Pale and Weak

Karen emailed me a few hours ago with the following instructions:


General rule for green tea is 4 grams (a little more than 1 tsp ) for 8 oz of water.

Use water at 175 degrees and steep for about 3 minutes- a little longer is okay.

If the flavor is light, increase the amount of tea.

Ok, I know the water shouldn’t be boiling for green tea, but I have no idea what the temperature actually was. Should I really be using a thermometer, or is there another way? I think they gave me tips on guessing water temperature over the holidays but as a forgetful coffee person, I’ve already lost it. Regardless, I’m guessing I didn’t use enough tea for the amount of water, so I will try again with these instructions in mind.

Karen also asked for my matcha muffin recipe. I’ve been using this one, tweaking it a little bit each time. I’ve never added the nuts. This makes 12 smaller muffins (in full sized tins) that are denser than you’d expect and a little bit chewy (not in a bad way). I’ve doubled the recipe every time since, and have not been able to replicate that chewy texture, so I think that it has something to do with how little batter is in each cup. Other tweaks I’ve tried:

  • I tried these using half whole wheat pastry flour and half unbleached all-purpose, and I found that the whole wheat flour competed with the matcha taste.
  • I tried these with a few (3 in a doubled recipe, I think) drops of lemon essential oil, and while they were delicious, the lemon also competed more with the green tea flavor than I’d like.
  • Most recently I’ve tried these with orange flower water (1.5 teaspoons in a doubled recipe)… these got rave reviews, but again the matcha was playing second fiddle.

Let’s be clear, I want the matcha to stand out as the most prominent flavor… I think this would be particularly important when using ceremonial grade matcha!! Everybody else was delighted with the more subtle matcha presence that came from a more complex flavor profile. My teacher (who has tried most of the variations) still misses that original dense/chewy texture, so I’m going to try the original recipe again next time, maybe with a quarter teaspoon of orange flower water.

For the record, I’m not using ceremonial grade matcha, I’m too broke and performing too many experiments. When I hone in on exactly the recipe that I want, I’ll try with a superior grade.


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