Matcha Shots

The Whole Leaf

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To say that matcha is having its moment is an understatement. From the traditional frothy whisk, to green smoothies and baked treats, matcha has found its footing in our culture. Beyond straight, grassy sip or popular sweetened latte, there are many creative ways mixologists and baristas are using matcha. Considering that we’re in the full swing of summer, it only seems natural to mix what’s fresh at the farmer’s market with this powdered Japanese green tea to make a refreshing matcha juice shot.

Freshly juice your favorite fruit or vegetable, whisk in the matcha, and sip it in seconds.

Made from shade-grown green tea leaves that are stone-ground into a powder (after the veins and stems are removed and the tea is steamed and tumbled dry), matcha is meant to be whisked into water and consumed within moments (as the powder never truly dissolves and will eventually settle). While a traditional bowl allows you to experience all the nuances of the complex tea (grassy, vegetal, sweet, savory, creamy, astringent), let summer sun fuel creativity to experiment with matcha and fresh fruit juice. Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast who wants to turn traditional matcha on its head or a novice who wants to be eased into a bold, green drink, this recipe offers a fresh take while letting matcha shine.

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Honeydew, watermelon, and cucumber converge with matcha. (Photos by Alexis Siemons.)

It’s easy. Freshly juice your favorite fruit or vegetable (strain any remaining solids), whisk in the matcha, and sip it in seconds. If a juicer isn’t in your kitchen cabinet, add the fruit to your blender, pulse to liquefy, and then use a fine mesh strainer to remove any remaining solids. While any farmer’s market find will do, I recommend melons (watermelon and honeydew) and cucumber to start. For those with a sweeter tooth, opt for watermelon. Its big kick of natural sugars bring out the sweet and creamy notes of the matcha with only a hint of astringency (although don’t expect the ruby red melon to retain its color when matcha is mixed in). For those who want a prettier shot with a deep green hue that is more matcha-forward, opt for a honeydew. The end result is sweet and creamy, and really lets the grassy notes of matcha take center stage. And then if you want to enter vegetable territory, a cucumber offers a more savory taste. Fresh and so very clean, this deep green matcha and cucumber mixture gives the tea’s vegetal taste a boost that is also cooling.

While it’s often said that cooking-grade matcha should be used for anything other than straight matcha, I recommend ceremonial grade for this matcha juice shot recipe. Since it’s a small sip with one additional ingredient, the delicacy of the ceremonial matcha won’t be muddled. And if you’re tempted to make a large pitcher after your first step, try not to follow your gut. The beauty of this is its quick burst of flavors, best experienced in just one shot (plus it could be quite expensive to sift in a large amount of ceremonial matcha that will settle to the bottom of the pitcher in moments and will need to be re-whisked). Experiment by juicing a series of fruits and vegetables to mix with the matcha. Gather friends for a matcha juice tasting to savor summer flavors, or use the recipe as a way to help hesitant customers at your café tiptoe into the powdered green tea trend.

Matcha Fresh Juice Shot
makes one shot

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Ingredients
• ½ teaspoon ceremonial grade matcha
• ¼ cup fresh fruit or vegetable juice (watermelon, cucumber, and honeydew recommended)

Juice your fruit or vegetable and strain until the liquid is completely pure and smooth. Sift ½ teaspoon of ceremonial grade matcha into a small bowl (a fine mesh strainer or tea infuser is recommended for sifting). Add a splash of the juice to the matcha and whisk it into a smooth paste (no matcha granules should remain). Add the rest of the fresh juice to the bowl and whisk for thirty seconds until frothy. Drink it straight from the bowl, or pour it into a small glass and drink immediately.

Beyond melons, experiment with other sweet summer fruit such as stone fruit (peaches, plums) and berries. Get extra creative by making a batch of watermelon lemonade (juice watermelon and mix with fresh lemon juice and sweetener) and whisk in matcha. For a savory sip, swap a cucumber for celery or carrots. Pluck green leaves from your garden, juicing spinach and mint and then mixing matcha in for balanced flavor that’s naturally sweet. While it’s tempting to fill your juicer with a tote full of farmer’s market finds, aim for purity when making this shot to truly let the matcha and (one or two) summer ingredients stand out.

—Alexis Siemons is a tea consultant and writer.