Ippodo Tea - Logo Style Stacked
Verdant green smooth and thick koicha Ippodo matcha in tilted black artisan-crafted ceramic tea bowl and coating the sides

Koicha, for a Next-Level Matcha Experience

Written on March 01, 2023 (updated on March 03, 2023)

Koicha ("thick tea") is a style of preparing matcha with a thick density. True to its name, a properly-made koicha has a consistency somewhere in-between maple syrup and warm honey. Koicha contrasts with usucha ("thin tea"), the typical matcha preparation style with a cream-like consistency.

koicha thick matcha being poured into a black teabowl Thick enough to scoop.

Why make matcha so thick?

Koicha is the dark chocolate to usucha's milk chocolate; its robust taste is a pure delight for die-hard matcha fans.

It's simply the best way to experience any matcha powder's full, pure, and unhindered taste.

Take a sip and let it sit heavily on your tongue for a moment. The initial impact of its flavor will develop and expand, commanding your attention and lingering forever in the finish.

two tea bowls, one with usucha thin matcha and one with koicha thick matcha in it Koicha on the left, usucha on the right.

Which matcha is good for koicha?

Since koicha produces such a powerful flavor, you’ll want to choose a matcha that has more sweetness and less sharpness.

For Ippodo Tea matcha blends, our matcha recommended for koicha are any that ranks higher than Kan.

How is koicha made?

We use twice the amount of matcha powder and half the amount of water that we use for usucha.

After sifting the powder into a matcha bowl and adding the water, we start by slowly stirring using a chasen. The drink becomes smoother and more consistent as the powder combines with the water. Soon enough, it takes on a beautiful luster that indicates it is ready to drink.

The Recipe

1. Sift Matcha
  • Measure 4 g (3 heaping tea ladles, or 2 level teaspoons).
  • Sift the matcha into a matcha bowl.
2. Add hot water
  • Use 30 ml (1 oz) of 80°C (176°F) water.
  • Cool boiling water by pouring it into a teacup first, then pour it into the bowl. There should be enough to just cover the matcha powder.
3. Whisk
  • Using a chasen, gently tamp the matcha powder to incorporate it with the water.
  • Then, mix for 15 seconds, moving back and forth and in circles. When finished, the liquid should be smooth and have a beautiful luster.
4. Enjoy
  • Drink from the same bowl you prepared the tea in. Take small sips and go slowly.
Ippodo Tea - Sifting matcha into a white teabowl with spout

How to Enjoy Koicha

Koicha is best enjoyed on its own, savored as a delicious treat. Since it has such a rich taste, you might want a cup of cool water to sip on the side. We recommend eating something before sitting down for koicha—its strength can be overwhelming on an empty stomach.

koicha thick matcha in a cermaic bowl koicha thick matcha being poured over vanilla ice cream in a glass cup
Koicha with wagashi... or poured over ice cream.

For those with a sweet tooth, try pure koicha as a topping or sauce for desserts. Make a matcha affogato by pouring koicha over a small dish of vanilla ice cream.

Recommended Teas

Recommended Utensils

Subscribe to our newsletter for more interesting content on Japanese tea.

Latest Blog Posts

Browse all articles 
Picture of leaves of green tea plant sprouting upwards towards the sun in front of blurred ombre green background

Get Ready: Shincha 2024

Crafted from tea leaves that were growing in a field only a few days prior, Ippodo’s Shincha is delivered right after harvest. There is only once chance per year to experience its fresh, fleeting character.
Small plate with sample of Ippodo Obukucha tea with roasted rice beside teacup of brewed tea and brown clay Yakishimi kyusu

Featuring Obukucha, Our New Year’s Genmaicha

There is a long tradition of drinking Obukucha in January in Japan to bring good fortune in the coming year.

Iribancha, Kyoto's Daily Tea

Iribancha, Kyoto's Daily Tea

Iribancha is surprising for many trying it for the first time, given its strong, smoky fragrance.