This Modern Matcha Starter Set from Pure Chimp outs an up to date spin on traditional Japanese matcha preparation. Japanese methods of making matcha tea involve using a bamboo whisk and a warm bowl. This latte kit uses a similar technique to create a frothy latte but speeds up the process with a mini electric whisk.
Matcha is a form of green tea that has recently gained popularity for its unique flavour, vivid green colour and health benefits. While it may be on everyone’s lips and even in their recipes, very few people know what it is or how to use it.
It is green tea that has been produced in such a way to enhance its intense colour and flavour. Instead of being used in its leaf form and steeped in water as ‘Green tea’ it is finely ground to form a powder that remains in the tea when it’s drunk. This lends it perfectly to be used for making a frothy green Matcha latte.
Who is Pure Chimp?
Pure Chimp was founded in 2013 to produce a variety of high quality 100% natural products, including matcha. They were inspired to include matcha among their range when founder Dean was given a cup of it on a staff training event. He was amazed at how energised it made him feel and the lack of any coffee-like side effects.
Now that they stock it themselves, they’ve set out to make good matcha affordable and readily available to those who want to try it in the UK. They are now the biggest European supplier for a large Japanese supplier. They aim to be an ethically and environmentally aware company and donate 5% of their profits to charity.
When the set arrived, its packaging and presentation gave the impression of something exceptional. Apart from a mug, milk and sugar, you get everything you need to get started. The set includes:
- 50g of matcha
- An electric whisk
- A 1 gram matcha spoon
The tea powder wasn’t quite as bright green as I thought it would be, but it was still striking in appearance. The first time I used it, I was so enthusiastic I frothed the milk so much that all I had was a cup of green foam. The mini whisk looks stylish with its metal finish, and it works well. If you want to get a good froth on your latte, you need to position the whisk head near the surface of the liquid to incorporate enough air. If you keep it too far in the tea, it just mixes it around and doesn’t add enough air.
I found that drinking a latte in the morning and one if I felt tired or sluggish later in the day, did help me to refocus and stay alert. The sensation was odd because you don’t get catapulted awake like you can do with a strong coffee, the effect is slower and gentler but just as effective in the long run. Over time I found it to improve my focus even more in the morning, but I’m such a fan of a good cup of coffee I now alternate between a matcha latte and a coffee latte every other day.
When I first tried matcha, I wasn’t impressed; it tasted like a cup full of seaweed without being quite as fishy. I’d only used a half serving of matcha to make a week latte so I could get used to it, but when I tried again with a full amount found that a stronger brew helped get rid of the seaweed taste and made it more of an intense green tea flavour.
Even then, I wasn’t a fan, but I found that with some experimentation with milk and sugar, I could get it to a strength and consistency that was quite pleasant. Often with all the talk of incredible benefits and beautiful colour the fact that the taste of matcha is so distinctive can get left out. For me, it took a while to get used to but eventually I did acquire a taste for it, but the first week was slow going. Many people like the flavour so much they add it to cakes and smoothies so you may well be someone who takes to it quicker than I did.
Ease of use
For me, having it as a starter kit was a bonus because I was able to use frothy milk to adjust it until it reached a consistency and flavour that I liked. The whisk is simple and easy to use; it just takes 2 x AAA batteries and easily froths a small amount of liquid in a cup or mug. Because it is quite small and battery-powered, it is only useful for frothing milk or other drinks.
Because the match powder is designed to stay in the liquid, it couldn’t be easier to prepare. The powder is added to your cup with the specially designed spoon, and you add a splash of boiling water, mix it with the whisk, top it up with warm milk and whisk it again. To make the result even smoother, you can pass the matcha powder through a sieve or strainer as you put it into the cup.
Value for money
This set is currently priced at £21.95, and when sold individually, they come to £24.85. There are other versions of each part of the set that would allow you to get the same parts for less than £20, but there is a charm in having a matching set attractively packaged together.
I found it useful to have each item in the set so was glad I’d decided to get it rather than buying matcha on its own. If you are a beginner, this is definitely worth the money, but if you’ve already got a few matcha lattes under your belt, it would be better to go straight for the 50g Pure Chimp matcha jar. The quality of the matcha itself was excellent; it was strong and had the effect that I was expecting.