Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cold Matcha

It’s not formal

I want to introduce how to prepare cold matcha today. I have made cold matcha in the tea class at my previous school, but never learned it at my current school. The cold matcha is not a formal way of preparing tea, and it is a creative way of serving. I don’t remember exactly how I prepared cold matcha in the previous school. So, I searched about it on the internet.

Various way of preparation

I found many different ways of making cold matcha as I expected. There is even a method of making it by using a cocktail shaker. I thought that it's very interesting but I, as a tea person, tried to stick with the way using bamboo whisk. If I try to summarize the various methods, I can classify them based on two points of view. The first aspect is whether to use hot water or not‏. The other point is if it is blended with a small amount of water on the first step like koicha making. By considering these two aspects, I think that you can categorize most of the methods into the following four types.





Cold water only

Simple step


Mix matcha and cold water by whisking

Two steps


Mix matcha with a little amount of cold water well.  Then add some iced water and whisk more

Using hot water

Simple step


Make the matcha with hot water as usual.  Add ice cubes.

Two steps


Mix matcha with a little amount of hot water well.  Then add some iced water and whisk more

I tried the four ways myself

Now, I wanted to know which way can make most delicious cold matcha! My first test failed. I used usual amount of matcha and water, but I felt that they were too thick in cold. I tried a few more rounds of test with less matcha to find better mixture.
For evaluating the four methods, I'll check them in terms of taste, texture and difficulty of preparation.
I didn’t find any big difference in taste among the teas prepared with only cold water (No.1 & 2). The flavor is quite mellow and not bitter at all. Sweet umami taste really stands out. The teas with hot water (No.3 & 4) were more intense with rich flavor. It also had some bitterness so it was refreshing. In No.4, I found a bit of off-flavor.
There was not much difference in texture between the cold-water preparations (No.1 & 2) and the hot-water preparations (No.3 & 4). I didn’t find any big lumps in either tea. It is maybe because I sifted the matcha before brewing. However, I noticed some tiny lumps remained in the bowl in No.1 and 3 after drinking, and none in No. 2 and 4. It was a very minor difference, though.
Difficulty of preparation
Of course, No.1 and 2, the methods without hot water are much easier to prepare. So to name them in order, starting from the most difficult‏, it will be No.4, 3, 2 and then 1.






Difficulty of Preparation

Cold water only

Simple step


Mellow with good umami,

Not bitter

Slightly rough

The easiest

Two steps




Using hot water

Simple step


Refreshing rich flavor,

Some bitterness

Slightly rough


Two steps


Refreshing rich flavor,

Some bitterness and off-flavor


The most complicated


If you want mild tea, try cold-water brewing (No.1 or 2). If you prefer refreshing tea, try No.3.  No.4 had an off-flavor and it takes a lot of fuss to make it, so probably I won't use it. I personally like mellow tea, so I recommend method No.2 the most.

Conclusion for cold matcha

The facts I found through these tests are:
-Cold matcha has mellow flavor and rich sweetness without bitterness, but less aroma.
-Matcha feels thicker in cold.
My recipe
-Iced water: first-5ml, second-65ml
1. Blend gently the matcha with 5ml of iced water and make smooth paste

2. Add 65ml of iced water and whisk well

-Sift matcha before making it
-Cool the bowl and dry it before using
-You may add some ice cubes when you serve it.
The cold matcha can give briskness like a cool breeze into your day. Enjoy!

Buy the way, I have some new tea bowls on our shop. The white tea bowl in the photos is one of them.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Matcha affogato

Encounter with affogato

I was fascinated by encountering a dessert called “affogato”. It was probably one or two decades ago: I can’t remember exactly when. I knew ice cream and I knew espresso but pouring the espresso on ice cream was a shock. It was terribly good. Europeans know such cool way of enjoying ice cream. I tried it at home. I even enjoyed it with matcha instead of coffee. Nowadays, I’m into mixing Oreo cookies into ice cream. I think that it’s better than getting a ready-made cookies and cream. Anyway, I forgot about affogato lately. 

Reunion with new version

This spring, a new Japanese-tea house opened in my city. I found “koicha affogato” on their menu. This is it! I ordered the koicha affogato. The ice cream came with shiratama dumplings and anko (sweet been paste), and koicha came in a different cup. Koicha is a thickly prepared matcha, against thinly prepared usucha.  (Related link about Koicha and Usucha: What I enjoyed in the past was one with thin tea, usucha. I have never thought of using koicha. This one is new to me. I poured koicha from the top of the ice cream. I like this new version better. I can enjoy rich flavor of green tea much better. Now I think that my affogato with usucha was a little watery and koicha goes much better with it.

I tried koicha affogato at home

I liked it so much and wanted to try it at home. I found the perfect thing at a supermarket. It’s dumplings on a stick with anko!

 It’s not shiratama dumplings but it’s similar. So I think that it’ll be all right. I didn’t have to buy a whole can of anko or make shiratamas from scratch.

I disassembled the dumplings and anko, and served them with ice cream in a bowl. I made koicha with the usual recipe (matcha:3.6g, water:36ml at 80C). 

It looks quite nice, doesn’t it?

The amount of koicha was too much for100ml (a half cup) of ice cream that I used.

It’s heaven

For the second time, I tried it with a half amount of koicha. It was perfect! The outer layer of ice cream was melted by the hot matcha. I scooped the melted creamy matcha sauce and lump of ice cream together with my spoon and put them in my mouth. It is wonderful to savor the cold part and the aromatic matcha sauce merging. I also put dumplings and anko into my mouth after dressing them with the sauce. It’s nice to have various change in temperature, texture and flavor. It is a very amusing dessert. Even if you don’t have dumplings and anko, it is going to be much more fun putting koicha on ice cream than just having ice cream only.

*If you try it, don’t use expensive matcha for koicha. Use inexpensive one. Bitter flavor goes better with ice cream.

My mixture
Vanilla ice cream: 100ml (a half cup)
Koicha: matcha 1.8g, hot water 18ml


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Procedure of Tea Ceremony at Home (video)

The procedure is simple.

If you want to try Japanese tea ceremony, today’s post is perfect for you! Today, I’ll introduce the procedure of Japanese tea ceremony. I made a video that introduces the simplest way that you can try at home. Holding a ceremony is not difficult. They consists only of five steps. 
1.Bring the implements into the room
2.Purify the implements
3.Make the tea
4.Clean and put the implements together
5.Leave the room with implements
You do the things one by one, and after making tea, you just do everything backwards to put things away. How simple is that. You bring implements into the room, make tea and leave the room with implements. It begins from nothing and ends at nothing. I think that it is somewhat a Zen idea.

Benefit of making a video

I noticed some of my problems in my movements by taking videos from different angles. My fingers were not totally aligned at some points. Motion was not smooth and I had unnecessary‏ moves when I wiped the bowl. Noticing the problems is one benefit of making this video. I can make improvements on those parts.  

Just imitate

You might think the proper gestures are too complicated. But watch the video, just follow the basic steps and imitate the motions. Don’t worry too much about the detailed movements. The important thing is your attitude for devoting to serve tea. Enjoy!

*If you do it properly, check the links pasted on the bottom of this entry.  


This is the script of this video for ones who want to review the steps.

What you need

Hot water in a thermos jar, tea bowl, linen cloth, tea whisk, tea scoop, matcha, waste-water receptacle, sweets

1. Bring the implements into the room 

Serve sweets
Bring the Jar, the tea bowl and the match, and then a waste-water receptacle in turns

2. Purify the implements 

Purify the tea container and tea scoop
Take out the tea whisk and linen cloth from the bowl
Purify the tea whisk
Warm up the bowl and wipe it.

3. Make the tea 

Two scoops of matcha, 50ml of hot water
Whisk them to mix well
(The guest partakes the tea)
Rinse the returned bowl
Repeat making tea for the next guest
Rinse the returned bowl

4. Clean and put the implements together 

Rinse the tea whisk
Put the linen cloth and the tea whisk into the bowl
Clean the tea scoop

5. Leave the room with implements 

Take out the waste-water receptacle, the bowl and matcha, and then the jar
Leave the room with the plate for sweets

Related links
If you want to do it properly, check the uncut version of this video. 
Procedure of Tea Ceremony (uncut)
I also have other videos to explain each steps specifically.
How to fold CHAKIN linen cloth
How to fold FUKUSA silk cloth
How to purify NATSUME tea caddy
How to purify CHASHAKU tea scoop
How to purify CHASEN tea whisk
How to wipe the tea bowl