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I find that in authentic videos of making matcha (ones made by japanese people themself) that the preparation begins with mixing a bit of matcha powder with water and then whisking it (see 1:46 of this video for an example). My question is what exactly is the reason for doing this?

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Because matcha is ground so fine, whisking helps break up clumps; usually with a matcha whisk (chasen). If you were to try with a spoon or a normal metal balloon whisk you would find that clumps form.

Think about cocoa powder and how that sticks together perhaps? Usually a good whisking is needed to mix it into e.g. milk.

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There's a second reason: tradition.

Matcha drunk in formal tea ceremony is made with a lot of matcha, more than you'd generally use, and drunk with little or no steeping time. As such, the whisking is required to suspend the matcha powder. It also makes for dramatic ceremony, and a nice foam on the surface (info based on taking a training in tea ceremony at my zendo).

Even though matcha made at home uses less powder, the tradition of whisking it remains. And, like Thomas says, it helps prevent lumps.

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    This is a good point, perhaps some extra info here about koicha vs kusucha would be useful too. I'm not sure but my understanding is that koicha is this thicker tea talked about and kuscha is the more common home tea? Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 15:19
  • I know Koicha is what you use for Tea Ceremony. I don't drink matcha outside that, so I don't really know the other varieties.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 18:49

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