How To Prepare Matcha: A Ritual For The Senses

A woman holds a mug of matcha tea after matcha preparation.


How to prepare matcha goes beyond your daily cup of tea. This traditional Japanese tea ceremony orchanoyu, as it’s called in Japanese, has its origins in Zen Buddhism. To enhance their meditation practices, monks used to whisk powdered green tea leaves in a bowl of hot water. This tradition of matcha preparation was brought to Japan from China around the 12th century and became a symbol of status among the warrior class. Later it developed into a spiritual and transformative practice throughout the country, helping reinforce some of Japan’s classic philosophies on harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.

Although the Japanese tea ceremony has evolved throughout the years, it hasn’t lost its fundamental nature. It still takes place in a specially designed room where every single detail is carefully chosen. The flower arrangements, wall decorations, tools, and clothing vary according to the type of gathering, the season, the time of the day and the number of people joining (generally no more than 5 guests). Not only are the aesthetics of a matcha preparation ceremony studied and precise, so is every motion and gesture made by the host to the guests during the ceremony.


A fundamental part of how to prepare matcha and this traditional Japanese tea ceremony is the style of preparation. You can create your own ritual at home using the appropriate traditional tools and high-quality ceremonial grade matcha.

There are two ways of preparing matcha. For tea ceremonies or special tea parties, Koicha is your best option. Koicha is a thick blend of premium matcha green tea that is shared among the guests. Imperial grade matcha is recommended for its flavor and mellow aroma. The highest grade of ceremonial matcha is Imperial Japanese Matcha Green Tea, but if you are a beginner, Usucha is a great choice as well, as its thinner blend is perfect for everyday use.

Tools such as brush and bowl used for matcha preparation.


When learning how to prepare matcha, you’ll need some basic tools. The basic utilities for matcha preparation include:


A chawan is the tea bowl where you prepare and serve your matcha. There is a wide range of sizes and styles. Choose a shallow bowl if you want to cool the tea quickly or a deeper one to keep the tea hot for a longer time.


A chashaku is the traditional Japanese utensil to measure and scoop the tea leaves/powder from the tea caddy into the tea bowl. It measures around one gram of ceremonial grade matcha. While generally made out of bamboo, there are also some chashakus made out of wood or ivory. For one tea bowl of 2 to 2.4 oz of hot water, you will need about 2 scoops of Usucha or 3-4 scoops of Koicha.


Potentially the most important tool in learning how to prepare matcha, a chasen is a bamboo whisk that is used to mix the powdered tea with the hot water. There are different types of chasens with various amounts of prongs. For Koicha matcha preparation, you will need a 32-48 thick pronged chasen and a 50 to 120 thin pronged one for Usucha.

 Barista shows how to make matcha.


Using the right temperature water when preparing matcha is crucial. Whether you like thick or thin traditional matcha, you don’t want to use boiling water. Water temperature should be between 158°F (70°C) – 176°F (80°C). Water that is too hot will make the tea too bitter.

Lastly, and potentially the most important step in preparing matcha is the mixing techniques. It is also important that you know how to properly mix the matcha powder into the water. For Usucha, whisk the matcha by making quick “W” motions with your wrist until you get a frothy consistency. If you want to prepare Koicha, slowly knead from left to right making inverted “U” motions until the mixture is thick and smooth but not frothy.

This method for how to prepare matcha may not seem like a lot, but slowing down is also part of the ritual. Remember to take your time, be present, and enjoy! To learn more about getting ceremonial grade matcha for your business, contact Ikeda Tea World today!