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Hot vs Cold Matcha - A Quick Brewing Guide

Matcha is a powerhouse of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals - hence why it's fast becoming one of the most popular health drinks in the world.

This stone-ground green tea powder is enjoyed by millions worldwide, and it can be prepared in various ways.

hot vs cold matcha

So, should you drink matcha hot or cold?

Although matcha can be consumed either way (it’s totally up to you!), there are some key differences to consider in terms of benefits and the temperature you use can impact the consistency and taste of your drink.

If you want to get the most out of your matcha, keep reading to explore our ultimate guide on matcha temperature.

    Matcha Brewing Temperatures

    If you regularly order matcha from a coffee shop or make it a home, you may have noticed that your matcha has different tastes and textures, even though it’s made from the same ingredients.

    Why is that? Well, it’s likely due to a number of things - one of which can be the temperature at that your matcha is brewed.

    Should You Use Boiling Water To Brew Matcha?

    Although most people use boiling water in regular teas and coffee, it’s definitely not advised for matcha.

    Not only can boiling water change the flavour of your matcha, producing a more bitter taste and no silky texture, but it can also destroy some of the matcha’s most useful properties.

    So, if you’ve only ever been drinking your matcha with boiling water, there’s a good chance that you’ve never really tasted the full extent of its flavour profile!

    If you want to use warm water (after all, this is the most popular way to drink matcha), it’s not advised to use water that’s warmer than 80 degrees Celsius.

    So, simply turn your kettle off before it hits boiling, or let your boiled water cool for a while before making your matcha with it.

    Brewing matcha at this temperature will retain most of its ‘natural’ flavours, which come through nutty, sweet, slightly bitter, and vegetal.

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    Using Lower Temperatures

    If you prefer, you can let your water cool even further before making your matcha, and this can release even more flavours and textures into your drink.

    Although brewing matcha at 80 degrees celsius retains most of its natural flavours, using lower temperatures does not appear to affect its nutrient profile while giving you a slightly different taste.

    Brewing matcha with water between 60-70 degrees celsius can preserve most of its natural taste while giving you a slightly smoother texture.

    Using even lower temperatures (30 degrees celsius and lower) can give your matcha a slightly more refreshing taste - in other words, expect less of that bitter vegetal flavouring!

    Brewing at lower temperatures is also thought to extract less caffeine which can suit some people who experience side effects such as pooping more, nausea, restlessness and the ‘jitters’.

    brew ceremonial matcha

    Let’s Talk L-theanine

    Earlier, we mentioned that using boiling water to brew your matcha can destroy many of its most sought-after nutrients and antioxidants.

    L-theanine is one of the most important components in matcha, and your brewing temperature can significantly affect how (or if) you consume it.

    L-theanine is a type of amino acid that’s found in green teas like matcha and even some species of mushrooms. In green teas like matcha, the L-theanine is thought to only be activated when it comes into contact with hot water.

    Research has shown that the optimal temperature for extracting L-theanine from green teas is 80 degrees Celsius.

    This unique amino acid is thought to modify the effects of caffeine in matcha as well as promote relaxation, boost immunity, manage blood pressure, and even fight cancer!

    So, if you’re drinking matcha for its health benefits, it's important to maximise your intake of L-theanine as much as possible - and evidence currently suggests that you don’t want to be brewing it over 80 degrees for this.

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    Can You Drink Cold Matcha?

    If you’re not a fan of hot drinks, or you’re currently suffering a heatwave - you may prefer to drink your matcha ice cold.

    Although it’s definitely possible to drink matcha at cold temperatures, you’ll probably find that your matcha powder won’t dissolve well, which can leave you with a film of floating powder at the top.

    However, this is easily resolved - simply shake or stir your matcha until the remaining powder disappears. Although this involves more work than brewing hot matcha, it’s a good option if you don’t want to drink it warm.

    Even though you may not get a full extraction of L-theanine at lower temperatures (discussed above), you will still get many of the clinically-indicated benefits (e.g. ability to reduce cholesterol) as well as a dose of many key vitamins and minerals including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, E, C, K, and iodine.

    Popular Hot Matcha Preparation Methods:

    matcha preparation

    Temperature plays a considerable role in the taste and texture of your matcha. However, there are also several ways to prepare matcha, which can also influence the way your drink tastes.

    Traditional Method

    Most people use the traditional Japanese method to prepare their matcha. This involves putting one or two teaspoons of high-quality ceremonial-grade matcha (such as Kenko Tea)matcha into a bowl and slowly pouring warm (not boiling) water into the mix.

    Then, use a traditional bamboo whisk to froth up your matcha, and enjoy! If you don’t want to drink your matcha from a bowl, this method can also be used in a mug.

    Matcha Latte

    Another popular way to enjoy matcha is in latte form.

    This method starts out the same way, by placing 1-2 teaspoons of matcha into a mug or bowl and adding warm water.

    However, instead of filling your mug to the top with warm water, fill your mug a quarter of the way. Whisk the mixture in your mug until it’s slightly frothy.

    Then, on your stovetop, heat your milk of choice (cow's milk or oat milk are popular choices), and whisk your milk as it heats.

    Take it off the heat before it starts to boil, and pour it into your mug. Stir your mixture together and froth more if desired.

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    The Bottom Line

    Although matcha has a unique and often acquired taste, many find it delicious, both hot and cold.

    However you most enjoy it, boiling water should always be avoided to preserve its flavour, texture and health benefits.

    So, if you want warm matcha, aim to brew it with water that’s 80 degrees celsius or lower. Enjoy!

    Darcy Ogdon-Nolan

    Holding a Bachelor Of Science (Hons.) combined with close to a decade now in the health food and wellness industry, I believe I'm uniquely positioned to provide a depth of knowledge and first-hand experience on emerging health products, trends and ideas! From greens powders and medicinal mushrooms through to protein powders and workout nutrition - I'm particularly interested in what modern science can uncover about what human cultures have been using to treat ailments for millennia!

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