Friday, October 19, 2012

Impact of the foam to the taste

Do you know why the amount of the foam is different on each of the bowl of matcha in this photo?  The way of whisking tea varies depending on school traditions.  Some schools tell to whisk fast and well to attain a lot of foam, but some schools do not.  The speed of whisking makes the difference of the amount of foam.  Here in our school, Omotesenke, we are taught to whisk lightly to attain just moderate amount of foam.  

I prepared two bowls of matcha, one with a lot of foam (A) and the other with a moderate amount of foam (B).  I tasted them to concur if the way of whisking or the foam affects the taste.  I prepared the tea with a standard method of making usucha, thin tea.  I precisely measured and used 1.7 grams of matcha and 50ml (1.8oz) water for each.   I whisked both for the same period of time, 20 seconds, “A” with faster whisking and “B” with slower beating.  Which type of tea attracts your palate?

Based on my experience, I think well-whisked tea has a better taste because all of the components are perfectly mixed.   However, my instinct tells me to heed on the teachings of my school, which I had modestly done lately.  I heard different theories advocating either way.  Here I actually tasted them myself.

After all, is there really a difference in taste?  Well, I’m delighted to say Yes.  I sure found out the two teas differently.  With the first sips, I sensed stronger bitterness in “B”.  To find out more profound difference, I sipped more alternately seeking satisfaction for my curiosity of the difference.  I then realized that “A” also possessed bitterness.  I also find the same degree of grains in both of them.  So, what is truly the difference?  Density.  For “A”, you put the tea into your mouth in dig your lips into the foam.  Your mouth is filled with airy foam and it makes the taste milder.  As for “B”, the moisture or the tea itself gets your tongue covered around.   So, you can taste the intense flavor.  The difference is not really the quality of flavor, instead the feeling of texture of the ingredients has a bigger impact.

I didn’t use good quality tea this time, so I tasted bold bitterness.  I prefer the method “A” for this bitter tea.  But if it is a premium matcha, the method “B” can be good too.  I don’t want to simply conclude which is better at this point.  I want to pursue seeking and have more experience for deeper understanding through my tea carrier.


  1. Contrasting A to B is quite interesting. It is the same matcha but difference intensity in whisking the tea and both produces bitter taste.

    I recently was sent some KaiMatcha Premium Matcha to sample and shortly before its arrival I purchased some Green Tea Powder (cost very inexpensive)and purchased from a Korean grocer. This matcha's tea color is a smooth green as opposed to the premium matcha which is a deeper shade of green, that wet grass dark green and this one did not foam as did the inexpensive green tea powder which resulted in a lovely greenish-creamy froth when whisk.

    When I tried the premium matcha for a second try I did get froth but not as creamy/dewy as that of inexpensive tea powder.

    I am probably not making sense and things/wording can be misconstrued.

    I think the folks at KaiMatcha might appreciate your description of A & B matcha and whether to whisk fast or slowly depending on schooling method. I may make mention of your blog to them. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Konnichiwa, seule771 –san, Thank you for introducing my blog to KaiMatcha-san. You have been trying different powdered teas. That's nice. Enjoy!

  2. Hi Kohei,

    This is a great experiment you have done here.

    After drinking 100's of bowls of Matcha I've started to notice a pattern with frothiness as well. Personally, more froth for me results in a smoother sip, less bitterness, and less clumps at the end.

    Getting the uniform froth can be tricky though. If I've had my matcha refridgerated I find it is tough to get. If I don't sift, it is tough to get. If I am a little lazy on the whisking, it is tough to get.

    At the end of the day I think everyone drinks Matcha for their own reasons. I drink it for the health benefits such as cancer-fighter and weight-loss. I don't really care how it tastes or looks, as long as it works. And with our matcha, you can feel it working almost instantly.

    If you are looking for a good deal on a high quality, ceremonial grade matcha, please check out KaiMatcha Premium at If you "Like" us on Facebook you get access to a 10% off coupon code you can use on your order!

    1. Hi, KaiMatcha-san,
      Yes, I agree that sifting helps to prepare a fine tea for the stored matcha in the fridge.

  3. That's really interesting! I had no idea the foam affected the taste. Next time I drink matcha, I'm going to experiment a bit.

    Speaking of Japanese tea, I just tried some sakura tea - I really liked it!


    1. Kate-san,
      Yes, try the experiment (^^) I’m sure that you can find the differences.
      Sakura tea sounds really nice!

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