Ceremonial Grade Matcha Done Three Ways

If you’ve ever gone to Starbucks or a boba tea shop, you’ve probably seen the light green powder referred to as ‘matcha’ being poured into frozen or chilled drinks. Matcha is a processed version of the traditional green tea plant that utilizes specially grown tea leaves to impart a very specific flavor.

The process of processing matcha involves nearly matured tea leaves being covered and grown in the shade for two to three weeks before harvesting, after which the stems and veins are removed. The remaining leaves are then dried until they crumble to the touch, at which point they are ground into a fine powder using a mill stone.

This process alters the flavor of the tea in a number of ways. The shaded growth increases the amount of chlorophyll, turning the leaves a darker color, as well as boosting the concentration of the amino acid theanine and caffeine within the leaves.

The impact of the process and the resultant tea’s flavor is highly dependent on the grade of the tea leaves used. Matcha comes in three primary grades: ingredient, culinary, and ceremonial, with ceremonial representing the highest grade and ingredient using the lowest.

Ceremonial grade matcha has a long history in Japanese tea ceremonies, a cultural tradition practiced by the country’s noble and warrior classes. Ceremonial matcha is rarely exported, but select retailers like Shayna’s Kitchen have begun working with distributors to bring it over to the West so we can partake in the unique health benefits offered by the tea.

While everyone has their own preferred method of preparing matcha, here are three ways we’ve found to bring out the best in the matcha flavor!

Traditional Method

The traditional method involved sifting the matcha through a sieve before adding in 1/4 cup of warm water. The matcha is then whisked with a bamboo chasen until the drink becomes thick, frothy, and free from clumps. That’s it!

This method highlights the natural flavors of the matcha with little to no dilution that you would find in a larger cup or in a milk-based drink. High-grade matcha has a distinctly sweet and smooth flavor when compared to other grades and teas, which makes it a treat to drink by itself with no further additives.

Iced Matcha

For iced matcha, add filtered ice cubes to the bottom of your chosen drinking vessel. Unlike the traditional method, this method of preparation is milk based, so select your preferred type of milk (we use organic, grass-fed whole milk, but we’ve heard it is especially delicious in raw whole milk!) and pour it over the ice.

Prepare you matcha using the same steps as the traditional method: sift it into the mug, pour warm water and then whisk until frothy. Once the matcha is prepared, pour the mixture into the iced milk and stir until fully mixed.

Matcha Latte

The famous matcha late uses the same initial steps as the traditional method. Sift one tablespoon of the matcha in 1/4 cup of warm water, then stir with chasen until the mixture turns frothy and smooth.

Once again, you will choose the type of milk that will be used in the latte. Though we went with the grass fed whole milk again, you can use anything from almond milk to half and half. Use a steamer or frother to heat the milk, making sure to add a cap of foam to the mixture.

Once the milk has been heated, pour in the matcha tea mixture. At this point, you can add in honey, agave, caramel, or any other flavor that you enjoy with your matcha lattes. Enjoy!

If you are interested in purchasing ceremonial grade matcha here in the U.S., there’s only one place to get it. Visit Shayna’s Kitchen and share your matcha creations with the world!