Matcha: Usucha vs. Koicha

If you love matcha as much as we do, you know that high-quality, farm-to-cup matcha tastes so much different (and by different we mean better!) from mass-produced powders, and there are different ways to prepare this healthy and delicious beverage. In Japan, drinking matcha and teas are a regular part of everyday life. Often people opt to drink tea over water in many instances, and drinking matcha prepared in the usucha method is both refreshing and authentic. 

Our 100 year old tea farm in Uji, Japan

Usucha vs. Koicha: What’s the Difference? 

In Japan, koicha means “thick tea” and usucha means “thin tea.” If you were to travel to Japan and participate in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, you’d witness matcha being prepared in these two styles. 

Usucha is the most common preparation method because it’s ideal for everyday drinking, whereas koicha tends to be reserved for special occasions. When preparing koicha, you use more matcha and less water (2 tsp matcha with 1oz water). The result is a thick, rich, and ultra-concentrated beverage, which can tend to be bitter. Its consistency is comparable to honey, and you can tell there’s far less water involved as soon as you take your first sip. Koicha preparation is fun to learn and worth a taste test if you’re interested, but if you’re an everyday matcha drinker, usucha will be more appealing and approachable. 

Usucha preparation involves scooping less matcha and adding more water into your cup. Expect your lovely vibrant  green drink to have a thinner mouth-feel, but don’t worry: you’ll still get to savor the mellow earthy notes blending with that irresistibly sweet umami that only matcha can afford. In terms of consistency and concentration, you can think of usucha as similar to a cup of drip coffee, whereas koicha is more similar to a shot of espresso.

Junbi Daily Ceremonial Matcha whisked using a traditional bamboo whisk

Why Usucha, Team Junbi?

You could think of usucha as the lighter, more delicate method, which is typically served in a larger quantity. Usucha results in a velvety smooth cup that’s topped with a delightful layer of froth. 

The majority of our customers are everyday matcha drinkers, which makes usucha the obvious (not to mention the most economical!) choice. Plus, our friends and farmers in Japan who carefully pick our tea leaves are sourcing them from tea plants younger than 30 years old, which is ideal for this particular preparation method. In fact, usucha is the way our farmers at our 100+ year old tea farm in Uji, Japan prefer to enjoy their matcha after each day of picking tea leaves - it’s refreshing, cooling, and the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

2 of our founders, Jeremy and Anna, picking tea leaves at our matcha farm in Uji, Japan.

With all this talk about making and drinking matcha, wouldn’t you say it’s time to prepare a cup? You can start off with ½ tsp of matcha with 4oz of water and add more matcha or water to taste. Using a bamboo matcha whisk or chasen, use a quick and vigorous motion to create a smooth and frothy consistency. We’ll do the same - cheers! Less matcha, more water, and off we’ll go, energized and ready to Prepare Daringly for any challenges ahead.

Leave a comment