Although this guide is written with matcha in mind, it is suitable for just about any powdered tea, particularly hojicha powder, which is delicious with a dash of milk, a pinch of sugar and a paired mochi treat.
Matcha is most commonly prepared as an usucha, or mild tea, which is a fragrant and light preparation suitable for everyday enjoyment. Ceremonial and fine grades are recommended for the preparation of matcha for drinking, as they have the brighest green colour and least bitter flavour, however any grade is suitable.
Best results are achieved using a pre-heated vessel, with a pre-softened whisk and the tea powder passed through a sieve to break up any clumps.
Bring water to the boil. Preheat your chawan with a small amount of this hot water, enough to reach a third of the vessel.
Place your whisk inside the vessel, which will soften the bristles.
After 30 seconds, remove the whisk, discard the water and dry the bowl with a cloth.
Scoop and sift the matcha into your chawan.
Measure 60–80ml, or a shot glass, of water at 80°C and carefully pour in the water in a spiral formation, beginning from the top of the bowl and working your way to the middle.
You can reduce the temperature of water by transferring it into another vessel at room temperature. The temp drops 10°C each time. Transferring boiling water twice will bring the temperature down to approximately 80°C.
Use the chasen to gently scrape the bottom of the chawan to dislodge any undissolved particles.
Extend your arm out as straight as possible, and using the action of your wrist, whisk vigorously left to right, or in an ‘M’ formation. Do not press down on the chasen.
When you are happy with the foaminess, rotate the chasen gently around the circumference of the bowl and into the middle, to break any large bubbles that may have formed.
Lift the chasen carefully (so as to not disturb your foam too much) and set aside.
Slightly swirl your bowl to distribute the foam into the middle. Enjoy!