If you aren’t a fan of the natural grassy taste of matcha, this post is for you. Today, we are going to talk about how to make matcha taste good – so good that you’ll actually enjoy drinking it!
Maybe you’ve heard of matcha drinks, or perhaps you’ve even seen them in person. With their jade green color, they are hard to miss! It’s touted as a super ingredient, and people rave about matcha’s health benefits while making all sorts of creative drinks with it.
The first time you drink matcha, you’ll discover how unique it tastes. There really is nothing quite like it. You’ll either be a huge fan right away, or you’ll wonder why on Earth people drink it.
If you fall into the latter, never fear! There are ways to flavor it, as well as drinks you can make with matcha that will taste so good you won’t even know they are made with the iconic green powder.
Today, I’ll be sharing a bunch of info on matcha and some tricks you can try at home to make matcha taste good!
What is matcha?
If your first guess is “green tea,” then you are correct!
Matcha is powdered green tea. It comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
Normally, tea leaves are dried and then steeped in hot water. Matcha is different. Since it is a powder, people whisk it into their hot water. This creates a frothy drink.
Today, it is commonly used in tea lattes or boba tea. It’s even used to flavor things like ice cream, Kit Kats, and salad dressing, just to name a few things.
Ground tea actually predates dried tea leaves. The practice of grinding tea leaves into a powder and then beating them into a bowl of hot water was an early Chinese custom.
In the 12th century, a Japanese Zen priest was studying in one of China’s Buddhist monasteries. After he drank “beaten tea,” he brought the tea seeds and rituals to Japan, where he popularized drinking beaten tea as a meditation ritual.
Soon after, the samurai class also began to drink beaten green tea. They are the ones that turned it into a ceremony, complete with how to prepare the tea, sit, and drink it. This tea ceremony was essential to the samurai training.
Today, there is still a Japanese tea ceremony called The Way of the Tea. It still involves preparing and presenting matcha tea in a meditative way.
Ceremonial vs. Culinary Matcha
There are two types of matcha that you’ll discover as you try to buy it – ceremonial matcha and culinary matcha.
Chances are, you’ll buy culinary matcha.
Ceremonial matcha is the most expensive kind. It’s made from young tea leaves and has a delightfully mellow flavor. It has the best flavor because it is given the most attention during processing. This gives it a delicate taste with the smoothest grounds.
If you plan to drink just matcha powder with hot water, you should invest in ceremonial-grade matcha.
Culinary-grade matcha is a lot more affordable. It has a stronger and more astringent flavor. Since it has a bold flavor, people use this matcha to mix into things like ice cream or make matcha tea lattes.
You can still drink culinary grade on its own, but it tastes better when you mix it with other ingredients.
What does matcha taste like?
The First Sip
When you take your first sip of matcha, you’ll likely notice a smooth, velvety texture on your tongue. The initial flavor is a gentle sweetness—this comes from the L-theanine amino acid present in high-quality matcha. As the matcha begins to spread across your palate, you may also detect a hint of umami, which adds depth and richness to the taste.
The Recognizable Middle Note
As you continue to savor your matcha, the recognizable middle note will emerge. This is when the grassy, vegetal flavors come into play. You’ll experience a refreshing, slightly bitter taste, characteristic of matcha’s high chlorophyll content. Don’t worry, though; this bitterness is well-balanced by the initial sweetness and umami, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.
The End Note
As you swallow your sip of matcha, be prepared for a pleasant creamy finish. This end note lingers on your palate, leaving a satisfying astringent sensation. This astringency can be attributed to the tannins present in matcha and is a sign of high-quality tea. The lingering finish encourages you to take another sip, allowing you to appreciate the complex interplay of flavors in this remarkable green tea.
How to Make Matcha Taste Good
Don’t be turned off by this bold-flavored, green-hued powder. Matcha is loaded with nutrients and can add a unique flavor to so many different recipes. All you have to do is figure out which method of preparing it best fits your personal tastes.
Here are some ideas to start with so that you can reap all the benefits matcha has to offer.
Buy high-quality matcha
High-quality ceremonial-grade matcha will have the finest care during processing, so it will also have the most enjoyable flavor when you drink it. The first way to make matcha taste good – buy the best kind.
Ceremonial-grade matcha might cost you a pretty penny, but the higher price tag is worth it. This variety will have a smoother flavor that tastes almost sweet. It’s easier to drink because it is produced with the intention of drinking it solely with hot water.
However, if you are just going to mix the matcha in with your ice cream, you don’t have to buy ceremonial grade.
Another way to make matcha taste good is to add some sugar. Not everyone is a fan of the umami flavor of green matcha, so sweetening it can go a long way.
Add a few drops of honey or maple syrup. Stir it and taste it. If you want it to taste sweeter, add a bit more honey. Keep adding more until you like how it tastes.
Not a fan of sweets? Try salty! Start out by sprinkling some sea salt into your matcha drink. Taste it. If you still aren’t sure if you like the flavor, add a bit more. Salt is known as a flavor enhancer and will help the drink taste a lot better.
Plus, sea salt contains essential minerals that can give your body a boost of electrolytes.
Make herbal matcha
Adding more herbs and spices will completely change how your matcha tastes. Plus, there are some herbs that are incredibly beneficial for your overall health and wellness too.
Try adding any of these fresh herbs to your matcha:
Stir in coffee syrup
The simple act of just stirring in some coffee syrup can completely change how your matcha tastes. Try adding vanilla coffee syrup or some pure vanilla extract.
Only add a little bit at a time until you find the amount that makes it taste just how you want it to.
Bake with it
When you still aren’t sure you like how matcha tastes in drink form, just add it to a different recipe. You will still get the health benefits, but the other flavors will stand out more.
Here are just a few things you can add matcha to:
- Smoothies or smoothie bowls
Drizzle some lemon juice
Squirt some lemon juice into your matcha latte. This will brighten the flavors and add a tart contrast to the grassy flavors in the tea. It’s a really simple way to make matcha taste better.
Add some fat
Another way to help your matcha taste better when you drink it is to add some fat to the drink. This is the same method people use to make bulletproof coffee. Mix in a teaspoon of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. Other people like to add ghee or coconut oil.
The fat will give it a creamier flavor and cut down on the bitterness.
Mix with chocolate
It turns out that everything really is better with chocolate! When you combine chocolate with matcha, the flavors are richer, and it even minimizes the grassy notes in the green powder.
Add matcha to your hot chocolate or homemade mocha, or drizzle some chocolate syrup into your matcha latte.
Use the right milk
You can use any type of milk to make a matcha latte, but some flavors and varieties will taste better than others.
Coconut milk is the best type of milk to use in a matcha latte. It is high in natural fats, and these fats tone down the vegetative flavors of green tea. The fats in coconut milk also help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins more effectively.
Don’t use boiling water
When you make your matcha latte, don’t use boiling water. Instead, you can use iced water, cold water, or hot water – but don’t let it get to the point of boiling.
Most people agree that the ideal water temperature for matcha is about 160F.
Again, trying to make matcha taste the best will depend on your tastebuds. Heat it up to 160F and then taste it. How do you like it at this temperature? Try it again with boiling water and see which one you prefer.
Use less water
Lots of people think that if they water down the matcha, it won’t be strong, so it will taste better. This is actually untrue. In fact, adding too much water could make it taste worse.
If you are whisking the matcha in a matcha bowl, don’t fill it up to the top with water. The best ratio is to add 1.5-2 grams of powder for every 4 ounces of water.
Ideally, you want the matcha to be nice and foamy, and the only way to get it this foamy is to keep the water level down so you have more room to whisk vigorously.
Frothing is Key
If you’re looking to elevate the flavor of your matcha latte, mastering the art of frothing is a game changer. Delivering a velvety texture and rich flavor, frothing can make all the difference.
Start out by getting a high-quality matcha whisk or chasen. You can also use handheld milk frothers and small wire whisks.
Next, you want to prepare the matcha latte by combining some matcha powder and warm water into a bowl and whisk vigorously in back-and-forth motions until the mixture is smooth; make sure there are no clumps!
Start warming your milk until it is neither too hot nor too cold for drinking- this temperature should be about 150-160°F (65-70°C).
Lastly, take your frother of choice and whip your warm milk. Then add the frothed milk to your matcha. Enjoy!
Now that you know more about how to make matcha taste better, here are some questions people often ask about this bright green powder.
Is matcha good for you?
Yes, matcha is very nutritious!
You might already know that regular green tea is a fantastic source of disease-preventing antioxidants. In fact, matcha has even more health benefits than green tea.
Your body will get more nutrients from matcha because you are literally mixing the powder with your water and consuming it. When you drink green tea, you discard the leaves.
The antioxidants in matcha have a lot of health benefits. It’s known to lower blood pressure, reduce heart disease risk and boost your metabolism. It also supports your body’s natural defenses against cancer and deterioration at the cellular level.
Does matcha have caffeine in it?
Matcha does have caffeine in it. It has more caffeine than green tea but not as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
This is how much caffeine is in 8 ounces of other beverages, so you can compare:
- Green Tea – 24-40 mg
- Black Tea – 14-61 mg
- Matcha – 25-70 mg
- Brewed Coffee – 85-200 mg
How long does matcha last?
Unfortunately, matcha doesn’t have a very long shelf life. In fact, you should use your matcha up within two months of opening it. It will last longer than two months, but after that benchmark, the color and flavors will begin to deteriorate.
You can prevent having to throw matcha out by buying smaller amounts of it and by storing it in the refrigerator.
Is matcha best, hot or cold?
This all depends on your personal tastes. If you prepare it correctly, matcha should taste delicious, both hot and cold. You can even make a tasty matcha iced latte.
Some people prefer cold matcha because they think that boiling the matcha in water makes the tea taste burnt. Try it both ways and see how you like it.
Is matcha more popular than green tea leaves?
It might seem like matcha is more popular because it is trendier. There are so many matcha recipes out there, and the trends keep going. It’s tough to say which one is more popular.
Should you sift matcha?
Yes, sifting your matcha has a lot of benefits. You might notice that matcha clumps easily. If your matcha has clumps in it, it will be difficult to whisk. The clumps will also make it taste stronger (and not as pleasant).
Either use a tea strainer or a sifter that you might have used for flour. If you are going to drink matcha regularly, you should have a strainer you use just for the matcha. This way, other flavors won’t mix into the powder.
What does Starbucks matcha taste like?
Starbucks Matcha Green Tea Latte has a unique taste that is a combination of sweet and earthy flavors. The matcha powder used in the drink is made from finely ground green tea leaves, which gives the latte a distinct grassy flavor. The added milk and vanilla syrup makes it sweet. Overall, the taste of a Starbucks Matcha Green Tea Latte is creamy, slightly sweet, and has a pleasant herbal taste.
More Kitchen Resources
If you enjoyed learning how to make matcha taste better, here are some more helpful kitchen resources you might enjoy next.