Bamboo Matcha Whisk - The Ultimate Guide
Whether you are preparing a traditional matcha tea, or even a matcha latte with milk, making sure your matcha is properly whisked is absolutely necessary.
I am going to explain everything you need to know about a matcha whisk, from how it is made, to using and looking after your whisk to maximise its life span.
If you are new to matcha (or currently drink matcha, but would like to learn more), then read on... it will enhance your matcha experience completely!
What is a Bamboo Matcha Whisk?
A matcha whisk (Chasen) is a traditional Japanese tea utensil, that has been used for centuries in tea ceremonies.
It has many fine and delicate curved prongs (or tines) which are designed to mix matcha powder with water into a smooth, foamy and even consistency. This enhances the aroma, texture and most importantly the flavour, so you are getting the most out of your high quality matcha powder!
Do I need a Bamboo Matcha Whisk to Prepare Matcha?
If you are drinking matcha regularly as a tea or even as a matcha latte with milk, I am going to say yes, you should be using a bamboo whisk to prepare your matcha.
Properly whisking your matcha is one of the most important steps to ensure you properly experience the full flavour and texture that a high quality matcha powder offers. Using a matcha whisk is the only way to achieve the best results and gives you a moment to yourself to enjoy the process of making matcha tea.
Real matcha powder does not dissolve when you add water, therefore it requires whisking to evenly distribute or ‘suspend’ the matcha powder in water. The many fine prongs on a matcha whisk are specifically designed for this exact purpose, resulting in a pleasant smooth and foamy texture that is not achievable by using any other kitchen utensil available.
Which Matcha Whisk?
You may have noticed that there are different types of matcha whisks, although the most common you will come across will have 80 prongs and a short handle, and there is good reason for this. It is versatile, the ideal size, comfortable to hold, gives you the most control when whisking and is capable of producing a dense foam.
A whisk with 60 prongs or less is only suited for making the thicker style of matcha tea known as Koicha, while a whisk with 100 prongs is only suitable for the regular thin style matcha tea known as Usucha. A whisk with 80 prongs is capable for preparing both styles with exceptional results.
Longer handle whisks are designed to reach in deeper bowls or cups, but you lose a lot of control and speed, compared to when using a whisk with a short handle.
How To Whisk Matcha Tea With A Bamboo Whisk
It’s actually quite simple to use a bamboo whisk to prepare a delicious and authentic matcha tea.
Start by soaking the tips of your whisk in a bowl of warm water for roughly 5 - 10 seconds. This will soften the prongs and make them more flexible and less brittle.
After you have sifted your matcha powder into a matcha bowl (Chawan), add 70ml of hot water.
Now, you may slowly and gently loosen any matcha powder that might be stuck on the side of the bowl with your whisk. Then start moving your whisk in a ‘W’ or ‘M’ motion and build up speed until you are whisking as fast as you can.
You need to whisk in this motion vigorously for at least 20 seconds, while taking care not to hit the bottom or sides of the bowl. After a dense foam has formed you can slow down then remove your whisk.
Now it is time to enjoy your delicious smooth & frothy matcha green tea!
The bamboo matcha whisk is a delicate utensil, some care is required when using, cleaning and storing it, to ensure it keeps its shape, prevent mould & maximise its lifespan.
I will break this down into a few sections.
Note: When you first get your whisk, you will notice the ends will be curled and the middle will be tied in a knot, this is how you can tell a whisk is brand new. However after its first use, the ends will slightly uncurl and the middle knot will come apart. Do not worry, this is perfectly normal and is known as ‘blooming’.
Before each use it is best to soak the prongs of your whisk to make them more flexible and less likely to break while whisking. I usually do this by pouring some hot water into my matcha bowl and placing the prongs of my bamboo whisk in it for roughly 5-10 seconds.
When preparing matcha, you need to whisk quite vigorously to achieve a dense foam. To avoid breakage when doing so, do not apply downward force and avoid touching the bottom & sides of the bowl.
How To Clean And Dry A Matcha Whisk
Because a matcha whisk is made from bamboo, it is prone to mould growing if not cleaned, dried & stored properly.
Clean your whisk after each use by pouring some clean water in your matcha bowl and whisk it gently until all the powder is removed from the prongs, or by rinsing it under some cold or warm water.
It is very important to never use soapy water or a dishwasher to clean your whisk.
To dry your whisk you can carefully pat it dry with a dry cloth or paper towel, then place it on a whisk stand, or stand it up on the handle end, somewhere in the open, where air can circulate properly around the prongs. (I personally place my whisk straight onto my whisk stand to dry, without using a towel first, and I have never had a problem with mould.)
Do not try to put your whisk back into the container you received it in, for two reasons:
- There is no room for it to breathe and any moisture stuck inside will encourage mould
- After its first use, the whisk probably isn’t going to fit back into the container anyway and forcing could cause the prongs to break.
How To Store Your Matcha Whisk And Keep It In Shape
Keeping your whisk in the correct shape is important to ensure it is whisking effectively.
The best way to keep your whisk in shape is to use a whisk stand.
Over time the prongs on a whisk will slowly start to straighten to the original shape of the bamboo. The inner prongs will move outwards and the outer prongs inwards, making the whisk less effective. To prevent this, always keep your matcha whisk on a whisk stand. A whisk stand is designed to keep your whisk in its ideal curved shape. It also aids in the drying process allowing proper airflow.
If you do not have a whisk stand (although we highly recommend using one), simply stand it up on the handle end of the whisk. Do not lay the whisk on its side or stand it on its prongs, as it will flatten the prongs even quicker.
As shown in the illustration a new whisk will have very curved prongs, especially the tips. After using it a few times, they tend to straighten out. Keeping it on a whisk stand will keep a nice curved shape and help prevent mould. Without using a whisk stand your whisk will quickly lose its shape, and making it less effective when whisking. With the prongs all being closer together, it will also be more likely to grow mould.
How is a Bamboo Matcha Whisk made?
For those of you that are still with us, here is a little bonus round! :D
I've included this section, purely because I find the process and presicion of this fine craft to be so amazing!
Each whisk is carefully handcrafted from a single piece of bamboo.
One end of the bamboo piece is carved and hollowed out, then divided into sections using a small knife. These sections are then divided again into the final number of prongs (usually 80-100).
Finally, the prongs are shaped, with the ends of the outer prongs being curled, and the inner prongs being weaved together in the middle.
You should now have all the information you need on using and taking care of your matcha whisk to get the most out of your matcha experience. If there’s anything you think I’ve missed or would like to know, let me know in the comments or send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bamboo Matcha Whisk (Chasen)
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Matcha Whisk Stand
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So what are you waiting for? Time to Get Whisking!
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