First, some background. I've just recently started drinking decent tea and am finding my way though the options. Up until roughly a month ago, the best tea I'd ever had was gyokuro imperial from teavana. I then ordered a tea at an upscale restaurant here that just blew my mind. I was told that it was made with matcha. In an attempt to recreate that experience, I read though a ton of reviews, a huge chunk of this board, and the websites of a lot of the vendors that came recommended here. I ordered the necessary tools (chashaku and bamboo whisk, I didn't need a chawan since I already had a similar style bowl/cup at home and a sifter) and matcha. I also ordered tea from another popular vendor here who was nice enough to include a sample of his matcha as well.
Now on to the tea. When the tea and accessories all arrived, I set it all out on the counter and admired it for a moment. That done, I heated filtered water to 180, used some to heat the bowl, rinsed the whisk, dried the bowl, used the chashaku to measure out the matcha, dumped the matcha into the sifter over the cup and sifted the matcha through. I poured 3oz of the heated water into the cup and whisked in an M shape for 30 seconds or so. The top had a light green film of bubbles over most, but not all of the tea. When I drank the tea, it lacked the creamy taste I was expecting and was actually faintly bitter. It honestly tasted weak and flat, if theres a way for tea to go flat like sodas do.
On attempt number 2, I thought that maybe the water I used the 1st time was too hot so I heated it to 160, rinsed the whisk, heated and dried the bowl, measured and sifted the matcha, added the water and whisked again. This time there was even less of the green bubble film so I whisked some more and there was no improvement. Thinking that this was the best I was going to get, I drank the tea. On the plus side, the bitterness was gone. On the negative side, the tea was a bit grainy and still lacked that creamy factor. It still seemed flat to me. This cup gave me a massive headache.
With attempt number 3, I switched the brand of matcha I was using. I went back to the directions, heated water to 180 and went though it all again. This one didn't foam at all after 2 minutes (which seemed like an eternity) and I finally just gave up and drank it. It was also slightly bitter but at least it tasted a bit fuller/richer than my first attempt.
Obviously I'm doing something wrong, but I don't know what. I'd appreciate any tips/ advice on how to go about doing this correctly.