Serving green tea in your own home

by Makiko Itoh

Special To The Japan Times

It’s impossible to write out a recipe for wagashi in such a limited space, and just as impossible to acquire the skills you need to make them! So here is a recipe for making a proper glass of iced matcha tea, the perfect summertime accompaniment for refined jōgashi.

Matcha is the powdered green tea most typically used in the traditional tea ceremony, and most tea pundits hold that the best matcha comes from the Uji region near Kyoto. Uji matcha powder is prohibitively expensive, but you do get what you pay for.

I’ve also included a recipe for simple sugar syrup, which you can make in advance and stock in your refrigerator to sweeten cold drinks throughout the summer.

Iced matcha (1 large serving or 2 small servings)

Matcha tea powder — 2 heaped tsp

Water — 200 ml

Ice cubes

If possible, chill the serving glasses for at least an hour in the refrigerator beforehand.

Boil the water, then let it cool to about body temperature. Combine the water and matcha by whipping with a handheld mixer with an aerator attachment, or a small hand whisk. Alternatively put the tea and water in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. (These methods yield better, frothier results than using a traditional chasen or bamboo tea-mixer — unless you’re a tea-making veteran.) Add ice cubes, and mix or shake again.

Serve immediately, accompanied by wagashi or a pitcher of sugar syrup.

Sugar syrup (makes about 1.5 liters)

Granulated sugar — 1 kg

Water — 1 liter

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring constantly so that the sugar dissolves completely. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool.

Store the cooled syrup in the refrigerator in a clean container with a lid, such as a glass jar or bottle.