How to make matcha tea without whisk is probably one of our most asked matcha questions. Not having a matcha whisk is no reason to miss out on all the great flavors and health benefits of matcha tea.
In this article, we are going to tackle the question: can you make matcha without a bamboo whisk. We’ll give you a few helpful methods to make your own matcha at home even if you don’t have a whisk. Let’s get started!
How to make matcha tea without whisk complete video
What is Matcha?
Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves, traditionally consumed in East Asia. The green tea plants used for matcha are shade-grown for three to four weeks before harvest; the stems and veins are removed during processing.
Despite its recent increase in popularity, it was actually the original method of tea consumption in Japan.
Unlike most teas which are infused into water, matcha powder is mixed directly into water. Because of this, matcha is incredibly unique in the world of tea. It has a powerful flavor, and plenty of health benefits.
Can you make matcha without a bamboo whisk? Yes!
Making matcha without whisk is possible, but it does require a little extra patience. Although the chasen bamboo whisk has been used to prepare matcha for hundreds of years, it still is the best tool for preparing these foamy bowls of matcha tea. Instead of asking can you make matcha without a bamboo whisk, you can simply just get a free matcha whisk from us.
We are offering a free chasen matcha whisk and chashaku matcha spoon to everyone that signs up for the monthly matcha club. With this offer, you’ll not only save big on some of the best organically grown matcha around Japan, you’ll also get all the tools you need in order to prepare it. Sign up today and cancel anytime!
Making matcha without whisk: Top 5 Substitutes
The question of how to make matcha tea without whisk can be resolved by experimenting with a few substitutes. In this next segment, we are going to examine a few tools you can use instead of a matcha whisk to make a bowl of matcha tea at home.
#1 Milk frother
This is perhaps 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. It is usually used to make cappuccinos and other drinks with steamed milk but it can also be used for foaming matcha tea.
#2 Mason jar/bottle
If your main priority is creating foam on your matcha, the mason jar can actually be a good alternative to the matcha whisk. Just mix up your matcha powder with water, put the lid on and then give it a good shake. The matcha will begin to foam up almost immediately and you can then pour it out into a glass, or drink it directly out of the jar. The only downside with this method is that it tends to produce a lot of clumps which can make the matcha really unenjoyable. This means that it is very important to sift your matcha before mixing it.
When people ask how to make matcha tea without whisk, the blender is a tool that often comes to mind. Most people think this will make the matcha foam up immediately, but it is still pretty 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 it didn’t do much to break up the clumps in the matcha either.
#4 Metal Whisk
The metal whisk is a common response to the question can you make matcha without a bamboo whisk. This may seem like an easy solution, but it is a bit harder than you’d think. The metal bristles on the whisk slice through the water without actually aerating the tea. There also tends to be a lot less bristles on the metal whisk, so it isn’t as good of a whisking tool. Also, when you are preparing matcha, it tends to be a part of a calming morning routine, so the last thing you want is the sound of a metal whisk scraping against a bowl. With enough determination however, you can use a metal whisk to get foam on the top of your matcha, it is just much more difficult.
Using a fork is the last resort of people making matcha without whisk. It is incredibly difficult to create foam on a matcha with a spoon, but technically it is possible. The fork just does not have the proper size or amount of prongs to make it truly effective when it comes to matcha making. While the fork can be used to mix up matcha in a pinch, it really will not work as a long term solution.
Does using a whisk really make a difference?
While making matcha without whisk is possible, if you really want to get serious about matcha tea, you will want to make the investment in a bamboo matcha whisk. Once you switch to the proper matcha making utensils, you will immediately notice a difference. Not only will the preparation of the matcha be more enjoyable, but the taste will be much smoother and creamier as well.
How to Make a Matcha Latte Without a Whisk
Making matcha without whisk is even possible if you are preparing a matcha latte. Our favorite two methods of making matcha without whisk are with the shaker jar and with the milk frother. With the shaker jar, all you need to do is mix the matcha powder with oatmilk instead of water and then shake it up. This is a method used at a lot of coffee shops.
With the milk frother, you can add in a tiny bit of water with your matcha powder and mix it into a paste. Then you can add in a little bit of oatmilk and stir it up well with the milk frother until you get a nice foam on top. Both of these methods are just about as easy as making a normal cup of matcha.
What do you need to "whisk" matcha?
To prepare a proper bowl of matcha tea, it is normally recommended to use a few specialized utensils. A few of these can be easy to substitute, with the whisk being the hardest to substitute.
First you will need a bamboo spoon or chashaku. This is a spoon carved out of a single piece of bamboo and it is designed to scoop matcha powder out of a container like a matcha tin or a “natsume”. This is made easier with the spoons vertical design, which differs from the horizontal design of a table spoon for example. The chashaku also works well as a measurement tool, with two scoops being just about the perfect amount for a bowl of matcha tea. The chashaku can be easily replaced with a regular spoon, just make sure you find some way to measure out the powder, as 1-2 grams is the goal for each bowl of matcha.
Matcha bowl or chawan
Next we have the matcha bowl or chawan. This is pretty easy to replace with a regular food bowl, but it does have a few important features that make it great for matcha preparation. First of all, the tea bowl is made from a thick clay so it retains heat well. If the tea bowl is properly preheated before use, it can keep your bowl of matcha tea warmer for longer, and it can even keep your hands nice and warm. The tea bowl also has a more cylindrical shape, with higher walls which make it easier to whisk the tea without spilling, and give you plenty of space on the bottom to perfect your whisking motions.
Chasen or Matcha Wisk
Finally, we have the tool you’ve all been waiting for and that is the famous chasen. Compared to a typical metal whisk, the chasen will have more bristles and it will be much lighter. This makes it easier to aerate the tea, and it is much quieter as well. While a metal whisk can also be used to create the matcha foam with enough determination, it can be really loud and unpleasant to use.
How is the Matcha Whisk made?
The matcha whisk is carved out of a single piece of bamboo. After the stalk of bamboo is selected, it is carefully cut into 16 or so different segments and then those segments are divided until there are 80-100 extremely thin bristles. Then a string is trained in between the bristles in an alternating fashion. Every odd numbered bristle is bent in, every even numbered bristle is bent out. The the bristles are shaped and curled to take on their final form. This can take a very long time, but some chasen whisks are still made using this traditional style.
How Is Matcha Prepared Traditionally?
Japanese monks would often travel to China to learn about Buddhism from the Chinese monks. In addition to bringing back knowledge and insight, they often brought tea as well. In China, tea was considered a medicinal beverage and it was consumed to improve one’s physical and mental health. At the time, Chinese teas were consumed in powdered form. They would compress tea leaves into bricks and then grind them up when they were ready to use them. This grinding method became an early version of matcha tea, and was the first way that tea was consumed in Japan.
Tea was used by the monks to enhance their concentration during meditation. Just like with coffee, tea contains caffeine which can energize the mind through long periods of study and concentration. Unlike coffee, tea also contains an amino acid called l-theanine, which induces a more calming effect on the brain. The result is a calm alert feeling that is perfect for meditation. In fact, drinking tea can boost the alpha brainwave activity, the same activity stimulated during meditation. This can lead to creativity, relaxation and reflection.
In 1191, a monk by the name Eisai brought back tea seeds from China and planted them on the grounds here at Kozanji temple. It was here that the Japanese monks began cultivating tea of their own. And so the consumption of Japanese tea began, starting with the monks, and later on branching out to every strata of Japanese society. The samurai saw it as a way to improve their concentration on the battlefield, and the upper classes used it to showcase their status and sophistication.
Where matcha tea began to really take off in popularity was during its use in the Japanese tea ceremony. During the tea ceremony, this powdered tea was prepared by following a strict set of rules and principles. There were special tools crafted to create the perfect bowl of matcha tea. Among these tools was the bamboo tea whisk or chasen. This whisk was carved out of a single pice of bamboo, with 100 small bristles designed to quickly move through the water and aerate the tea, creating a nice light green foam on top.
How is Matcha Made
Alongside the development of the tea ceremony, the tea itself began to undergo improvements as well. Research and experimentation on tea started to yield even better results. Perhaps the most important innovation for matcha was the discovery of shading.
Matcha isn’t made from just any tea leaves, these leaves are shaded prior to harvest to improve their sweet and savory flavor. In Japan, it was common for tea farmers to cover the plants to protect them from the cold, but they found that this actually improved the flavor and color of the tea. We now know that this is because when the tea plant is cut off from sunlight, it produces more chlorophyll and theanine.
Activation of the Theanine
Theanine is what is responsible for the sweet and savory flavor Japanese green tea is known for. After the tea plants are shaded, the farmers then select only the top leaves to be used in the matcha. The top leaves and buds of the tea plant are the youngest, and therefore contain the highest concentration of nutrients. The older, more mature tea leaves are thicker and slightly more bitter.
This careful shading and selection of the tea leaves is what separates high quality from low quality matcha. The high quality matcha has a beautiful jade green color, a smooth flavor and is loaded with nutrients. The low quality matcha has a much more unappealing color, a more bitter flavor and less nutrients. This low quality matcha is often sold as “culinary grade” matcha and is used in desserts all around the world. These matcha desserts are quite common in Japan and are made by mixing low quality matcha with cream and sugar to disguise the bitter taste.
First harvest of the ceremonial matcha
High quality, ceremonial grade matcha is naturally sweet and smooth, meaning that it can be mixed with water and drunk plain. Within ceremonial grade matcha, you can also have first and second harvest. First harvest is an even higher quality matcha, made from the fresh tea leaves picked in the springtime. The tea plant is typically harvested between early Spring and mid fall, so during the winter, the tea plant has a long recovery period, where it can absorb nutrients from the ground, and store them in its leaves. These more nutrient dense leaves are then picked in the early spring, so the first harvest is far more flavorful than later harvests
The steaming process
After the leaves are picked, they are processed in a similar way to most Japanese green teas. The leaves are steamed to prevent oxidation. If this step is skipped, the tea would oxidize and turn into a black tea. The steaming process locks in the flavor and is the main reason why green teas retain these strong vegetable notes. After the tea leaves are steamed they are then dried and then they have their stems removed. After the stems are removed, the tea leaves are referred to as “tencha” (left) and they are only one step away from becoming matcha. The leaves finally need to be ground into a fine powder so that they can be mixed into water directly. This is done in a special type of mill (right).
It takes a full size matcha mill to produce the perfect matcha powder. This grinding process takes about an hour just to produce 50 grams of precious ceremonial grade matcha.
Final thoughts on how to make matcha tea without whisk
So can you make matcha without a bamboo whisk? The answer is a bit complicated. Yes of course you can prepare matcha without the whisk, but it won’t be nearly as good as matcha whisked up the old fashioned way. If you would like to give the traditional method a try, it would really mean a lot to us if you could browse our selection or matcha and matcha whisks, or you can simply sign up for the monthly matcha club and well send you one for free!