Once exclusive to nobles only the matcha whisk set has become a popular item for any tea lover. We are going to explore what is the matcha whisk and how you can use it for the famous ceremony.
Matcha whisk, also known as Chasen, is a piece of bamboo that is handcrafted into a variety of shapes. The set can vary in thickness and string count. It’s an important tool that you can use to produce a delicate nuance that would be impossible to achieve with regular tools.
But why would you need one to begin with?
Originally matcha tea whisk is used as an essential piece of the Chanoyu, a traditional tea ceremony coming from Japan. The role of matcha whisk is to make the powdered green tea (Matcha) in a specific bowl. Even today the best matcha whisk set is made by hand and from a single piece of bamboo.
However, the making of matcha whisk set follows a specific procedure. The bamboo is usually around three years old and has to dry for the whole year. Only when it’s fully dried it’ll be selected by a master and his apprentices so that they can start producing the matcha tea whisk.
The final appeal and shape of the Chasen don’t depend only on the artist. It is important to note that they’re different factors that influence the outcome. Different schools use their own methods in creating the (matcha) whisk and what is also important is the occasion that they will be used for as well as the type of bamboo.
During The Ceremony
As with any ceremony, there is a proper way to take care of the equipment. The matcha tea whisk will not last forever but its lifespan can be considerably improved if you use the right cleaning methods.
This is a simple method that you can use to improve the lifespan of your whisk:
1) Before using, soak it into the warm water and leave it there for a couple of minutes. Once it is done you will notice that whisks have become a bit more elastic.
2) During the ceremony always use gentle and soft movement and make sure that you do not touch the wall of the bowl.
3) Once you’re done with the ceremony repeated the first step a couple of times until all the powder is gone. Take note that no chemicals are required to properly clean as it may damage the delicate purity of the bamboo.
4) For the last step, we need to completely dry it, before storage. Never drive in the upright position because the water will collect in the handle and overtime form the mold. Putting it on a Chasen Stand would be the best way to dry as it will keep the initial shape impact and prevent any damages from happening.
Now that we are familiar with the matcha whisk, it is time to dig deep into the actual ceremony and how to create the perfect tea.
First, we need a bowl in which we are going to put one or two spoons of matcha powder and a teaspoon of cold water. Whisk it a little bit until you can see a lump forming. After this, the real ceremony begins.
We’re going to add a little bit of hot water and start properly whisking. You want to whisk from your wrists while you’re holding the bowl with your nondominant hand.
The name of the game is to whisk firmly and as fast as you can. While at first it won’t look good and you will feel you’re doing a bad job, remember that you need to be patient. With patience and time, you will achieve mastery of the whisking.
While whisking you need to remember to do are two important patterns you need to follow. The first one is a zigzag pattern, also known as the W pattern. If you are finding this pattern difficult, to begin with, you can simply whisk back and forth in the straight-line. Don’t worry the matcha tea whisk is durable and when you get the hang of technique you will also minimize the chances of damaging.
The whisking should last between 20 and 30 seconds and should be done in a consistent manner as possible. One other thing to note is that your matcha whisk can touch the bottom of the bowl but shouldn’t be pressed hard against.
When you’re done with the whisking, you can slowly use stop and watch the foam forming. Some people even suggest that you should whisk again after drinking half. And while you will decide whether you will whisk twice, remember one thing, never whisk in a circular motion. Always whisk in the W or back and forth pattern.
Finding Your (Matcha) Whisk Set
Now we are familiar with the process of cleaning and maintaining your matcha whisk set, and we also know how to create a perfect blend. However we still need to find a perfect matcha tea whisk in order to have a successful ceremony.
Nowadays it is very easy to find a matcha whisk online; there are many Asian export shops. However these are produced in factories and are all very poor quality. They break easily and do not show good results. Therefore it is important to know where we can find good quality matcha whisk set. The ones made by apprentices in Japan offer an excellent quality and unrivaled attention to detail.
There are a couple of prominent houses in Japan who make the best Chasen and are known throughout the world. In the current age, Sabun Kubo has been recognized by his craftwork by Japanese ministry and the Louvre Museum.
It’s important to remember that Sabun Kubo comes from a traditional family lineage of Chasen makers. That’s why it’s so important to know this detail.
However apart from the family that is making the matcha whisk, we should also pay attention to a couple of different parameters.
– Bamboo quality: depending on the bamboo quality and type durability of your whisk will greatly vary. Usually they come from trusted farms and the apprentices observed them carefully before deciding to pick them. Properly selected the bamboo offer long-lasting resistance under the stress of frequent use.
– String count: strings also play an important role, and the general rule is the higher quality of strings and the more of them there are the smoother matcha will be. The usual count is between 16 and 120 strings. If you buy a couple of different types you will find that it is very easy to work with the Chasen that has more strings and that the phone is softer.
If you want to create a perfect Matcha, you will definitely need a matcha whisk set. However, owning one will bring you great satisfaction in following the proper ceremony.
You see, not only will you get to experience different taste but the process is the self is very important for the user. It will calm you down and give you some time to relax and reclaim some time for yourself. In this day and age when we are all busy, rituals like these can provide us with moments of peace in which we will find balance.
As with all new things, learning how to whisk properly will take time. On your way to mastery, you will maybe even break a couple of matcha tea whisk, but that is fine. What is important is that you do not deviate from the path to mastery and that you enjoy every second of it.
If you break it down there are three main areas you need to watch out for acquiring a proper set, during the ceremony itself. And maintenance. If you follow the above-mentioned guide and practice it these three areas will not only make your ceremony a success what will prolong the life of the equipment as well.
With that, we would like to thank you for taking the time to read the article, and we hope that you have learnt useful details for your ceremony. The world of matcha is a vast one and you’re guaranteed to learn something new every day .
Finally we would like to encourage you to check other articles as well because even though the practice is important you should know that theory is as well. We hope to see you soon and until then keep whisking from your wrists.