Maccha 101 at Jagasilk

left: A maccha latte served with organic dried apricot. right: Jared Nyberg, who co-owns Jagasilk with his wife Miyuki, with an assortment of tea tools from their store. Photos by Ellie Shortt

Originally part of the sacred Japanese tea ceremony, maccha [match-cha]is a refined powder form of green tea that has now been incorporated into lattes, ice cream, or enjoyed on its own. Maccha is said to improve the clarity of skin, increase memory retention, amplify focus and stamina, boost your metabolism, lower your cholesterol and fight against heart disease and cancer. In fact, maccha is one of the only edible items the FDA has permitted to use the words “Fights Cancer” on labels. In addition to the overall health benefits of this powerful green tea powder, maccha also provides long lasting energy with minimal jitters and crashing effects – something that many find to be a major downfall of coffee. So if you’re looking to have a little more maccha in your life, take a look at the following brief breakdown of this so-called super drink.


The Classroom:


Jagasilk. 633 Courtney Street. Victoria (778) 430-5683


This unique teahouse has just celebrated their 7th anniversary in Victoria and boasts a wide selection of high quality teas and related products. The cosy nook, located in Nootka Court, takes tea to a new level with an emphasis on education and knowledge and an insistence on freshness and preparation to ensure customers have the ultimate tea tasting experience.


The Teacher:


Jared Nyberg is the co-owner of Jagasilk along with his wife Miyuki. Jared has always been a tea enthusiast and gained particular interest and education on maccha while spending time in Japan. When starting Jagasilk, Jared set out with the goal “to apply this (sacred) tea to a casual environment while maintaining its integrity.”


Freshly frothed maccha along with the chasen, chawan, tins of maccha and some organic dried apricot

The Tools:


CHASEN: The bamboo whisk used in frothing and extracting flavour.


*Jagasilk chasen are by Masaki Kubo, a leader in the crafting of the nationally renowned “Takayama chasen”. His father cut chasen for the Japanese emperor, and his whisks are on display in the Louvre in France. The cost ranges from $50 for an apprentice whisk to $400 for a chasen made from wood that has been smoked for over 100 years.


CHAWAN: The bowl used for whisking the maccha powder. It has a rounded out bottom and a divot that allows for a small “cha-damari” or tea puddle to form, which is important in the tea ceremony aesthetic.


*Jagasilk chawan are by Harumi Ota, a Japanese potter of 30 years who lives in Victoria.


CHAKOSHI: A small sieve to help break up the powder. *Note: This is their style and not one of the vast number of tea ceremony styles (although they borrow from and are inspired by “ura-senke”)


CHASHAKU: a small bamboo teaspoon used to lift the tea out of its container and portion it into the bowl.


*You can also use a ½ teaspoon or a full teaspoon for one or two-gram measurements, and the chashaku to level it off.


MEASURING SHOT GLASS: to measure out the appropriate amount of water.



Ususcha (thin maccha) =  1g maccha : 60ml water at 70C (whisk for 15s)

Koicha (thick tea or a regular shot) = 2g maccha : 30ml water at 80C  (whisk for 15s)



The Types:


At Jagasilk they offer a selection of teas that are always changing and fresh, reflecting seasonality and demand. Currently they deal with Teruhiro Fujioka and his micro-lot tea garden in Uji, Japan.


Owl: 100% Okumidori cultivar. A blend of 1st and 2nd flush teas with notes of hazelnut. $23.50 per 20g, $18.50 for a 20g refill pack.


Raven: 100% Yabukita Cultivar. Pure first flush tea with notes of snap peas. $35 per 20g, $30 per 20g refill pack.


Eagle: 100% Okumidori cultivar. Pure first flush with a sweet, smooth and round finish. $45 per 20g, $40 per 20g refill pack


*Note: When buying Maccha, remember that 20g makes 20 servings. 1 pound of coffee, as a comparison, makes 22 servings if you use 20g per serving.


For proper mixing methods, draw an "m" for 3-4s to dissolve the powder into the hot water



1. Pour boiling water into your chawan to preheat.

2. Pour that same water to the 60ml line of a measuring cup and toss the extra.

3. Then pour that water into a random mug or similar vessel.


*NOTE: According to the teacher, every time you pour water into a room temperature vessel and feel the heat come through, it drops 10C. Boiling water is 100˚C and anything hotter is steam. Therefore, 3 vessel transfers gives you 70˚C, the perfect temperature for a traditional maccha.


4. Measure ½ tsp of fresh maccha through a sieve and into the chawan.

5. Pour the 70˚C water down the side of the bowl so you don’t make the tea splash out of the bowl.

6. Whisk in 3 stages:

i)              Draw an “m” for 3-4 seconds to dissolve the tea.

ii)             Slosh the liquid back and forth in the centre of the bowl, “whipping the liquid” into a froth delicately and evenly for 5 seconds.

iii)           Slowly draw one more “m” shape so that you integrate the big bubbles into the well-textured micro bubbles. Transition back into drawing “m” shapes so that you integrate the big bubbles into well-textured micro bubbles and finish by slowing down and drawing an outward to inward spiral with your whisk. The entire process should take 15 seconds. Less and you will lack flavour. More and you will start to release astringencies.

7. Time to enjoy your maccha! Note that maccha is not meant to be sipped, and is in fact meant to be enjoyed in 3 savoured gulps, so that you can really taste and explore this frothy and textured tea.


But what if you don’t have very much time?


If you’re looking for a quick maccha fix, you can make a “sipping tea” similar to an Americano. To do this, dilute the “traditional” maccha and work with more water, making the flavour something similar to a standard green tea.


1. Pour a mug’s worth of boiling water into your maccha bowl. Transfer it into a mug. Then transfer it into a second mug.

2. Put 1/2 tsp maccha through a sieve into your whisking bowl.

3. Portion a random amount of water (roughly 60ml worth) from the mug.

4. Whisk with any whisk you have (a chasen will be the best but not a requirement).

5. Pour liquid back on top of the mug cup of water and enjoy!


Continuing Education:


If you’d like to learn more about maccha or other teas at Jagasilk, you can join their Academy of Tea. Classes are listed on their website and spots are available by appointment. Jagasilk also plans on holding prescheduled classes in the near future. Classes include such lessons as the foundations in loose tea preparation, and maccha whisking techniques.





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