Making a perfect bowl of Matcha is easier than most people think - as long as you have the correct tools. While we have already outlined the "5 steps to making a perfect matcha", today we are going to go a bit deeper into the 5 essential tools for any matcha lover. Each one of these tools should be in the setup of any matcha drinker, novice or with years of experience.
Essential Tool #1 - Chasen (Tea Whisk)
A Chasen, or bamboo whisk, is absolutely, 100% essential. We are often asked if the Chasen can be substituted with a regular kitchen whisk, a wooden spoon, or many other stand-ins. The answer is: No. A Chasen has a specific shape that allows the tea to be aerated. The mixture of air, water and tea when blended in the correct proportion is what makes matcha so especial: a light, creamy foam and deep rich umami combine for a truly satisfying tea. While matcha can be shaken as a substitute, we never recommend whisking it with anything other than a Chasen. We know many sites out there would say it is ok, but they will also try to sell you blueberry flavored matcha. Please avoid their advice (and their blueberry matcha, by the way)
What whisk to choose?
80 Tine Whisk - This Chasen is made by a cooperative factory where more than one artist is responsible for making whisks. The quality of the bamboo is adequate for daily use, but will not last as long as our Chikusendou Shin Whisk.
Chikusendou Shin Whisk - Our highest quality whisk made by single artisan, Kube san, in Nara, Japan. This whisk is made from heritage bamboo and is significantly more flexible than our 80 tine whisk and will therfore last significantly longer. This is a hand crafted piece of art and his work is used in traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Essential Tool #2 - Chawan (Tea Bowl)
A chawan is truly at the heart of the process of making matcha. The chawan is the quintessential item that unites the host and guest at the tea ceremony. It is the focal point of the affair - the tea is both made in and consumed from it and in long form Tea Ceremony, the guests will even share Koicha (Koicha is the formal thick preparation for matcha using 2 x the amount of matcha powder and 1/2 the amount of water) from the same bowl. The history of chawan through the ages could fill many text books, but we will say this: simply find a bowl you are drawn to, that fits well in your hand, and use it daily. It certainly does not need to be expensive, but making tea in a fine bowl is also a treat one should enjoy at least once.
What do we look for in a good chawan?
Find a bowl that has enough space for your preferred style of whisking. We like something in the 5" diameter range which allows to really open up and whisk forcefully. A little texture on the bottom of the bowl also allows for some tactile feedback as well.
Need A Bowl?
We have a rotating selection of tea bowls from throughout Japan. Have a look here.
Essential Tool #3 - Furui (Tea Sifter)
A furui, or sifter, is an item every matcha lover should have. Matcha is so finely ground that it creates a static field and the small pieces of matcha powder, some 5 microns in size, will charge to one another and form small clumps. You may have noticed these clumps at the bottom of your bowl. The static force is so strong they often do not break apart even after being whisked in hot water. Good news: Sifting your matcha through a small sifter prior to whisking completely solves this problem. You can whisk large quantities prior to use but due note that after several hours, the matcha will begin to form the static bonds again.
Need A Sifter?
This simple sifter is our favorite.
Essential Tool #4 - Chashaku (Tea Spoon)
While you could argue that a special spoon for matcha isn't necessary, I would say it will make things a whole lot easier. A spoonful of matcha from a traditional Chashaku spoon measures a perfect 0.5g - and as you know, the sweet spot for a perfectly made matcha is 2g. So four scoops from this spoon and you are ready to go. It also doesn't hurt that these hand carves spoons are beautiful and a real pleasure to use.
Need A Chashaku?
Essential Tool #5 - Chasen Naoshi (Whisk Holder)
The secret to keeping your whisk in great shape shouldn't be a secret. It is a simple stand that allows the bamboo to both dry, and keep its shape. Without it, your chasen (and your investment) will shrink and lose its shape. A shrunken chasen is much harder to whisk with and you will notice it in the consistency of your matcha. A small investment up front will defintley pay off as your whisk will last much longer and stay in better shape.
Need A Chaen Noashi?
We hope the takeaway from this article shows you just how few items you really need to make authentic, delicious matcha green tea at home. Great design is simple, and each and every one of the items we listed will truly make your tea practice, whether formal or informal, a more enjoyable experience. Thanks so much for reading.