Nestled in a quiet corner of Soho is the home of all things matcha – desserts, lattes, chocolate, you name it! This place is otherwise known as the Tsujiri Matcha House.
*Fun fact: they’ve been around for over 160 years, passing down the business from generation to generation, and their dedication to good quality matcha remains consistent.
A few Saturdays ago, at about 8:45am (yes on a saturday!) I made the 45 minute journey to Tsujiri’s (vegan) pop-up shop on Rupert Street, Soho to learn more about matcha.
With this being my first time at the house, I was pleasantly surprised by the cosiness and homely feel of the shop. With several bar stools and a table top resembling the kind you’d find in your kitchen, this ‘house’ felt much like a home.
Despite my 5 minute late arrival, I was welcomed by Chin, matcha tea-cher for the day! He got us all to I introduce ourselves, to catch me up to speed, and he began explaining the set-up.
Grades of matcha
First off, Chin began by showing us a selection of various grades of matcha.
A noticeable difference here was the hue of green. From one end to the other, we could see an increase in the vibrancy of the matcha. He then went on to explain the difference between the grades e.g. the ceremonial grade and how this differs from the premium, to culinary etc. With this, he also explained why some matcha i.e. ceremonial is more expensive than say the culinary grade kind.
Tools needed to make the perfect matcha
Next up, we were shown the chasen (ceramic whisking bowl) used to whisk the powder, and the chaksuka (bamboo whisk) used to whisk the powder and water together.
Chin wanted us to get used to the motion of whisking first, before dealing with the good stuff. And here you can see his demonstration:
5 Matcha (trade) secrets he shared:
If there’s one thing Chin wanted to clear up in this workshop, it was a number of popularly accepted, shared and believed tips in the matcha community, and I will be sharing a few of those with you today.
#1: Water – your water doesn’t need to be 80 degrees Celsius before using it. In fact, he suggests the water you use is boiling hot because by the time you’ll have whisked the powder, the temperature would’ve reduced
#2: Softer H2O On the topic of water, he recommended 2 types of water that are softer than the one we get from our taps here in London, one of which is Waitrose essentials and the other…you’ll have to visit his next workshop to find out!
#3: To sieve or not? – There is a difference between sieved and unsieved matcha, and this is evident in its airiness and flavour.
#4: Right method of whisking the traditional way to whisk your matcha, is, as seen in video below, all in the whisk and wrist. And to be really traditional, you are to extend your chasen and
#5: when whisking your matcha, the whisk shouldn’t touch the bottom of the bowl, otherwise you won’t be able to fill the mixture with as much air.
All in all, I must say, the early start was well worth it, and the information shared was . And becuase i know some will question the validity of the tips shared, I will add that Chin trained as a wine sommelier and is also a tea sommelier, so he’s very much legit. One thing i was particularly fond of, was his willingness to share the information he’s acquired over the years. As someone who seeks to set the rcord straight, i hope to have a sit down interview/chat with Chin once again to pick his brain on all things tea (or matcha, for the time being).
Here’s a montage of the day:
If you enjoyed this post and read until the end, then leave a like below or comment on my latest Instagram post: “tea-cher”!
And until the next event (which is very soon),