In the Japanese tea ceremony, everything revolves around the matcha bowl. This is the perfect bowl for preparing matcha tea. In this article, we are going to take a quick look at what the matcha bowl is, how to use it and why you may want to get one. Without further ado, let’s get started!
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What is the matcha bowl?
The matcha bowl or chawan matcha bowl is the bowl used specifically for preparing matcha tea. The matcha bowl is specially designed to make matcha preparation easier, and many tea lovers like its simplistic yet functional aesthetic design.
What is the matcha bowl used for
The matcha bowl is one of the utensils used in the Japanese tea ceremony. The Japanese tea ceremony is where the japanese matcha bowls first became famous, but now they are mostly used in tea shops and in homes all around the world.
Although it is very simplistically designed, the chawan matcha bowl has a few great features that make matcha preparation easier and more enjoyable. The bowl is usually made out of clay, but it is not uncommon to see a ceramic matcha bowl as well.
While the chawan matcha bowl is the best bowl for whisking up matcha tea, if you don’t have one, you can use whatever bowl you have around the house.
Once matcha preparation becomes a part of your daily routine, you may want to invest in a good quality matcha bowl. You will not only notice a difference in the quality of the matcha, but you’ll also be adding a more soothing aesthetic to your matcha routine.
How to prepare the matcha bowl
Before you use the matcha bowl, you will want to preheat it. This is done in the Japanese tea ceremony, as part of the strict set of rules and principles. There is also a more practical reason for doing it.
These japanese matcha bowls are made out of an extremely thick clay. This means that they are really good at absorbing heat. A cool clay bowl will quickly make your matcha cold and less enjoyable to drink.
Instead, you can pour some hot water into the bowl until it is about halfway filled and leave it in for about a minute. This will allow the heavy matcha bowl to absorb the heat, and it should be warm to the touch even on the outside.
What may save some time is to actually soak your bamboo matcha whisk during this process. During the Japanese tea ceremony, the tea master prepares the matcha bowl and whisk at the same time.
The reason why the whisk needs to be soaked before using it, is because the bamboo bristles can be incredibly fragile, especially when dry. Once they are wet, they become more pliable and they are ready for whisking!
After the matcha bowl and whisk have been soaked and warmed up, you are ready for the next step.
How to make a matcha bowl
When it comes to preparing a bowl of matcha tea, there are a few steps you may want to follow.
Step 1: Sifting the matcha powder in to the matcha bowl
The sifting step is one that’s often skipped, and it can be very important. When you open up a tin of matcha powder, you’ll notice some clumps begin to form almost immediately. This doesn’t mean that the matcha has gone bad, it has just been exposed to the humidity in the air. The clumps can make it so that the matcha doesn’t mix evenly into the water, so you’ll want to remove them with the sifter.
Just put a metal sifter on top of the matcha bowl and add 2 grams of matcha powder into the sifter. You can then push the powder through the sifter into the matcha bowl with either a regular metal spoon or with the bamboo matcha spoon. Once you have a layer of finely sifted powder at the bottom of your matcha bowl, you are ready to continue.
Step 2: Adding the water into the matcha bowl
Once the matcha powder has been sifted, it is time to add in the water. When it comes to temperature, you can use anywhere in between 140-170 degrees fahrenheit. Because the matcha powder is mixed directly into water, it tends to be less sensitive to temperature, but you should still try to keep it in this range.
When it comes to the quantity of water, you will want to go for somewhere in between 100-150ml of water. If you are less used to the strong flavor of matcha tea, you can use more water and when you want to make a stronger cup of tea, you can use less water.
Step 3: Stirring the Matcha into the matcha bowl
Once you have added the water to the matcha powder, you are ready to mix it in. You can start by scraping the powder off the sides of the matcha bowl. This will ensure that all the matcha tea is mixed in properly. Once the matcha powder is all mixed into the water, you are ready for the final step.
Step 4: Creating the foam on top of the matcha bowl
When it comes to creating the foam on top of the matcha bowls, there are a few things to consider. First, you need to get the right tool and the bamboo matcha whisk is the best utensil for making matcha bowls. That’s why we usually recommend getting both the matcha bowl and whisk together.
Once you have the right tools, you then need the right technique. We have found the best results by whisking in short zigzag motions with the wrist. These rapid wrist movements take awhile to practice, but once you get the technique down you should be able to create the foam in seconds.
The foam on top of matcha bowls is not just for looks, it also improves the flavor and texture of the tea. A properly foamed bowl of matcha tastes almost like a latte but without the cream or sugar. The light airy consistency makes the matcha taste smoother and creamier.
Benefits of the matcha bowl
Although the matcha bowls are simply designed, they actually have a few key features to them.
First the shape of the japanese matcha bowls are more cylindrical compared to a regular bowl. This maximizes the space around the base of the tea bowl, so you have more room for the whisking motions. This extra space is particularly useful if you are just starting out, because it will be difficult to master these more refined movements until you have a few hundred matcha bowls under your belt.
The other benefit to the design of the matcha bowl is the heavy clay. As we mentioned before, this heavy clay retains a lot of heat and if properly preheated it can keep your matcha warm for a long time. This feature is particularly useful when you’re making matcha on a cold morning and need something to warm yourself up.
The matcha bowls also tend to feature a pattern on the side. This pattern serves an important role during the tea ceremony. The guest is expected to turn the bowl towards the other guests so they can look at the most beautiful side of the bowl as they drink. This conveys respect, which is one of the core principles of the tea ceremony.
Finally, the heavy clay conveys a sense of importance. It forces you to use two hands and really focus on the tea drinking experience. This really helps you to tune out the external noise and focus on being present. This is critical during both the Japanese tea ceremony as well as your own matcha ceremonies you create at home.
Different kinds of matcha bowls
There are a few different kinds of matcha bowls out there. What makes them different basically comes down to the shape of the matcha bowls. Let’s discuss a few of them here
Wan-nari Matcha Bowl
The Wan-nari matcha bowl looks more like a typical cereal bowl. It is tapered off towards the bottom, which actually gives you slightly less space to whisk the matcha tea. The benefit of this matcha bowl is that it tends to be lighter and therefore easy to move around.
Tsutsu-gata Matcha Bowl
The Tsutsu-gata matcha bowl is the more iconic matcha bowl with the cylindrical shape. This cylindrical matcha bowl is good because as we mentioned before it gives you a lot of space at the bottom to whisk the tea. The downside is that it tends to be a bit heavier than the Wan-nari
Spouted matcha bowl
The matcha bowl with spout can be useful when it comes to serving matcha tea for guests. With this matcha bowl, you are meant to whisk up the matcha tea just as you would in any other bowl, but then you can pour it into a series of cups. The matcha bowl with spout is good if you prefer to drink matcha out of a glass rather than the bowl directly, which is how they do it in the Japanese tea ceremony.
Where to buy a matcha bowl
If you are looking for a matcha bowl and whisk, you can find them all over our website. We have a few different types of matcha sets, so you can save money while you get all the teaware you need to make the perfect bowls of matcha tea
If you are looking for matcha bowls individually, we have a few different types. Feel free to browse our selection and see which one speaks to you!