You have started drinking matcha but something is not quite right yet? We have found the most common problems and their respective preparation errors or causes – and how to change them so that you can REALLY enjoy your matcha in the future.
PROBLEM #1: The matcha was extremely bitter...
This is by far the most common issue and can have multiple reasons.
Water temperature: Was your water temperature too hot (>80°C/176°F)? The perfect water temperature is around 80°C/176°F. Hotter water scorches the matcha powder and makes it taste bitter. If your water kettle doesn’t allow you to select the right temperature you can just boil the water to 100°C/212°F degrees and then add a bit of cold water to cool it down. Alternatively, you can pour the boiling water over twice in another cup to cool it down (rule of thumb: each time you pour it in another vessel it cools down with 10 degrees).
Dosage: Did you use too much matcha with too little water (more than a spoon on 80ml/2.7oz)? As a reference, most people enjoy 1g per 80ml/2.7oz or 2g per 120ml, but the amount is totally up to your taste. You can experiment a bit with it to find your perfect dosage.
Whisking: Did you whisk it well enough? A good matcha has to be whisked until a thick, frothy layer with many tiny bubbles forms. If the liquid is revealed under the froth or if there are many big bubbles visible on the surface, continue whisking.
Quality: Did you get a low grade of matcha (cooking quality)? The lower the grade, the more bitter the flavor profile. Authentic, high-quality ceremonial grade Japanese matcha green tea is shaded for several weeks before the harvest and uses only the top sweet and soft baby leaves that have produced an extraordinary amount of chlorophyll and amino acids which gives the matcha its unique umami flavor and reduces the bitterness. Cooking quality uses more mature leaves which taste more bitter. This characteristic is necessary to keep the typical matcha flavor when mixing the matcha with other ingredients while baking but it is typically too strong when the matcha is consumed pure as a tea.
Counterfeit: Were you sold just a regular green tea powder? If your matcha was super cheap – chances are your matcha might not be a matcha. Matcha is a green tea powder but not all green tea powders are matcha. This means the time and labor intense steps were skipped or accelerated. The matcha might not have been (long enough) shaded and therefore contains less amino acids and chlorophyll which are also responsible for the sweet taste. The leaves might not have been de-stemmed or de-veined (the leave’s stems and veins taste bitter). Or the matcha powder might not contain exclusively the baby leaves but the more mature leaves which also leads to a bitter taste. Another time intense step is grinding; grinding the powder in ceramic mills is a cheaper, faster way but has a negative impact on the powder since it is heated up more and can be scorched easier.
PROBLEM #2: The matcha doesn't froth very well...
Frothing technique and time: Did you froth the matcha thoroughly? It usually takes 2-3 minutes of brisk whisking (in an “M” or “W” motion) until a thick pastel-colored layer forms.
Dosage: Did you use too little powder for the specific amount of water? In that case, increase the amount of powder or decrease the water amount.
Tip: If you would like to drink your matcha with honey, or some sort of sugar syrup, wait until a frothy layer has formed already and only then whisk it in.
PROBLEM #3: There are clumps of powder in the prepared matcha, and/or I get clumps of matcha in my mouth when drinking...
Powder preparation: Did you sift the matcha or break down the clumps? Clumps forming can be avoided if the matcha powder is sifted or if the clumps are simply being broken down with the bamboo whisk. In general, grinding matcha in stone mills ensures the proper molecular texture which not only impacts how the matcha tastes but also how it mixes with water. At Matcha Moments we only use high-quality organic leaves that are gently and slowly stone ground (45 min for 30g) to make sure the leaves will not be scorched and mix well with water.
With these tips, you are ready to improve your matcha making skills! Try to implement some of them and let us know how it went. If you are new to matcha or trying to prepare the perfect cup of green, frothy goodness (=matcha) – consider gifting yourself our Matcha Moments Starter Set. It contains everything you need to fully enjoy your daily ritual:
Enjoy your matcha moment and share it with us on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #mymatchamoment. We choose our favorite matcha post from customers and followers weekly and publish it on our account.