It is the counterpart of usucha “thin tea”, which more people are familiar with when it comes to drinking matcha. Koicha, on the other hand, is reserved only for tea ceremonies and exclusively top grade ceremonial matcha is used for its preparation.
Koicha might, in fact, be the thickest tea you will ever drink. Only about 50 ml koicha is prepared and the consistency is like a thick syrup more so than tea (without the favored froth of usucha).
When sipping koicha, it will slowly but surely proceed to greet you. Meeting you with a brief moment of intense umami and a long-lingering sweetness. Similarly to gongfucha when we intake a concentrate of all the tea’s best qualities all through one tiny cup of brew.
It is indeed an experience.
Koicha is always enjoyed alongside wagashi, the sweet-and-salty traditional Japanese sweets. Drinking it on its own might be too intense even for the experienced matcha connoisseur.
In Japan, outside of the ceremonial tea hut setting and in more casual tea huts it is not uncommon to find desserts such as sweet mochi (rice cake) and red beans topped with koicha. And most recently “koicha affogato”, ice cream topped with koicha.
Many believe that koicha is a true way to intake the quality of the matcha to its fullest. Similarly to how many tea drinkers believe that gongfucha is the true and only way to honor your pu-erh, or oolong, or any other tea. Ultimately it is up to the drinker, but we do recommend trying it at least once!
How to prepare koicha:
- Sift the matcha powder, making sure not to have any lumps
- Pour 50ml hot water into the chawan and whisk using the chasen.
Make sure to only use top quality ceremonial grade matcha, otherwise you will end up with a rather bitter beverage that is not pleasant to consume in such a concentrated quantity
For instructions on how to prepare usucha check our blog post How to Whisk Matcha in Traditional Fashion.
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- Tags: ceremonial grade matcha, Japan, japanese tea, japanese tea ceremony, koicha, matcha, wagashi