The essential tools for a matcha tea set you can’t live without.
Making matcha is a craft and to perfect any artistic endeavor you need the right tools for the job. When it comes to matcha making there’s a quintet of equipment - the bowl, the whisk, its stand, the scoop, and the sifter.
They each have their special purpose within the tea ritual. But they’re easy to master (Ocha & Co. Matcha Tea Sets on Amazon) and once you’ve gathered together your set you’ll wonder how you ever coped without them.
Authentic bamboo matcha-whisks, known as chasen, aren’t just beautiful to behold
- they’re essential for that final stage of the matcha-making process.
Sieving Matcha powder gets rid of the static electricity that makes it stick together when exposed to air. But once it’s in your bowl and water is added to the equation, the powder has a tendency to clump once again.
So, in the first instance, whisking the powder and water together, and breaking up those tiny boulders of matcha is the difference between a gritty and unedifying bowl of gloop and a brew that feels satisfyingly smooth to sip on.
But whisking has a double purpose - the action introduces air into the liquid, producing that iconic matcha froth and releasing all those subtle aromas and tastes once locked into the powdered leaves.
Our Japanese bamboo whisks are all hand-made in the workshops of the venerated artisan Inoue Wakasa in Takayama, Nara prefecture.
Mr. Wakasa is a third-generation master Chasen craftsman, one of just 18 traditional practitioners officially recognized for their art by the Japanese Government.
Each whisk is traditionally crafted from single pieces of bamboo, specially grown, harvested, and then seasoned for up to two years.
When it comes to choosing your Chasen, a good rule of thumb is that a whisk of anything up to 80 prongs, or tines, is best suited for making Koicha (thick matcha), while a whisk of 80 to 100 plus prongs is excellent for preparing a really frothy Usucha (thin matcha).
Our range of Japanese bamboo whisks comes in 60 and 80-prong sizes and are available in white and black bamboo styles. All carry the Nara Takayama kitemark signifying a premium matcha bamboo whisk and a guarantee that absolutely no bleach or chemicals were used in their production. They are a perfect addition to your matcha tea set.
The matcha cup that will bowl you over.
A glazed pottery or porcelain Matcha bowl, generically known as a Chawan, is as integral to preparing your tea as it is to consuming it.
In short, it’s both your mixing bowl for whisking up your matcha and your cup fordrinking from and an important part of your matcha tea set.
It goes without saying that the history of the Chawan, first imported into Japan fromChina a millennium ago is as old and vast as tea drinking itself. It’s a fascinating story that’s led to an almost bewildering range of bowl types, styles, shapes, glazes, and even kiln firing methods.
We’ll be covering that back story and focus on the art of the chawan past and present very soon on these pages, but in the meantime here are a couple of universal truths to consider when you purchase a chawan...
...if you like the look of it, connect with it as you’re preparing your matcha, the weight and feel of it in your hands as you cradle it, the smoothness of a glaze, or perhaps
the roughness of baked clay on your lips as you sip from it, then that’s the chawan for you.
The only real rule is that your chawan is wide - a diameter of between 5 and 6 inches is sufficient - and deep enough to be able to give your matcha a proper agitation with the whisk without splashing your matcha over your work surface.
The solution to dreaded powder clumps.
The key to the perfect Matcha is ensuring the powdered tea is as clump-free as possible.
Because our high-grade Japane Japanese matcha is stone ground you can rest assured that it’s as fine as it’s going to get - but no matter the granulation, as soon as you scoop out the tea into the bowl static electricity weaves its invisible powers to attract those minuscule grains (each around 5 microns in size) to one another. Net result - clumps.
And the static forces at play are so strong that some clumps can even withstand the whisking stage. That’s where a sifter - or Furui - comes into its own and separates the matcha-making newbies from the pros. In fact, clumping is a sign that your matcha is of high quality and not the opposite as many people think.
These attractive, usually stainless steel tools of the trade feature an incredible fine sieve mesh that will easily solve your clumping woes (and gently limber your wrists up for that all-important whisking stage!) ensuring exactly the right conditions in your Chawan for whisking into a frothy green delight. You need this tool to make your matcha tea set complete.
Don’t call it a spoon!
Matcha Scoops are known as Chaskaku and are used to deliver matcha powder to the sifter or bowl - around 0.5g a heaped scoop - ahead of adding water and then whisking.
Like our authentic Chasen matcha whisks, the range of Chasku’s we stock at Ocha & Co is all handmade in Japan by master craftspeople working with completelynatural materials and processes.
Our White Bamboo Chashaku are all made from locally grown Nara Takayama bamboo and are naturally dried and seasoned before being worked on. We’re also proud to add that no bleach or chemicals are ever used in their production
Ridged have especially searched out bamboo that has naturally occurring ridges or ribs and carved the Chashaku in harmony with them, giving each chase its own, if you like, personality. White Bamboo Chashaku
Finally, there’s the Japanese Susudake Chashaku - a true piece of heritage craft. Each scoop is made from bamboo reclaimed from the roofs of old, Japanese houses, and has its very own backstory and a unique, beautiful patina formed by decades of smoke from fireplaces rising through the air. No matcha tea set would be complete without one of the beautiful scoops.
Matcha Green Tea Whisk holders are known as Kuse-naoshi.
Technically speaking, these lovely, ceramic (sometimes bamboo) tulip-shaped pots are designed to maintain a Chasen whisk’s shape and prongs after each use - and thus prolong its life. But they’re very useful for air drying and then storing your
whisk safely, too.
After you’ve carefully washed your chasen (see our How To Guide in our blog, here) simply slot it into the top at the top of the Kuse-naoshi.
Holders are expertly crafted to fit the central prongs of the whisk and pairing the whisk and holder is a strangely satisfying action.
Quite aside from their usefulness, the two combined as one look very sculptural.