What are Usucha and Koicha?

If you are a regular matcha drinker, you might be familiar with the Japanese terms usucha and koicha, which relate to how matcha tea is prepared.

Usucha translates to “thin tea” in English and can be used to prepare the majority of ceremonial matcha teas available on the market. It is a lighter preparation of matcha and is the version that is most-commonly prepared.

Koicha translates to “thick tea” in English and it is prepared with a much higher ratio of matcha to water, making the consistency thick and velvety, and the taste more concentrated. Koicha is usually prepared using only very high grade matcha and traditionally, it has been prepared mainly as a communal drink during the tea ceremony to be shared amongst guests. Only high-grade matcha should be used for koicha as lower grades tend to be more bitter and lack the sweetness found in higher grades.

When to drink Koicha and Usucha?

Koicha is usually associated with the tea ceremony or other special occasions, while usucha is more every day. Both koicha and usucha should be prepared using high grade matcha with only the highest grades recommended for koicha.

Preparing and consuming koicha is a great way to truly appreciate quality matcha. As koicha is prepared at a much higher concentration, the colour, aroma and taste are all amplified. This is another reason why koicha is used for tea ceremonies where guests are encouraged to take the time to focus on the different attributes of the matcha they have been served and to truly appreciate its’ attributes.

Any OMGTea ceremonial grades, which include AAA, AAA+ and Green Gold, are suitable for koicha.

How to prepare usucha and koicha

Usucha is basically the everyday way to prepare matcha tea, known for its’ light and frothy consistency. At OMGTea, we prepare usucha by mixing 1 gram of matcha with approximately 200-250ml of hot water, but the exact ratio will vary depending on personal preferences. Our AAA, AAA+ and Green Gold grades can all be enjoyed as usucha.

Check out our step-by-step guide for more details on how to make the perfect cup of matcha.

matcha usucha preparation

For koicha, we suggest using 2 grams of matcha to 100ml of water, basically double the matcha and half the water of usucha. To prepare it, sift the matcha into a matcha bowl or other wide mouthed cup, add a small amount of hot water and whisk vigorously with a bamboo whisk/chasen into a smooth and velvety paste. Then dilute it with a small amount of hot water until the consistency is similar to honey or melted chocolate.

matcha koicha preparation

Choosing between koicha and usucha depends on personal preference and the occasion. Koicha is often reserved for formal tea ceremonies and is enjoyed for its intense flavour and luxurious texture. Usucha, on the other hand, is more commonly consumed in casual settings and offers a lighter and more refreshing tea experience. However, there are no rules to how you prepare your matcha. We recommend you experiment with different ratios of water to matcha to see what you enjoy best.