There’s a myth that boiling water “burns” green tea, including matcha.
I’ll talk about that in another post, but actually some green teas taste better in boiling water.
Regarding matcha, I decided to make my own experiment and show you my results.
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What water temperature is best for matcha?
First of all, I must say that I have prepared very high-quality matcha in boiling water and it still tastes great.
So, for this experiment, I’ll use medium quality matcha. That way I can quickly tell the difference in bitterness.
I’ll prepare the same matcha in boiling water and also in cold water and see what the difference is.
For the sake of precision, I measured the volume of water (60 ml, 2 oz) with a small measuring cup. Each portion of matcha was 1.5 gr, weighed with my AWS scale.
preparing matcha with different temperatures
Left: boiling water. Right: cold water.
I made the first bowl of matcha with boiling water from my tea kettle, and the other bowl with cold water from my refrigerator.
Then I whisked them.
The one with boiling water was easier to whisk into a nice layer of foam.
However, with cold water, the result looks identical. It just took a little more time to froth.
Since temperature affects the perceived taste, I had to taste them both at the same temperature.
What I did was to place both bowls in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.
When I took them out they were both equally cold.
Just in case, I whisked them again. The matcha could have settled down at the bottom of the tea bowl.
The one made with boiling water tasted a little more bitter. Not excessively bitter, but it was noticeable.
On the other hand, the matcha made with cold water wasn’t bitter but it seemed to me that it lacked flavour.
Perhaps I’m used to drinking matcha when it’s warm?
So I guess that it’s better to prepare matcha with hot water (80ºC, 176ºF), because the taste at a lower temperature would be lighter, and at a higher temperature, it will be more bitter.
But note that the change in bitterness isn’t so extreme as for example in a loose-leaf green tea such as sencha.
In other words, matcha is less delicate in that sense.
I think that changes in temperature don’t affect matcha as much because it is not an infusion, but rather a mixture.
The concentration of matcha is the same regardless of the temperature but in loose leaf tea the concentration changes with time as it infuses.
And since loose leaf tea can be re-infused, the change in concentration is more dramatic.
I encourage you to try this experiment and see if you can tell the difference.