Wednesday, February 24, 2016



WHAT IS THE MATCHA MAKER?: At first glance, The Matcha Maker from DAVIDsTEA appears to be a relatively expensive plastic water bottle with tea-making capabilities.  It rings in at $35 and is available in sodapop shop mint or vibrant grass green, the color of a Starbucks Green Tea Frapp (pictured above).  It is made from Tritan, an impact-resistant BPA-free plastic, and comes with a detachable frother and the added bonus of a mesh tea infuser basket for versatility.  This is particularly nice as drinking matcha daily can become an expensive endeavor.  It is double-walled so you can shake it and hold it even with a hot beverage inside, which is a perk that allows you to make, shake, and take it on the go.  There are no directions inside the box, just instructions printed directly on the cardboard with a reminder to always allow the pressure inside to be released by pressing the tiny silver button at the top taped across the lid (pictured below).  Overall, this is a great way to make and consume matcha quickly and easily... if that's what you're looking for from your matcha experience...

WHAT'S IN THE BOX?: Let's begin our voyage into reviewing this product by first opening up the box and seeing what's inside.  The shaker comes with minimal packaging, just a plastic slip around the contents: double layered plastic shaker, two tiered lid, plastic frother, mesh tea infuser basket.

FEATURE | TWO-TIERED LID: You can remove them together or individually to suit your needs.  The top tier screws off and you are greeted by a mesh screen (top of the bottom tier) that separates you from the contents inside your matcha maker as an added filter.  This will be particularly useful if you are using the mesh tea infuser feature so that you don't get a mouthful of tea leaves when you sip from the top or a cup of tea leaves if you choose to pour it into a teacup.  The lower tier is designed to connect to your attachments (plastic frother or mesh basket) and act as the aforementioned filter.  It is important to note that you will want to securely fasten both lids with each use (so nothing leaks) and to push the little silver button at the top to relieve any pressure that built up inside from the heat and shaking (or else you will have the Augustus Gloop in the Chocolate River gunshot effect, so take it seriously).

FEATURE | FROTHER ATTACHMENT: The frother attachment is designed to mix your loose matcha powder into your liquid of choice (water, milk, milk substitute).  It is made from the same strong BPA-free plastic as the shaker and creates some brilliant foam at the top of your drink after shaking which makes the overall experience of drinking your latte light and fluffy.  The frother can very easily be removed for cleaning or to change attachments.  It is important to note that you must shake the matcha maker straight up and down for best results and to only use 1 cup of liquid so that the level stays below the bottom of the frother for it to work properly.

FEATURE | MESH INFUSER BASKET: The tea infuser basket is made of tightly woven mesh to hold your loose-leaf tea as it steeps inside the shaker.  This, like the frother, can be attached and removed from the bottom of the second tier for cleaning and convenience.  The top of the second tier has the same tightly woven mesh to prevent the tea leaves from escaping when you drink or pour from the top of the shaker.

HOW DOES IT WORK?: Basically you add your matcha and warm liquid to the empty shaker, close lid securely, shake until the matcha is mixed and topped with foam, and then release pressure using the silver safety button before enjoying.  Extremely simple.  The directions are printed right on the outside of the box in three easy steps for your review and include suggestions for customizing your beverage including adding water or milk after shaking, pouring through the screen on the second tier for a foam-free beverage, and the option to re-shake at any point with a reminder to press the silver safety button afterward each time.  So, let's try it, shall we?

STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR TEA.  You can use any matcha powder that you'd like, but for this experiment we chose to invest in the Matcha Collection from DAVIDsTEA which includes Mocha Matcha, Mint Matcha, and Vanilla Matcha.  There will be individual reviews of the teas themselves at a later time, but for your reference: Mocha Matcha tastes amazing with Cashew Milk, Mint Matcha goes well with Soy Milk, and the Vanilla Matcha... we're still working on that one, but it has an interesting flavor when made with Hemp Milk.  Note: only 1/2 tsp is necessary for this recipe and each of these "single serve" packets contain 1.5 tsp.

THE RECOMMENDED AMOUNT: DAVIDsTEA recommends using 1/2 tsp of matcha powder to 1 cup of water in your matcha maker.  This is as close to traditional matcha tea as you are going to get using this device.  If you're into making a matcha latte, use milk or a milk substitute instead of water and slightly more matcha.  If you're after something closer to the taste of a Starbucks Green Tea Frapp or Latte, you're absolutely going to want to add more matcha powder.

STEP 2: ADD MATCHA POWDER.  Add your matcha to the empty shaker mug.  We chose to use 1/2 a single serve packet (3/4tsp) of mocha matcha powder for this experiment.  This is the best matcha to milk ratio without a measuring spoon if you only have packets available, but if you have a tin full of matcha, up to 1tsp will taste wonderful if you like a stronger flavor.

STEP 3: ADD WARM WATER OR MILK. The directions say to add 1 cup of warm water at 165F "no higher than the bottom of the frother."  As you can see in the photo above, we tried that.  It's more traditional.  However, Cashew Milk worked better for that fluffy latte feel, so we warmed up 1 cup of cashew milk in a pot on the stove and poured it into the shaker mug to join the matcha powder.  It is important to note that the level of the liquid should be BELOW the bottom of the frother attachment so that it can work properly.

STEP 4: CLOSE THE LID SECURELY.  This gets its own step as it is important to make sure that you have safely secured the lid before shaking to avoid making a mess or burning yourself.  Please, make sure you have the frother attachment secured, then secure both tiers of the lid before shaking.

STEP 5: SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE!  You will want to shake your matcha maker vertically for 10-20 seconds to make sure that all the powder mixes into the liquid and none has settled at the bottom.  The matcha tea will then be topped with foam, compliments of the frother.

SEE?  FOAM.  It is notable that water creates barely any foam, that soy and cashew create a medium amount of foam, and that hemp milk creates enough foam that your shaker will look like a matcha bubble bath when you've set it down.  The foam created by shaking Cashew Milk for 20 seconds is pictured above.

STEP 6: PRESS THE SAFETY BUTTON.  PRESS THE SAFETY BUTTON.  PRESS THE SAFETY BUTTON. In case you missed that, Step 6 is PRESS THE SAFETY BUTTON!  This will relieve any built up pressure created from shaking a heated beverage inside a sealed container.

Please note: some foam bubbles come out from between the two tiers of the lid when you press the safety button.  We are unsure if that is supposed to happen, if it is a factory defect, or if we just didn't tighten the lid enough, but it has happened all five times we've made matcha thus far.

STEP 7: DRINK OR POUR!  You are welcome to remove the lid and drink straight from the matcha maker or you can pour yourself a lovely mug of matcha.  We've tried pouring straight through the mesh, adding the foam at the end, and removing the entire lid and pouring the tea and have had similar results each time as much of the foam gets stuck to the walls of the matcha maker anyway.  If you're in love with foam at the top, you can use a spoon to scoop it out and top off your drink.

STEP 8: ENJOY!  Now that you've made some matcha tea or a matcha latte, you can sit back and enjoy it.  You also have the option to add milk or more water if that better suits your needs.




WHAT'S THE VERDICT?: Well, if you're looking for a very western "quick and easy on the go" matcha experience, this is an excellent investment.  This $35 shaker can certainly save you a significant amount of time and money.  If you're more into a latte than traditional matcha taste, the modification of 1 cup of milk and 3/4 of matcha powder will go a long way for you.  However, if you're very much into a true meditative matcha experience, this is the opposite of what you are looking for... as much of the art of matcha making and meditation comes from whisking the tea by hand.  But!  Odds are if you're reading this review, you're probably curious about this lightening fast product that DAVIDsTEA actually uses to make matcha lattes right in the store, so go ahead, make that investment.  Try it out for yourself.  It's simple and the tea is delicious.  Cheers!

1 comment:

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