Matcha 101 – What It Is and How to Use It

I love starting my day with a steaming cup of matcha green tea. Read on to learn how to make this energizing, antioxidant-packed drink at home!

Matcha green tea

A few years ago, matcha started popping up everywhere – in lattes, ice cream, smoothies, icing, and more. While I’ll never say no to a matcha doughnut, today I want to focus on the simplest way to enjoy it: by whisking it into hot water to create a frothy, nourishing tea. I’ve loved drinking matcha this way since Jack and I took our first trip to Japan years ago, and I still make myself a cup almost every morning. To me, it’s the perfect way to start the day. It’s energizing and calming both at once, and above all else, it’s delicious.

What is Matcha?

If you’re not familiar with matcha, it’s a Japanese green tea powder made from finely powdered dried tea leaves. It has a slightly bitter, vegetal taste and a vibrant green color that results from the leaves’ high chlorophyll levels. It’s been the cornerstone of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries, but it recently became popular in the US because of its health benefits.

Regular green tea is already touted as an antioxidant powerhouse, but matcha has even more benefits. Here’s why: when you make other forms of green tea, you steep the leaves in hot water and then discard them. When you make matcha, you whisk the powder into hot water or milk. As a result, you actually consume the entire tea leaf when you drink it! The antioxidants it contains may lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease, and even boost your metabolism.

So what about caffeine? Well, matcha does contain more caffeine than regular green tea, but it doesn’t give you a buzzy rush like coffee. It leaves me feeling energized and focused, but still calm.

Matcha powder in a sifter

What Is the Best Matcha Powder?

Buying matcha for the first time can be confusing – there are so many brands, and they vary widely in quality. The most significant distinction is between ceremonial and culinary grade matcha. The ceremonial kind will be pricier – it’s made from the youngest tea leaves and has a mellow flavor.

I recently tested out all of the top matcha powders. I tried them as tea with water, in lattes, and in baking recipes. I found that my favorite for drinking matcha is Ippodo Tea Ummon. I’ve used it for years, and I love its rich, earthy flavor with only a bit of bitterness. It mixes well too!

Get the Ippodo Tea Ummon on Amazon for $30.99, or check out some of the other matcha powders I tested to find the best one for you!

Helpful Tips

  • It doesn’t last forever. Matcha doesn’t have a particularly long shelf life. Once you open it, use it within 2 months for the best color and flavor. I recommend buying it in small quantities and storing it in the fridge to preserve freshness.
  • You might want a matcha whisk. If you make matcha often, I recommend investing in a bamboo whisk called a chasen (pictured here). Its special design breaks up clumps and creates a frothy layer of foam on top of the tea. If you don’t have one, use a regular whisk or an electric milk frother instead. Whisking or stirring with a fork or spoon will not work here.
  • Sweeten to taste. Matcha’s grassy, umami flavor can be an acquired taste. If you’re new to making it, don’t hesitate to add a few drops of maple syrup or honey. You also might want to sweeten your tea if your matcha powder is particularly bitter.

Pouring hot water over matcha green tea

How to Make Matcha Green Tea

You’ll find my full matcha green tea recipe and measurements below, but because there are a few tricks to making matcha, I wanted to break it down step by step. Here’s what you need to do:

First, sift it into a small bowl or mug. Matcha clumps very easily, so I always recommend sifting it before you add any water. Otherwise, it will be difficult to get the tea to disperse evenly in the liquid, and your drink will be lumpy.

Whisking matcha tea

Then, pour in a small amount of hot water, and whisk. But wait! This isn’t the circular whisking required for making baking recipes or scrambled eggs. Instead, whisk vigorously from side to side – either directly back and forth or in a zigzag pattern – to evenly disperse the powder in the water and create a foamy layer on top. If you whisk in a circular motion, your tea won’t foam.

How to make matcha tea

Finally, top it off with more hot water or steamed milk. Traditional matcha green tea is made with just green tea powder and water, but you can also easily make a latte by finishing your drink with steamed milk. I love to make mine with almond milk, coconut milk, or homemade oat milk. Whisk again until foamy, sweeten to taste, and enjoy!

Matcha green tea

How to Make Matcha

rate this recipe:
5 from 76 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serves 1
Learn how to make matcha green tea at home! I typically enjoy my matcha tea without sweetener, but matcha brands vary in bitterness. If you're new to making matcha, or if your tea tastes bitter, add a few drops of maple syrup or honey to sweeten it to your liking.




  • Sift the matcha into a mug or small bowl to get rid of any lumps.
  • Pour in the 2 ounces of the hot water. Using a matcha whisk or small regular whisk, whisk briskly from side to side until the matcha is fully dispersed and there is a foamy layer on top.
  • Add the remaining 6 ounces hot water or steamed milk and whisk again until foamy. Sweeten to taste, if desired.


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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Ewa

    5 stars
    This is great. Exactly what I was looking for. Your page is now saved to my favourites.

  2. Richard Bowen

    Anyone care to share the website(s) where they order their favorite matcha tea? 🙂

    • Trevor

      5 stars
      Sazen is the best place I’ve seen to buy high quality matcha and for a fraction of the price found in America.

  3. Ana

    Awsome recipe! I alwasy put some raw local honey on my matcha.

    I think you meant 75 F, since the maximun temperature water can reach is 100 F.

    • Richard Bowen

      Ana – I think *you* meant 100C (or 212F) – those are the maximum temperatures before water boils. 🙂

      • Ana

        OMG you are right lol. I was thinking in C. My mistake!

  4. Damyta

    Hi, the matcha I bought is Nature’s Truth brand and says to use 1/2 tablespoon per serving while you say use 1/4 teaspoon. Is it ok to use 1/2 tblspn or should I go with your instruction of 1/4 tsp. Thanks.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Damyta, if their package is saying 1/2 tablespoon, their matcha might be less strong than the types I’ve had, so you could try it and see how you like it.

  5. Charity Champagne

    Hi, I clicked on the recommended matcha and it says, “may contain lead”.

  6. Lianne byrne

    Thanks for the recipe, I was wondering if it’s possible to make it in a milk frother?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Lianne, yes you can, that would work great.

  7. Nisha Garg

    5 stars
    Great matcha recopies to explore here. I’ll try each of them one by one. Well explained! Matcha feels like a secret ingredient to a healthy lifestyle. Having learnt that it can boost your heart functions as well as help you loose weight, I have replaced it with my everyday cup of coffee.

  8. Scott


    Ippodo Ummon is my fav when I want traditional matcha. Expensive but worth it.

    For lattes, I use Midori Spring Emerald Class Ceremonial matcha. This comes in a 100g tin. I blend it with unsweetened almond coconut milk (Almond breeze brand) and add honey for a bit of sweetness.

  9. Shiam

    5 stars
    Great way of explaining.

  10. Kim

    5 stars
    Thank u 4 recipe! I was clueless! I like it much better now.

  11. Shannon

    Can this be prepared at night for an iced latte the next morning?

  12. Emily Marie Weston

    Hi! Where did you get your chasen (matcha whisk) and the cute white milk warmer?

  13. Julie Brandano

    5 stars
    This looks so perfect I don’t have a bamboo whisk but I have put it in my bullet and it comes out very nice thank you I am going to start having that with my breakfast. Still don’t know how much of the powder tea do I use thank you

  14. Irina

    5 stars
    I learned how to make matcha tea. Great explanation. Thank U.

  15. Robin

    5 stars
    Thank you for this info. I have always wanted to try Matcha. Good info to know.

  16. Robin Cagney

    I’m going to try matcha for the first time I like alternative healthy things I’m trying to decrease my coffee intake

  17. Rashmi

    5 stars
    Looks good. Thanks for the recipe.

  18. Debbie

    I clicked on aiya as I am looking for a new brand but the ratings were not good

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Debbie, I can’t speak to the ratings, but I’ve personally enjoyed their matcha for years.

      • Maneesh Singh

        5 stars
        Amazing post and beautiful photographs, it’s really good to know the new type of green tea.

    • niamh

      You should check out sorate matcha. Theirs is sooo good! 🙂

  19. Sascha

    Hi there!

    Where did you get that small flower plate? I’ts so cute!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Sascha, I got it in Japan 🙂

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.