How to Use a Matcha Whisk explained by Experts

If you’ve ever wondered how to use a matcha whisk, you have come to the right place! In this article, we are going to learn what the matcha bamboo whisk is, what the benefits are and how to use it. We’ll also show you the proper techniques for whisking matcha so you can prepare your own beautiful bowls of ceremonial matcha at home. Without further ado, let’s get started! 

So How to Use a Matcha Whisk? 

The question of how to use matcha whisk can be answered in 4 simple steps. Below we are going to give you a quick outline of how to prepare your matcha whisk, how to use the matcha bamboo whisk and how to clean it afterwards. Let’s get whisking! 

Step 1 - Soak your Matcha Bamboo Whisk in water

Before you start whisking matcha, you will want to prepare your bamboo whisk. This technique is used in the Japanese tea ceremony, but it is also important when it comes to home use. First you fill up a cup of warm water and put your matcha whisk inside of it. Let the whisk sit inside the water for about 1 minute and then it is ready to use. 

The reason this is important is that it make the whisk more flexible. The small bristles on the bamboo matcha whisk are incredibly fragile, particularly when dry. When you soak the bamboo in water, it makes the bristle more pliable and less likely to break. 

Step 2 - Start Whisking Matcha in a M and W shape (20 - 40 seconds)

 how to make frothy matcha

After we learned how to prepare the whisk, it is time to learn how to use matcha whisk. Once the water and matcha powder have been mixed together, you can put your matcha whisk into the water and begin to gently scrape off the sides and the bottom of the tea bowl. This will ensure all the tea has been mixed evenly into the water. 

Once you have finished scraping, you can then begin the whisking. For this, you will want to follow a rapid zigzag motion using mostly your wrist. These small movements may be difficult at first, but you will master them overtime. An experienced tea master will be able to whisk the matcha very quickly while barely moving their arm. The key is all in the wrist!

Step 3 - Clean you Matcha Whisk 

After you are done whisking matcha, it is time to clean your matcha whisk. It is important to clean off the chasen before you put it back on the matcha whisk holder so it doesn’t grow mold or mildew. 

How to clean a Matcha Bamboo Whisk?

All you have to do is rinse the bamboo matcha whisk in water, but occasionally you may want to use a toothbrush to clean off some of the staining in between the bristles. When your whisk has been rinsed off, you are ready to continue to the next step.  

Step 4 - Put it back on the Matcha Whisk Holder and let dry 

Now you are ready to put the matcha whisk back onto the matcha whisk holder and let it dry. This is really important when it comes to retaining the proper shape of the matcha and also ensuring that it doesnt grow mold. If you do not have a matcha whisk holder, make sure you put the matcha whisk upside down with the bristles up in the air. This is the best way for it to dry and it also allows it to maintain its shape. 

How to dry a Matcha Whisk? 

The matcha whisk pretty much dries on its own, it just needs to be in the right circumstances. Make sure it has some breathing room (ie: not in a container or zipped bag) and keep it in a drier place. You can blot it with a dry cloth or paper towel after rinsing but just don’t apply too much pressure on the bristles.  

What is exactly a Matcha Bamboo Whisk?

The matcha whisk is the best tool when it comes to whisking matcha tea. This whisk is made out of a single piece of bamboo and the 80 to 100 small bristles are individually carved in careful detail. If you look at the handle of a matcha whisk, you can see the resemblance with a stalk of bamboo. As you go up the length of the whisk, you will see how the bamboo is split and divided many times over. 

Why do we use a Bamboo Matcha Whisk?

Chasen tea ceremony set

Even though the matcha bamboo whisk seems to be old fashioned, nothing does a better job at whisking matcha. With matcha tea, you really want a  light green foam on top of the tea.

This can only be accomplished by whisking the tea rapidly and creating these small bubbles. The foam is not just for looks, it also gives the matcha a smoother and creamier taste.

This makes the tea  almost like a latte, but without any milk or sugar. The bamboo matcha whisk appears to be a much better tool when compared to a metal whisk. 

History of the Matcha Whisk

The bamboo matcha whisk was carved the same way it is now as far back as 600 years ago, during the Muromachi period. Originally, the tea ceremony was only something that was done for the elite societies in Japan, and it was inaccessible for most of the commoners. A man known as Murata Juko wanted to change that, and laid forth principles of Wabi-cha or the simple tea ceremony. As part of this so-called “ tea ceremony for the people”, he had to commission the design of matcha whisks that could be used by people all over Japan. The result was the bamboo matcha whisk we know today.

How is the Matcha Whisk made? 

matcha foam

Takayama Minbunojo Nyudo Sosetsu was chosen by Murata Juko to craft these beautiful bamboo matcha whisks for the simple  Japanese tea ceremony. These whisks were so well crafted that in addition to being used for this tea ceremony, they were also gifted to the emperor who was impressed by their quality. 

The emperor at the time named the utensils “Takaho” and this became the gold standard for the matcha whisk in Japan. This bamboo chasen became known as the Takayama Chasen because of the area it was produced in, and still during modern times the village of Takayama has the reputation for producing the best quality matcha whisks.

Alternative to matcha whisk 

#1 Milk frother

The milk frother might be the best substitute for a matcha whisk, but it can be just as expensive. The milk frother is usually battery operated and it spins around to aerate different drinks.

#2 Mason jar/bottle

The mason jar can actually be a good alternative to the matcha whisk if your priority is creating foam. A major downside to this method is that it tends to produce a lot of clumps which can make the matcha really unenjoyable. This makes the sifting step even more important when you are preparing your matcha. 

#3 Blender

Most people would think that a blender would make the matcha foam up immediately, but it is still quite hard to produce the right amount of foam in the matcha. When we tried using the blender in one of our tea experiments, we also found that there were a lot of clumps in the tea. 

#4 Metal Whisk 

The metal bristles of this kitchen whisk slice through the water without actually aerating the tea, making it much less effective compared with a bamboo matcha whisk.  With enough sheer willpower, you can use a metal whisk to make foam on a  matcha, but it will be more difficult. 

#5 Fork

While the fork can be used to mix up matcha in a pinch, it really will not work as a long term solution. If you are really desperate, you can use the fork to mix up the matcha, but it is not recommended. 

Can you use a metal whisk for matcha?

You can use a metal whisk instead of a matcha bamboo whisk, but it is much more difficult. The metal whisk doesn’t do nearly as good of a job when it comes to producing the foam on top of the matcha. When you use a metal whisk, it can take minutes of frantic whisking to create the same amount of foam that a bamboo matcha whisk creates in mere seconds.

Tools you need for your Matcha preparation:

In addition to the bamboo matcha whisk, there are a few more tools that may make whisking matcha easier including the matcha bowl, chashaku and the matcha whisk holder. Let’s briefly discuss each tool and why you might want to have it. 

Chawan

This is the clay tea bowl used to prepare the matcha. It is usually designed with a colorful pattern on the side. It is considered polite to turn this decorated side to the other guests during the tea ceremony as a sign of respect. This allows them to view the most beautiful side of the bowl as you drink. The bowl is heavy and conveys a sense of importance. It is meant to be held with two hands and it is preheated before use. This warms up the clay, and allows the matcha tea to stay warmer for longer.

Chashaku

The chashaku is the  bamboo spoon used to scoop the tea powder into the matcha bowl. It has a much simpler design when compared to the chasen, but it actually does have a few notable features to it. The scoop is designed to be used vertically so it can dip into a deeper cylindrical container and pull out the matcha powder. In the tea ceremony, the tea master will use two large chashaku spoonfuls for a bowl of matcha tea which comes out to about 2 grams of matcha powder. 

Matcha Whisk Holder 

The matcha whisk holder is another nice addition to the set. The matcha whisk holder is usually made out of ceramic and it can be a good place to store your matcha bamboo whisk so that it retains its shape. A lot of matcha whisks start to get narrower overtime as the bristles begin to fold in, and this actually makes whisking matcha more difficult. The solution to this is to either get a matcha whisk holder, or to stand your matcha whisk upside down so the bristles are in the air. This is much better than keeping it on its side, which will bend the bristles inward overtime. 

What to look for when buying a Bamboo Matcha Whisk?

When you are looking for a bamboo matcha whisk, you want to make sure you are getting one that has between 80-100 bristles. This will make it much easier when it comes to producing the foam on top of the matcha. The less bristles the whisk has, the less it will aerate the tea as you whisk.  

Where can I shop for a Matcha bamboo whisk? 

If you are looking for a matcha bamboo whisk of your very own, you can get one for free when you sign up for our monthly matcha club. With the monthly matcha club, you not only get to try some of the best organically grown matcha teas from all over Japan, but you can also save 16% or more. We’ll even give you all the tools you need to prepare a great bowl of matcha tea, like the bamboo matcha whisk and the bamboo matcha spoon.

If you are not interested in signing up for the monthly matcha club, you can also get the bamboo matcha whisk in a few of our matcha tea bundles. This is another great way to save money on all the tools you need to prepare matcha tea. Now that you know how to use matcha whisk, you should be all set to begin your journey into the world of matcha tea!

 

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