My First Attempt at Koicha

I finally got brave enough to try making Koicha, or thick matcha. Believe it or not, I have been drinking matcha 6 days a week for at least two years now and I have yet to ever try making it koicha style. I always make it usucha or thin matcha (the one with the foam on top). I have always thought that the silky smooth thick matcha looked so amazing and I have wanted to try it for a long time.

But I have resisted, mostly because not every matcha is suitable for koicha. And the ones that are suitable for koicha are expensive. Frankly it hurts my accountant’s heart to think about using expensive matcha to make a bad tea.

I finally broke down and ordered the Matcha Senjunomukashi from Harney and Sons when it was 20% off sitewide, which made it $24 for 30 grams. I can handle that.

I watched some youtube videos before attempting to make my own. I started with heating the bowl or chawan and the whisk or chasen, then drying the bowl completely. I used three large scoops of the chasaku.

I didn’t strain it because it’s thick matcha and who needs a strainer, right? wrong. So I added just a tiny bit of water at 200F, probably less than 50ml and started stirring in a circle, then making some figure 8 motions. I did this for a few minutes, which is much longer than usucha whisking, which is usually 20 seconds.

I stirred and stirred and stirred until it looked like…

Like wet paint. So how did it taste? In a word, lumpy. I stirred and stirred and couldn’t get the clumps out. I added a bit more water and stirred some more, still lumpy but better. I added water a third time and stirred some more and then I got it somewhat tolerable.

The taste was way too strong and bitter at first but by the end it tasted pretty good. It was a little bit sweet and quite vegetal and of course very very thick.

I finished it

I am definitely feeling the effects of the caffeine more so than I do from thin matcha. So there’s that.

I think next time I will definitely sift the matcha before whisking, add a bit more water and bring the water temperature down to about 185F where I usually have it for usucha.

As far as the price, I finally had to convince myself it was worth $24 of “training expense” to learn how to make proper koicha. I am okay with making some bad matcha now if it means many years of good matcha in the future. Cheers!

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