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Japan's Matcha Ice Cream: 7 Shades of Green

12/07/2023 3:00 PM

Dive into the unique world of matcha ice cream in Japan, exploring its seven distinct shades. From mildly bitter to sweetly creamy, each shade offers a diverse flavor journey, making this dessert a true Japanese delight.
green matcha ice cream



Exploring Japan's love affair with matcha ice cream can be an overwhelming journey. Did you know that the Shizuoka Prefecture is renowned for its unique take on this beloved treat? This article will guide you through seven distinct shades of Japan's Matcha Ice Cream Spectrum, turning every scoop into a flavorful adventure.

Get ready to embark on a mouthwatering exploration of matcha!

Key Takeaways

Japan's matcha ice cream spectrum offers seven distinctive shades of green, each with its unique flavor profile ranging from the lightest and most delicate to the intensely rich.

Fujieda Matcha, a brand in Shizuoka Prefecture, played a significant role in modernizing matcha through its introduction of gelato, including Nanaya's world-renowned No. 7 matcha gelato.

Matcha ice cream is made with high - quality matcha powder and has a rich and earthy flavor with hints of sweetness. It combines the vegetal notes of fine matcha with a creamy and smooth texture.

Matcha and green tea differ in origin, taste, preparation method, caffeine content, and health benefits. Understanding these differences allows for an enhanced appreciation of Japanese tea culture.

The Matcha Phenomenon in Japan

Fujieda Matcha, a brand with a rich history in Japan's tea industry, has played a significant role in the modernization of matcha through its introduction of gelato.

Brief history of Fujieda Matcha

Nestled in the Shizuoka Prefecture, Fujieda is a town now synonymous with matcha-flavored delights. This modern identity traces back about 30 years when the local tea industry pivoted from gyokuro tea production to tencha, leading to the boom of high-quality matcha powder we see today.

The transformation was necessitated by shifting market demand and unique cultivation practices that involved shading tea leaves for at least 20 days before harvest, a process enhancing their deep green hue and concentration of flavorful theanine.

Guided by these strategic changes, Marushichi Seicha's owner Suzuki Shigehiko started an innovative venture called Nanaya - effectively putting Fujieda on Japan's gastronomic map as a hub for matcha lovers worldwide.

Modernizing matcha: The advent of gelato

In the town of Fujieda nestled in Shizuoka Prefecture, a modern matcha revolution blossomed through Nanaya, an innovative tea shop. The brainchild of Suzuki Shigehiko, this eighth-generation owner of Marushichi Seicha tea wholesaler devised a grand scheme to elevate Fujieda's matcha industry.

His ingenuity shifted the spotlight from Uji in Kyoto by introducing an exotic fusion – gelato with Japan's prized tea leaf.

Suzuki didn't just launch any regular gelato; he created the world's strongest delightfully smooth and intensely flavored matcha ice cream. Seven unique shades of meticulously crafted matcha ranged from mildest to strongest; each scream for attention boasting its distinctive robustness and richness.

With his relentless dedication and passion, even when technological limitations arose at No. 5 intensity level - Suzuki persisted on his quest for perfection until Premium No.7 was born — The unparalleled king boasting as the world's most potent matcha gelato.

This seismic shift in the conventional use of high-quality Fujieda Matcha received widespread social media attention that stirred up a global buzz, resulting in long queues lining up outside Nanaya stores all across Japan ready to taste this acclaimed sensation.

A Journey through the Matcha Spectrum

Take a delicious journey through the various shades of matcha in Japan, exploring the vibrant world of matcha ice cream and its unique flavors.

Seven Shades of Matcha

seven shades of matcha

Exciting your palate across a color spectrum, Japan's matcha ice cream comes in seven distinctive shades of green. Each shade offers a unique taste experience, starting with the lightest and most delicate flavor to the intensely rich.

Shade One - A whisper of matcha, perfect for those just dipping their toes into the world of matcha.

Shade Two - Slightly stronger with an undercurrent of sweetness that complements the creamy texture.

Shade Three - The medium level where the distinct bitterness starts to emerge.

Shade Four - Richer in strength and flavor, this is where matcha enthusiasts begin to crave for more.

Shade Five - Known for its mesmerizing depth with a pronounced bitterness that adds an interesting dimension to its flavor profile.

Shade Six - Expect a robust earthy flavor typical with high-quality Fujieda Matcha used by Nanaya, Suzuki Shigehiko's tea shop based out of Shizuoka Prefecture.

Premium No. 7 or Shade Seven - Billed as the world's strongest matcha gelato due to its intense concentration; it's a must-try for any hardcore matcha lover.

What does Matcha Ice Cream taste like?

Matcha ice cream is a unique and delightful treat that offers a taste experience like no other. Made with high-quality matcha powder, it has a rich and earthy flavor with hints of sweetness.

The vibrant green color of the ice cream reflects the natural chlorophyll content in matcha, giving it an appealing visual appeal. Unlike regular green tea ice cream, matcha ice cream has a stronger and more intense flavor profile due to its concentrated form.

It combines the vegetal notes of fine matcha with a creamy and smooth texture, creating a harmonious balance of flavors. Each spoonful delivers a burst of umami goodness paired with subtle sweetness, making it a favorite among both locals and foreign travelers in Japan seeking to indulge in Japanese culinary delights.

Matcha vs. Green Tea

matcha ice cream

Matcha and green tea are both celebrated in Japanese culture, yet they present distinct flavors, textures, and preparation methods. If you're planning a culinary adventure in Japan, it's important to understand the differences between matcha and traditional green tea.


Green Tea


Matcha is a finely ground powder made from shade-grown tea leaves, specifically tencha.

Green tea, also known as sencha, is made from sun-grown tea leaves that are steamed and rolled.


Matcha offers a richer, more concentrated flavor with a deep vegetal complexity and sweet aftertaste, as experienced in Nanaya's No. 7 matcha gelato.

Green tea has a lighter flavor, often described as grassy, fresh, and slightly astringent.


Matcha is whisked with hot water until frothy, creating a creamy texture. It's often used in cooking and baking, such as in the making of matcha gelato at Nanaya.

Green tea leaves are steeped in hot water and then removed, leaving a clear, yellow-green brew.

Caffeine Content

Due to its concentrated nature, matcha contains higher caffeine levels.

Green tea contains less caffeine, making it a milder option.

Health Benefits

As you consume the whole tea leaf when drinking matcha, it provides a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Green tea also contains beneficial antioxidants, albeit in lower quantities due to the steeping process.

As you tour Japan and tantalize your taste buds with the various shades of matcha ice cream, remember to also enjoy a calming cup of traditional green tea. Whether you prefer the bold intensity of matcha or the delicate subtlety of green tea, both offer unique ways to experience the robust world of Japanese tea culture. Enjoy these exquisite tastes as you enrich your knowledge of Japan's cherished tea traditions.

Crafting Matcha Ice Cream

creating matcha ice cream

Crafting matcha ice cream involves selecting the right matcha for optimal flavor, deciding between a half-and-half or milk and cream base, making a smooth matcha paste, and refrigerating the mixture to ensure a creamy texture.

The right matcha for ice cream

To create the perfect matcha ice cream, choosing the right matcha is essential. Look for high-quality ceremonial grade matcha or premium grade matcha, which are ideal for achieving a vibrant green color and rich flavor in your homemade ice cream. We recommend using an organic matcha powder such as that from Ippodo Tea Company based in Kyoto, Japan.

Avoid using low-grade matcha or powdered sencha, as they may lack the desired intensity and depth of flavor needed for a delicious matcha ice cream experience. By selecting top-notch matcha, you can ensure that your frozen treat will boast the authentic taste of Japan's famous green tea.

Half-and-Half vs. Milk & Cream

When indulging in the rich world of matcha ice cream, it's important to understand the key ingredients that contribute to its creamy texture and intense flavors - namely, the use of half-and-half compared to milk and cream.

Here is a simple breakdown:


Impact on Texture

Impact on Flavor


Provides a smoother and creamier texture to the matcha ice cream.

Contributes to a milder flavor, allowing the distinct notes of high-quality Fujieda matcha to shine.

Milk & Cream

Creates a denser texture due to the higher fat content. This often leads to a richer mouthfeel.

Can overpower the matcha flavor due to the heavier taste of cream, but when balanced correctly, it can heighten the overall sensory experience.

At Nanaya, the world's strongest matcha gelato achieves its renowned balance of rich yet smooth flavor by considering these variables. The result is a delectable treat that allows the vegetal complexity and sweet aftertaste of fine Fujieda matcha to take the center stage.

Making matcha paste

To achieve the perfect matcha ice cream, making a smooth and flavorful matcha paste is crucial. Here's how to make it:

Start with high-quality matcha: Use ceremonial grade or premium grade matcha for the best results.

Measure out the desired amount of matcha powder: Depending on your recipe, you may need one or two tablespoons of matcha powder.

Sift the matcha powder: This step helps break up any clumps and ensures a smooth texture in your paste.

Add a small amount of hot water: Gradually pour in hot water while whisking vigorously with a bamboo whisk or spoon until all the powder is dissolved.

Continue whisking until it becomes a thick paste: Whisk for about 1-2 minutes until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy without any lumps.

Adjust consistency if needed: If the paste is too thick, add a little more hot water; if it's too thin, add more matcha powder.

Store the matcha paste in an airtight container: Transfer the paste to a small jar or container and seal tightly to preserve its freshness.

Refrigerating the matcha milk mixture

To achieve the perfect consistency and flavor in your homemade matcha ice cream, it is essential to refrigerate the matcha milk mixture before churning. Here's how:

After whisking together the desired amount of matcha powder with milk, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any lumps or clumps.

Pour the strained matcha milk mixture into a lidded container or bowl. Make sure to use an airtight container to prevent other odors from seeping in.

Place the container in the refrigerator and let it chill for at least 2 hours or until completely cold. This step allows the flavors to meld together and ensures that the ice cream base is well-infused with matcha goodness.

While refrigerating, check intermittently to ensure that there are no ice crystals forming on top of the mixture. If you notice any, gently stir them back into the liquid using a wooden spoon.

Once thoroughly chilled, you can now transfer the matcha milk mixture into your ice cream maker and proceed with churning according to its instructions.

The Future of Matcha Ice Cream

The future of matcha ice cream holds great promise as the global market for this beloved Japanese flavor continues to grow. With innovation in the matcha industry and the appeal of matcha ice cream spreading worldwide, there is a strong potential for new flavors, creative entrepreneurship, and modern marketing savvy to elevate this traditional treat to even greater heights.

Innovation in the matcha industry

The matcha industry in Japan is constantly evolving and innovating to meet the demands of an ever-growing market. One notable example is Nanaya, a tea shop in Fujieda that offers the world's most intense matcha-flavored gelato.

By developing a range of seven shades of matcha, from mildest to strongest, Nanaya has captured the attention of locals and foreign travelers alike. Their success has sparked a wave of social media buzz and media coverage, making them known as the creators of "the world's strongest matcha gelato." This kind of innovation not only attracts customers to their stores but also inspires other tea producers to think creatively about how they can expand the global appeal of matcha products.

The global appeal of matcha ice cream

Matcha ice cream has gained global popularity, attracting foreign travelers in Japan with its unique and vibrant flavor. With its striking green color and rich, earthy taste, matcha ice cream offers a delightful and refreshing treat for those seeking an authentic Japanese culinary experience.

Nanaya, the famed tea shop in Fujieda, has played a significant role in promoting matcha gelato globally by offering seven different intensities of matcha flavors. This innovative approach not only captivates the taste buds but also creates an unforgettable sensory experience that leaves a lasting impression.

From social media buzz to TV features and magazine coverage, Nanaya's "world's strongest matcha gelato" has garnered attention worldwide, drawing people from all corners of the globe to line up just to get a taste of this extraordinary dessert.

The success and demand for this remarkable frozen delight have paved the way for other tea-infused treats like hōjicha- and matcha-infused chocolate bars that have already won awards at international competitions such as Salon du Chocolat in Paris.


In conclusion, exploring the world of matcha ice cream unveils not only an array of beautiful shades of green, but also a symphony of distinctive flavors that harmoniously blend the sweet and bitter profiles. Whether you're making it at home, experimenting with vegan versions, or just savoring it plain, matcha ice cream is a refreshing, wholesome treat that beautifully encapsulates the essence of Japanese culinary art. So next time you're in Japan, make sure to embark on this delightful culinary journey. Enjoy the vibrant spectrum of matcha, one scoop at a time!


Q: How do I make a Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream at home?

A: Making matcha ice cream at home is simple and easy. You just need a few ingredients: matcha powder, heavy cream, and egg yolks. Beginners can get started with a matcha starter kit that has all the basic necessities to prepare matcha paste. Mix powder with a little hot water to make a paste, then blend it with the cream mixture. Once blended, add egg yolks and mix until well combined. Then, chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before churning in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Q: What is the best way to prepare the matcha for the ice cream recipe?

A: The best way to prepare matcha for the ice cream recipe is to first create a paste with the matcha and a small amount of hot water. This will ensure that the matcha is evenly distributed throughout the ice cream mixture, enhancing the flavor of the tea.

Q: What does Matcha Ice Cream taste like?

A: Matcha ice cream has a unique, slightly bitter taste with a creamy, sweet balance from the heavy cream and sweet cream. The flavor of the tea is distinctive and refreshing, making this ice cream a delightful treat.

Q: Is there a vegan alternative for making Matcha Ice Cream?

A: Yes, a vegan green tea ice cream can be made using coconut cream as a substitute for heavy cream. This 3-ingredient recipe will give you a delicious matcha green tea ice cream without the use of any animal products.

Q: Can I make this matcha ice cream without an ice cream maker?

A: Absolutely! This easy matcha ice cream recipe can be made into a no-churn ice cream. Instead of using an ice cream maker, you can transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe container and freeze it for at least 4 hours or until firm.

Q: What are the main ingredients for Matcha Ice Cream?

A: The main matcha ice cream ingredients include matcha green tea powder, heavy cream or heavy whipping cream, and egg yolks. Some recipes may also add sweeteners for an added hint of sweetness.

Q: Can I enjoy Matcha Ice Cream plain?

A: Definitely! The taste of matcha in the ice cream is so unique and refreshing that you can enjoy this ice cream plain. However, feel free to top it with fruits or nuts if you like.

Q: How can I store the leftover Matcha Ice Cream?

A: You can store the leftover matcha ice cream in a freezer-safe container. To avoid ice crystals on the surface, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the ice cream before putting the lid on.

Q: What's the perfect recipe for Matcha Ice Cream?

A: The perfect recipe for matcha ice cream is one that balances the slightly bitter taste of matcha with the sweetness of the cream mixture. A recipe with tablespoons of matcha powder, heavy cream, and egg yolks would make for a delicious matcha green tea ice cream.

Q: What are some reader interactions with Matcha Ice Cream?

A: Readers have shared that making ice cream at home using matcha has been a fun and rewarding experience. They've enjoyed the process of making the ice cream and the unique, refreshing taste of the finished product.