Matcha: The New Green Juice

You’ve seen it on fancy cafe menus (matcha lattes!) and incorporated into desserts (matcha ice cream!), even positioned as a health ingredient mixed into juices, smoothies, chia seed puddings, cereals, dog treats... But what exactly is this exquisite green powder?

Let's break it down: matcha is just powdered green tea. The entire tea leaf is milled into a fine powder that has the texture of cornstarch and a vibrant green color. It can be consumed as tea or incorporated into a number of culinary and beauty uses. You’ll know good matcha when you taste it; the flavor is grassy and fresh, with a delicate sweetness.

Straight and pure is the best way to enjoy it. Whereas you drink “regular” tea by steeping the tea leaves in hot water, with matcha you whisk the powder with hot water and thus consume the entire tea leaf. This comes with plenty of health benefits (high antioxidants and tons of vitamins) but the bottom line is that it tastes amazing. It’s almost calorie-free (three per gram if anybody's really keeping track), and it makes you feel great. The way matcha releases caffeine is very different from coffee. Instead of a crash and burn and you get slow, steady, and concentrated energy.

Here’s how to make a good matcha:

1. Sift a teaspoon of matcha powder into a bowl.
2. Add 3 ounces hot water (175° F is the ideal temperature).
3. Whisk until frothy.

Drink up!

—Kathy YL Chan

Kathy YL Chan is a tea authority based in NYC and Honolulu. She sources tea for private clients and consults for luxury brands on menus and retail tea lines. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @kathyylchan.

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  • Sandy Davidson

    I love matcha! I have my mom in korea ship me tons of it because its so easy to make and delicious! I even make it with cold water for summer or any days I'm not up for drinking anything hot:)

  • d

    any recommended brands/sellers online?

    • bluesky557

      I'd also like to know this.

      • Guest

        Asian grocery stores usually have good options. I like to get ones with only Japanese writing on them-- then I know it's a good'un. lol

    • Alexis Cheung

      Kathy has her own matcha which is amazing!

      Otherwise, I typically just pick up whatever is on the shelf at an asian grocery store like sunrise mart in nyc (though I'll use it to make ice cream or cookies instead).

    • mcel

      go to for a large selection of organic matcha!

    • Gabi

      "Teapigs" do a really great matcha tea. They're based in the UK but they also ship internationally. I recently ordered a lovely matcha tea kit from them consisting of a bamboo whisk and scoop (as seen in the video), a ceramic bowl and, of course, the tea. Highly recommend!

      • Myles W

        If you live in the UK, then "Jenier" from Scotland do a great IZU Matcha tea. We also sell it from our online shop in Ireland . We deliver our teas within Ireland and all of Europe too.

    • Talita Táiti

      Ayia Matcha's Premium and Ceremonial grades are fantastic. They even sell it as a kit with the whisk and bowl here:

    • Sally Freeman

      I always use Mizuba Tea Co! They're a Santa Barbara-based company that imports straight from a tea farm in Japan! :)

  • kathS

    If I want to use matcha in a smoothie, do I have to make the tea first, or can I just dump the packet in the blender? Thanks.

    • Talita Táiti

      You can add about a 3/4 teaspoon of high-quality matcha directly to your smoothie :)

      • kathS

        Awesome, thanks Talita!

  • c p

    Pro tip: for the easy slacker way to make matcha, all you need is one of those cheap battery powered milk frothers (like from ikea). No need for a bunch of faff.

    • annaholland

      I have this and I can vouch for the effectiveness. No icky clumps!

  • Mona

    I regularly make a matcha-almond milk shake that's super refreshing, especially for summer. I add 3/4 tablespoon of matcha powder, 2/3 cup of almond milk (the Califia Farms one is my jam), a tablespoon of honey or squeeze of agave nectar, and a drop of vanilla extract to a cocktail shaker with 2 ice cubes. I shake it around for 30 seconds or so, pour it into a glass, and drink immediately. It makes for a great compromise between a morning tea and an almond latte.

  • Charlotte

    What type of whisk is recommended?

  • Penelope Rivas

    I've been obsessed with Green Tea Lattes for years. I love mine with soy milk and a bit of agave. Plus, I've had several women tell me that drinking green tea is good for your skin. Yay!

  • Laura

    I was advised to stay away from Japanese matcha...I buy chinese matcha powder online and also got my whisk on Amazon

    • thejulia

      What's the reason that you would stay away from Japanese matcha?

    • Vee

      Er, sorry to tell you this, but as an Asian person I would advise that Chinese matcha is even LESS safe than Japanese - less food safety regulations and more fillers used. :(

  • mageeski

    matcha! matcha! better try it!

  • ginny branch

    i used this as a replacement for coffee and was able to quit my coffee addiction! i can not express how much i love this stuff! i usually mix it into hot almond milk and froth it with the cheap frother from ikea... so delicious!!

  • SteveMarantz

    love my matcha, with a bit of warm milk. it has a beneficial effect on my golf game.

  • Mattie

    I. love. matcha… especially when in Kit Kat form, AND there is more than one type. May you all find happiness in a green tea kit kat.

    • Lauren

      YES OMG YES. Takes all my will power to make the entire bag last two days.

      • Mattie

        And that my friend is why when i go to m2m i buy the bags in bulk.

  • Charity

    Matcha! I started drinking this last year and love it. I drink it straight or make a latte with almond milk in the colder months!

  • Tammy T.

    i received the bamboo whisk and some matcha for my birthday a while back, but have been preparing matcha tea/lattes a lot more regularly since reading this article! Kathy's website/blog is beautiful and such a gem to browse through, thanks for the discovery ITG. (also - i love her hair and effortless, timeless style. such beauty! potential future topshelf interviewee :D? yes plz.)