Matcha Whisk 101
Your matcha's best friend - here's what you need to know.
What is a matcha whisk?
A matcha whisk, also known as chasen, is an important part of the Japanese tea ceremony and preparation of matcha. The traditional tool is crafted from a single bamboo block that is finely cut into the desired shape and string count. At Matcha Union our whisks have 100 prongs to allow for the best mix of matcha powder, water and air to create a frothy drink with a smooth texture and sweet aroma. String count can range from 16 to 120 prongs whose curvy ends are key to whisking!
How to use it?
Old or new, we recommend soaking your bamboo whisk in a bowl of warm water for up to 2 minutes before every use. This will help to soften the bamboo and extends the shelf life of your whisk by making the tines more elastic. You may notice "blooming" of the tines as they gently unfold and spread.
After adding 1/2 teaspoon of matcha powder to a bowl and adding approx 1/3 cup of 85°C water its time to whisk. Hold your whisk vertically from the top and move vigorously back and forth using a "Z" or "M" motion. This should feel easy on your wrist. No need to scrape the bottom of the bowl, stay at the surface surrounded by water only. After about 20-30 seconds you should be able to see an inviting green foam. The rich frothy layer helps to mellow the bitterness of the matcha, bringing its delicate nuances to light which is what makes a delicious cup of matcha tea.
Why do we need a matcha whisk?
A bamboo whisk allows for the best mix of matcha powder, water, and air while releasing aromas and essences in the foam on the surface. It is not only about dissolving the powder in water, but also an oxygenation process of increasing the taste.
Electric frothers, blenders or forks often leave residual matcha and make it difficult to mix water and matcha powder. Besides, silver or metal components can affect the taste of your matcha.
We like to use a matcha whisk to embrace the traditional way of preparing matcha tea. Using a bamboo whisk may make you feel like a tea master and helps you to create your own little ritual. Making tea this way is more fun, isn't it?😉
How to Clean?
Cleaning is easy and shouldn't be forgotten. Simply soak and rinse your whisk in warm water or stir it in a bowl of warm water. Repeat this operation until no matcha residue is left on your whisk. There is no need to use soap or a dishwasher, warm water will do the job perfectly and is gentle on the bamboo. A clean whisk will prevent molds and extend the shelf life of your whisk.
After washing, you can gently shape the bamboo tines using your fingers to avoid the bamboo strands gathering together.
How to Dry?
Dry your whisk properly to avoid the appearance of mould and to increase your whisks longevity. The best way to dry it and for it to keep its shape is to place it on a whisk holder!
If you don’t have a whisk holder, you can place it on its handle with the tines facing upwards. This is a once in a while option but not ideal as the handle will accumulate water (hence mold can form). Never dry your bamboo whisk on its side as it will lose its shape and efficiency quickly.
How to store?
It is quite normal that your whisks shape will change after each use. We recommend to always store the cleansed and dried whisk on a whisk holder to maintain its original shape and protect its tines. Avoid storing it in a plastic boxes that can trap moisture. Wet places may make bamboo whisks moldy!
Carefully caring for your whisk and following the above steps will allow you to use your whisk for up to two years. If your whisk begins to break or thin, you may need to replace it.
Check out our Matcha Sets to apply what you have learned today!