matcha whisk
6 December, 2021 | Ernest Atta Adjei Updated 2021

Matcha Whisk: How To Choose The Perfect One To Make Matcha

In the early 12th century, only nobles experienced the Japanese tea ceremony called Chado (the way of tea). But now, it has become a regular household ritual for tea lovers worldwide, and matcha whisk plays an integral part in it.

The process of making matcha is simple yet highly structured with five elements: matcha, tea bowl, water, tea scoop, and whisk (chasen). Even though each component is essential in making delicious matcha, one utensil is the core of the traditional tea preparation - matcha tea whisk. 

In this guide, we'll talk about choosing the proper matcha whisk set and everything you need to know. Let's begin. 

The Purpose Of Traditional Matcha Whisk And Why You Need It 

A traditional Japanese matcha tea whisk called a chasen is essential in preparing matcha. It's handcrafted traditionally from a single piece of bamboo and comes in various string counts (or whisk "teeth") and thicknesses. 

The whisk’s purpose is to make the matcha uniformly consistent. And that’s because the powder usually clumps as water is added. So without a traditional whisk, you won’t get the delicate mixture and the right amount of foam you need. 

Why Metal Matcha Whisk Can Be A Problem 

matcha whisk

As you probably know, matcha is made of green tea leaves grounded on stone, making it finely ground powder. But as said earlier, when milk or water is added, it tends to clump. So a chasen will make the matcha froth, but not a standard metal whisk. 

Besides, the metal whisk can scratch the bottom of your whisk bowl! For example, the chasen has numerous prongs compared to a standard basking whisk. And that helps to separate and suspend the matcha fast and without clumping. 

Why Matcha Whisk Alternatives Isn’t Perfect 

Some tea lovers avoid a matcha whisk set and rely on alternatives. They even claim that it produces similar results as chasen. But you can’t compare the Japanese tea whisk due to its aesthetic appeal and functional design. 

Simply put, matcha tea whisk exists to whisk matcha. It can't be matched. That said, we understand that there are some instances where you might not have a chasen. For example, you may have lost one or maybe in a hurry and don't have access to one. 

Even still, we’ll outline the problems associated with chasen alternatives so you can be aware. Let’s begin. 

1. Milk Frother Or Electric Mixer 

The milk frother is the most common alternative people use for making matcha. However, the milk frother or electric mixer doesn’t have enough fine whisks to blend effectively. Also, you can’t make the matcha smooth or even get a layer of foam. 

You may save time, but you'll lose out on what makes matcha, matcha. 

However, if you have no choice, here’s what you can do: first, add the water, then the matcha. Then, use the handheld milk frother to whisk everything. 

Remember not to use any matcha stuck at the bottom of the matcha bowl. This happens because the frother stops for a moment when it hits the side of the bowl. 

2. Spoon Or Fork 

Of all the lists in this section, you should probably avoid a fork or spoon at all costs. It's challenging to break down the clumps floating on the tea before the temperature cools down. It can be pretty frustrating. 

3. Blender 

Have you heard of the four founding matcha principles before? They are tranquility, harmony, purity, and respect. But, unfortunately, you lose all these principles when using a blender, even if you're making it for many people. 

The blades are pretty small to mix the match evenly. Ideally, you should reserve it for making matcha-flavored beverages. 

How To Choose The Best Matcha Whisk 

You can easily find a cheap matcha whisk set through various shops. However, it's almost always manufactured poorly and can easily break because it's mass-produced. So it's essential to understand that not all traditional whisks are the same. 

The matcha whisks made in Japan offer higher quality as they pay attention to detail. There are a few Japanese houses dedicated to making chasen. One of them is master craftsman Sabun Kubo. 

He has a family lineage of chasen makers, which can be traced back to 24 generations. Currently, Sabun Kubo's chasen is highly recognized by Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry. 

Buying Matcha Whisk: Things To Consider 

When purchasing a matcha whisk, there are two things to consider: string count and bamboo quality. 

1. Quality

The quality of a chasen determines its durability. Reputable Japanese craftsmen acquire their bamboo from reliable farms. And that results in high-quality whisks that can last longer, even under continued stress. 

2. String Count

Remember that the more the strings are, the more refined they become, creating far smoother matcha. For example, you can choose a chasen with a string count between 16 and 120. If the number is higher, it becomes easier to whisk the powder into the water and create a smooth foam. 

Other factors to consider are material, size, design, care, etc. 

Some chasen to consider are: 

  • Haru Matcha Traditional Hand-carved Golden Bamboo Matcha Whisk 
  • Hand-crafted Takayama Chasen 
  • Shin Chasen Kubo Sabun 
  • Chasen Hyappondate Kubo Sabun 
  • Chasen Chuaraho Kubo Sabun 

How To Store A Chasen 

matcha whisk

If you want to use the chasen for a long time, you have to store it the right way. Consider the following points. 

  1. Don't store the chasen with the strings facing down, and don't let it touch the surface. 
  2. It’s best to use a chasen holder to retain the shape. If you don’t have a holder, make sure to let the strings always face up.

Keep in mind that the strings will lose shape with time. But if you take care of the chasen properly, it can last for about two years depending on how frequently you use it, the quality, and craftsmanship. 

How To Clean A Chasen  

At first glance, you'd think that the delicate design suggests careful maintenance. But that's not the case here. You can easily clean the whisk in one of the following ways after making the matcha: 

  1. Place the whisk under hot water. Wait until it's spotless. (remember: the flowing water should be gentle) 
  2. Pour hot water in a bowl and whisk until it’s clean. Then, dry the chasen before you store them. 

Please note: Never use soap or dishwasher to clean your chasen. It can destroy whisk. 

The Effective Way To Whisk Matcha

Ideally, you should place the whisk in hot water for a few seconds. That will cause the strings to loosen up before you use it. 

Add the required amount of tea powder and hot water to the bowl and start whisking. The trick here is to arch your wrist slightly and whisk the ingredients as fast as possible using a W-shaped or M-shaped motion. 

Remember to move only your wrist, not your entire hands. Also, be careful to scrape the bottom of the bowl with the strings. When you get the foamy texture, remove the whisk slowly in a swirling motion. That will create a soft, smooth foam on top. 

Final Thoughts

As you have seen in this guide, the matcha whisk is essential in making matcha. If you don't choose the right whisk, you may not get the experience you want. On the other hand, if you select the proper chasen, it won't affect the taste of the matcha. That's how important it is. If you choose a durable chasen, it can last for many years if you care for it properly. However, keep in mind that the whisks do wear out. And if you don’t dry or clean well after years, it can contain mold. So always take your time to purchase quality chasen for making your delicious matcha.