Do You Need A Matcha Whisk (Chasen) To Make Matcha?

One common question that we often come across: Is a matcha whisk necessary to prepare matcha at home?

To answer this question, we must understand this traditional Japanese tool.

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Understanding Matcha Whisk

Matcha whisk, also known as chasen, is perhaps one of the most significant tools for preparing matcha at home. Crafted from a single piece of bamboo, no alternative tool can compete with its ability to evenly whisk the tea to create a thick yet fine mousse-like foam. Its springy tines are designed to whisk matcha into suspension.

This elegant tool lasts for a long time and is simple to use and easy to clean.

Why Can’t I Use A Metal Whisk?

Matcha is made up of finely grounded green tea leaves - which tend to form clumps when added to water or milk. 

And unlike a metal whisk, a bamboo whisk (chasen) will froth your matcha - without scratching the bottom of your bowl.

Traditional bamboo whisks contain more spines than a typical baking whisk - which helps suspend and segregate the matcha without clumping. 

Also, if you are starting to drink matcha, you must know that matcha doesn’t dissolve completely. Instead, you must use a matcha whisk to whip it into a frothy suspension. 

The matcha will settle over time. Just give your cup a little swirl, and you’re good to go.

Are There Any Alternative To Matcha Whisk?

Now, what happens if you don’t have a matcha whisk? Or maybe don’t have access to one?

Although we always recommend using a chasen to whisk matcha and enjoy its best flavor - but we know that sometimes we have to work things out with the available resources.

Whether you’re on the go or don’t have a bamboo whisk for your matcha, here are a few recommendations that you can use: 

  • Milk Frother: If you love lattes, then a milk frother can work as a chasen to whisk your matcha. First, add water, followed by the matcha powder, and use the milk frother to whisk everything up.
  • Blender: You can also use a blender to blend your matcha. We recommend adding water (or milk) with matcha and blending it until you achieve a smooth consistency. 

Matcha can be an excellent ingredient in your smoothie recipe.

  • Shake it: Another way to make matcha if you don’t have a chasen available is using a mason jar. Add matcha into a mason jar or a shaker cup with tightly closed lids. Add water or milk to it and shake it vigorously until combined. 

How Is Chasen Made?

Each chasen commences its life as a piece of bamboo that has been dried for a period of at least one to two years. The appearance of the whisk depends on the variety of bamboo used, which is generally of three varieties: white bamboo (shirataki), soot-colored bamboo (susudake), and black bamboo (kurotake).

Both white and black bamboo occur naturally, attaining their respective colors when young green bamboo dries. Soot-colored bamboo is made a little differently from the ceiling of a traditional Japanese house. 

Their exposure to smoke and soot gives them a beautiful, deep brown color.

After the bamboo is dried, it goes through an eight-stage transformation that changes the raw material into a delicate instrument.

Stage 1: Haratake: Here, the bamboo is cut into long segments, roughly around 12cm (4.5in), with the node about ⅓ down the length. The bamboo is split into two sections, with the longer side being used as the tines and the shorter side becoming the handle.

Stage 2: Katagi: In the second stage, the craftsman forms the spikes of the chasen by shaving the outer layer of the skin from the halfway point to the tine side of the split. From here, the tine side is divided until the split nears the nod and is repeated until it gets divided into 16 segments. Then, using a knife, the craftsman bends each segment back and splits the hard outer skin from the soft inner flesh, which is then removed.

Stage 3: Kowari: Each of the 16 segments is split further, anywhere between two to eight times, 

which gives the chasen 36 to 120 tines, depending on its style.

Stage 4: Aji-kezuri: After cutting the tins, the whisk is soaked in hot water. This helps soften the bamboo. Then, the craftsman shaves the tines from bottom to tip until it becomes thin, flexible, and translucent. While the bamboo is still soft, the tines are curled inwards, which gives it a distinctive shape.

Stage 5: Mentori: In this stage, the craftsman shaves off the corners of individual tine. This helps remove all the rough edges from the tines and also prevents the matcha from sticking to the tines.

Stage 6: Shita-ami/Ua-ami: After the tines are shaved, they are separated into inner and outer rings by a row of thread. This thread weaves back and forth around the tines. This threading weaves some of the tines in the inner circle, and the other half forms the outer circle. Then, two additional rows of threading are used to secure everything in place, followed by a knot - which is tied at the front of the whisk.

Stage 7: Koshinarabe: In this stage, the whisk tines are slayed out, and the craftsman readjusts them into the final shape, which often involves twisting the inner tines into a knot.

Stage 8: Shiage: This is where the final touch happens. In this stage, the craftsman takes a final look to ensure that the tines are evenly spaced and form an even circle.  

Final Thoughts 

Whether you have a whisk or not - matcha is undoubtedly one of the healthiest beverages around the globe with its roots going back 500 years back. Order bulk matcha powder from Aki Matcha and enjoy the benefits it adds to your health, mood and overall being. 


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