a freezer bag.

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Tamm said

I don’t know who else does this, but being as I don’t have a “proper” matcha sifter I just use the mesh of an old, broken tea ball.

That is perfectly fine. You can use any kind of shifter. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a “Matcha sifter.” It could even be a simple sifter found in the cookware section at a local store.

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It’s amazing how much can be learned from Aiya — please listen to Fumi, folks, he knows what he’s talking about!

I keep all unopened matcha in the freezer. There are three big enemies of matcha: light, air, and warmth. Matcha stored deep in a freezer minimizes those three enemies best. Once opened, it should be kept in the fridge, and CONSUMED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. It’s a living, extremely fragile substance that tastes best with the absolute minimum exposure to the three enemies. Don’t “save it” for some future occasion — it’s the opposite of wine, it gets worse with age. Drink it fresh.

Sieving is crucial if you want a creamy, smooth brew. It’s an opportunity for mindfulness. I use the two minutes it takes me to prep the matcha to switch off the mental movies for a tiny bit:

http://blog.breakawaymatcha.com

Water temperature and crema: you get optimal crema around 170. Anything over 180f scalds the tea, destroys its umami, and makes it taste weird (and not in a good way).

If you need to sweeten your matcha, you should be drinking inexpensive matcha, because sweeteners (and fats) will kill all the nuances and delicate flavors of great matcha. Sort of like dumping a bottle of Petrus into a pasta sauce or sangria. Yes, you’ll have good pasta sauce and excellent sangria, but . . .

Good luck Boxer Mama — there is a HUGE amount of stuff to learn about matcha!

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Dr Jim said

The rate of a chemical reaction such as oxidation doubles for every 10 degree Centigrade (18 F) increase in temperature, so the difference between a freezer at 0 F and a refrigerator at 40 F is about 4 times. You get an additional 3 times or so difference between the refrigerator and 68 degree room temperature. I’d vote for the freezer as long as the cold doesn’t damage the tea. It should last 12 times as long as room temperature. Remove tea and re-seal quickly as the cold tea will attract water when you bring it out of the freezer.

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BoxerMama said

I’m so glad I started this thread! So much info, I’m feeling overwhelmed. drinking it fast isn’t an issue, I’m obsessed! lol

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