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I want to use Matcha powder in some baking recipes (cake, macaroons, cheesecake, etc), and while I think it tastes fine many others have told me that it is too bitter. So I was wondering if anyone knew a good way to kind of keeping the unique matcha flavor but reducing the bitterness to make it more sweet or palatable for others.

For example: I made a matcha cheesecake the other day.

Ingredients:

  • 24 ounces of cream cheese
  • 8 ounces of sour cream
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of matcha powder
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

I combined the cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar until smooth and creamy. Then I added the matcha powder and vanilla extract for flavor; this also thickened the batter. Finally, I mixed in the eggs individually until just combined to make the batter smooth again. The cheesecake turned out excellently and I thought it tasted good, but all my friends and family thought it was too bitter. So I want to keep the matcha flavor while reducing the bitterness for others who are less familiar to the matcha flavor can enjoy.

My thoughts to counter the bitter flavor were to either combine:

  • mix 1/3 cup heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of matcha powder
  • mix 4 ounces of melted white chocolate with 2 tablespoons of matcha powder
  • add 1 tablespoon of honey with 2 tablespoons of matcha powder
  • Or some combination of the three

If anyone knows if these combinations work or has other suggestions I would be happy to hear them.

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    Hi Jordan! I'm not sure if I understand the criteria for the question. You want to make this recipe less bitter while still keeping the bitter taste? I am not an expert by any means but this seems contradictory to me. Could you explain a bit more what your goal is, specifically? – Onyz Oct 1 at 13:41
  • Yea, I understand it sounds weird. Like I want to keep the distinct flavor of matcha and still have some of the bitter taste, but I want it to be less pronounced or not as bitter, or have a sweet flavor that kind of works with the bitterness perhaps. – Jordan Vanort Oct 1 at 14:27
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    In that case I think your question would benefit from a very simple edit, taking "keep the unique, bitter matcha flavor" and changing it to match your intent of keeping the flavor but reducing the bitterness. Specifically, I think you might be interested in flavorless or unobtrusive ways of minimizing the bitterness of a recipe, is that right? – Onyz Oct 1 at 15:15
  • Yea, if it can be unobtrusive that would be nice. However, I'm also interested in perhaps making it a little sweet to coincide with the bitter matcha flavor, like using white chocolate to make it slightly sweet but not adding too much of a distinct chocolate flavor. Or another idea is honey, honey is another natural/earthy flavor that could mingle with the bitter matcha as well. – Jordan Vanort Oct 1 at 15:50
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    Not all recipes are created equal, and the specificities for introducing the matcha flavor in the recipes are not the same for the different preparations you're mentioning (cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes and macarons) all have VERY different preparation methods. Another point: it is technically off-topic to ask for recipe suggestions. Can you please be clear on what you have already tried and did or didn't work and whether you're looking for a solution to a specific problem (with one recipe) or just matcha in general? – Juliana Karasawa Souza Oct 1 at 15:52
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So, first things first... matcha is not supposed to be overly bitter. It has a certain bitterness to it, but good, well-prepared matcha is not overpoweringly bitter. (I'm talking about the actual tea itself, not anything made with it)

I'm going to add a few precautions you should take when making anything matcha-flavored:

  • Make sure what you're buying is good and authentic matcha, even if it is culinary grade.
  • Good matcha is very bright green and very finely powdered.
  • Look for shade-grown, stone-ground matcha made of tencha from Japan. It is going to be expensive, but it will keep you from disappointment.

That being said, matcha doesn't like to be heated past 80-90 degrees C and needs to be quite thoroughly aerated for the flavor to spread and blossom. This is why the best-tasting products made of matcha are usually things that are not boiled or baked, like mousse, icecream, or cookies with matcha frosting.

Potential solutions:

  • Switch to a no-bake cheesecake recipe (so you don't cook your matcha)
  • Prepare the matcha in milk (or other very fluid, easy to aerate liquid) and incorporate that as an essence / extract in your recipe - the usual proportion for drinking is 1-2g in 80mL of water so you can go from there for adjusting your liquid quantity
  • Thank you for your wisdom! I will try mixing the matcha powder with either milk, heavy cream, or water next time to aerate it. Also, I've always baked my cheesecake at 90 degrees C to prevent cracks from forming; so while I could try a no-bake recipe I think I'll stick with what I have for the time being, as long as it doesn't over-heat the matcha. I will definitely keep the no-bake idea in mind if the baked cheesecake doesn't work out. I think I will also still try adding honey to the recipe, perhaps dispersing the flavor with water and adding a honey aftertaste will work well? – Jordan Vanort Oct 5 at 20:05
  • @JordanVanort you already have 1 cup of sugar, adding 1 tbsp of honey will not make much difference, even considering that honey has more sweetening power than sugar (1 tbsp = 1/16 cup). As an alternative, if you want to have baked cheesecake but cannot make it work with the recipe, you can make a regular cheesecake and serve with matcha ganache – Juliana Karasawa Souza Oct 7 at 8:42
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    Matcha ganache is a really good idea, I'll definitely look into it. And I wasn't really thinking of honey as a sweetener, but more for its distinct "honey" taste as like a pair with the matcha. If it makes sense, they both kind of taste like nature, and I thought that'd be a good combo. It would be like adding white chocolate to maybe give a slight chocolate aftertaste, without making it too distinct, along with the matcha as a sort of combo. Because a thought I had wasn't that people dislike the bitterness of matcha, but that here in america they aren't used to it. So something familiar help. – Jordan Vanort Oct 9 at 22:08

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