When you open newly purchased matcha (green tea), you may find that some of the powder has formed small clumps. This clumping is caused by static electricity produced by the powder rubbing together, not deterioration in the quality of the matcha. Although it is possible to serve matcha without breaking up these clumps, they often fail to dissolve completely in hot water, remaining in the tea and getting deposited on the drinker’s tongue. This will spoil the taste of what should be a delicious treat. So getting rid of these clumps is one of the keys to making a satisfying cup of matcha.
You can get rid of these clumps using a normal household tea strainer or this sieve, which was designed expressly for this purpose. When serving a number of people, your first thought might be to filter the tea by putting a tea strainer directly over each cup, but it is often more convenient to filter the powder in advance using a matcha sieve (burui), either right before serving it or for storage purposes. To do so, place the matcha powder on the wire mesh and break up the clumps by gently forcing the powder through the mesh with the bamboo spatula (takebera), which is included with the sieve. Avoid spilling the powder on the table or floor by being careful not to put too much powder on the sieve and not moving the spatula around too much.
When cleaning the sieve, wipe off the matcha powder with a dry cloth or tissue. Do not use water because that can cause the sieve to rust.