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Matcha, a specially prepared kind of green tea, is unique among all teas since preparation is one of the most important aspects to get a rich, creamy drink with lots of flavor.
Getting the matcha to dissolve properly can be one of the biggest challenges for newcomers, and there are a lot of factors that can make the job a lot harder.
To get matcha to suspend properly and get the most enjoyment out of it, you need a high-quality powder to be properly proportioned, sifted, thoroughly whisked, and steeped at the right temperature.
Doing any of these steps incorrectly can cause the matcha to clump or not mix evenly.
Getting the perfect matcha brew can be difficult, and there are a number of things to consider when preparing your tea. The rest of this article will dive into what you might be doing wrong, why your matcha won’t dissolve, and how to make the perfect cup of tea every time.
Quality and Type of Powder
The first and most likely reason that your matcha isn’t dissolving is that you have cheap powder. The quality of matcha―growing conditions, climate, storage, preparation method― all play a big role in how good your matcha tastes, but it also impacts how well it will dissolve when you whisk it.
Using good quality stone-ground matcha and selecting a fine powder will ensure that you get the best tea and don’t have as much trouble with preparation. You should also consider the difference between ceremonial matcha and culinary matcha when you select your powder.
Ceremonial matcha is derived from younger tea leaves and is stone ground, making for an extremely fine powder that is easier to mix into a traditional drink. Ceremonial matcha is also more nuanced and complex.
Culinary matcha, on the other hand, uses older tea leaves that bolden the tea flavor, making it more versatile for the flavor to stand out among others when used in a specialty drink or recipe featuring matcha.
However, the downside is that the power will not be as fine and, as such, will be much harder to get to mix properly. Of course, another consideration has to do with whether you are enjoying your matcha hot or cold.
Proper Storage Is Important
Storing your matcha properly is crucial to getting a good brew and maintaining the flavor. Don’t leave your matcha anywhere where it is subjected to moisture or sunlight. Both of these will ruin the flavor and consistency straight away.
Instead, matcha should be stored in the fridge or freezer in an airproof and lightproof container. You should also make sure you use all of your matcha powder within a month of opening it (preferably sooner) to avoid the development of clumps and loss of flavor. This article provides more detail on how long matcha powder lasts.
Matcha powder has some electrostatic energy, which simply means that it tends to form clumps when left alone. As such, you should store your matcha under the best conditions possible to make the preparation process easier.
Not Sifting Your Powder
When you bring your powder home and put the kettle on, you should always pre-sift your powder before measuring it out. Doing so will help remove any clumps or imperfections that are going to form annoying clumps and sit in the bottom of the cup. You can get a specialized sifter for matcha called a furui.
Scoop the required amount of matcha into your sifter and use a chashaku to press the powder down. The sifted powder should fall straight into the bowl for best results.
A chashaku is a helpful spatula-like tool that is used exclusively for matcha preparation due to its unique shape.
Having Too Much or Too Little Matcha Powder
The amount of powder you use is significant in getting a good ratio of powder to water. For reference, you should use 2g (1/2 teaspoon) of powder for every one half to full cup of water.
Of course, how much water you use can also be a matter of how you prefer the taste, but keep in mind that the more power to water you have, the harder it will be to get the matcha to suspend properly.
Not Whisking Your Powder Enough
To be clear, when you whisk your matcha powder, it will never truly dissolve in water. Matcha is just finely ground leaf powder, and it would be more accurate to say that you’re suspending the powder in the water rather than mixing the two.
Since it can’t dissolve, you’re essentially just trying to ‘float’ the matcha as evenly throughout the liquid as possible. A high-quality bamboo whisk, preferably with over 100 prongs, is ideal for getting a good whisk.
Not gonna sugar coat it― you really need to put some elbow grease into whisking for the best results. The better you whisk, the longer it will take for the suspended matcha powder to make its way back to the bottom. You should also drink your matcha as soon as it’s ready.
Left alone, you may come back to find all the powder has settled on the bottom.
If your temperature is too hot or too cold, you will have a much harder time whisking your matcha effectively. The idea temperature to steep your matcha is 175 degrees Fahrenheit, not boiling.
Not only will this make the job easier but using the right temperature will also maintain the flavor and stop the matcha from going bitter.
Dissolving matcha for the perfect brew has a lot of challenges associated with it, but as long as you know what you’re doing, you can make a nice cup of tea every time. Getting a high-quality powder will make your life much easier and improve the flavor of your tea.
Proper storage is also a significant factor in preventing clumping and damaging the powder. You should always pre-sift your powder, proportion your powder to water ratio properly, and whisk thoroughly― really thoroughly.
Following through will all the proper preparation steps will ensure that you get an evenly suspended tea and a nice creamy foam on top.
Scott is the founder of TeaMinded. He enjoys tasting and discovering teas from across the globe, with green teas and ceremonial matcha from Japan being among his favorites. He’s grateful to be immersed in the tea community, always learning and sharing along the journey.