I recently watched a video on how the matcha whisk (also known as the chasen) is made and it is truly beautiful craft work. It had me appreciating my chasen more but also had me thinking about how I care for it. So much love and energy goes into the process of hand crafting the bamboo chasen that it only makes sense to give back to those who created it and the chasen itself by properly maintaining it. I have come a long way from when I first started to drink matcha several years ago. My matcha experience has definitely been based on trial and error, including when it comes to caring for my matcha accessories.
If you watched the above video until the end you’ll notice they actually mention the handcrafted matcha whisks are only for 10 uses. I hear different answers from various sources on the lifespan of the matcha whisk. While I don’t know the exact lifespan one thing I know for sure is how often you use it and how you care for it can determine how long it will last. If you have ever found yourself wondering why your $15 chasen is already in rough shape after a few uses, this could be the solution to your problems. I definitely try to keep using my chasen until it won’t let me anymore. To help, I’ve compiled a list of caring tips you can get into the habit of doing before you use your new chasen, during the use of your chasen and after.
Caring for Your Chasen (Matcha Whisk)
Soak It – When you first get your chasen, fill up your matcha bowl (chawan) with warm water and allow it to sit inside for a few seconds. This will give your chasen the opportunity to unfurl (as it should) in the centre and the outer curls. To give you an idea, the image right below compares two of my chasens. You will notice that the one to the left has bloomed as it has been used a few times and the one to the right is brand new, still in its original form.
Tame It – When actually using your chasen to whisk your bowl of matcha, being mindful in how you do so is also a great step to consider. While we all want to get that great froth and avoid any clumps in our matcha, being too forceful at the wrong time is not good for your chasen. If you are preparing matcha the traditional way and adding the matcha to your bowl before the water, you can gently touch up the matcha with the chasen. However, during whisking, it is important to suspend the chasen in the matcha liquid, then you can be rigorous to get the desired froth. To avoid damaging any of the bamboo prongs, try not to scratch the bottle of your bowl with the chasen.
Clean It – Your bamboo matcha whisk can easily develop mold which would be horrible for the tool and of course your matcha. The great thing is that cleaning your chasen can be a quick task that will save you in the long run. When I say quick, I don’t mean it is dishwasher safe though. What I like to do is rinse my matcha bowl (chawan) with warm water after I am done drinking from it. Then, similar to the “Soak It” step above, I will fill the bowl with fresh warm water and take my chasen to whisk the water as if I were preparing matcha all over again. Afterwards, I quickly examine my whisk to see if there are any green spots on it. If so, I will continue the whisking in warm water. If not, I will lightly shake the matcha whisk outside of the bowl to make sure excess water is off (the beginning of the next caring step).
Dry It – As mentioned above, mold may develop with moisture from excess water stored on your chasen so getting it as dry as possible after cleaning is crucial. After lightly shaking the excess water that may be on your chasen, all that you have to simply do is let it air dry. It doesn’t get any easier than that. But, don’t just stand your chasen up on a table, as it could trap moisture and lead to more mold. The best way to let it air dry is inserting it into a matcha whisk holder (refer to next step).
Store It – Like many things, tea especially, how you store your chasen will make a huge difference, too. Your bamboo whisk is a handy tool and a beautiful craft work that is delicate. I would not recommend storing your chasen in the container it came in. They usually come in the plastic cylinder like the one in the image above, and unfortunately, that’s where my first whisk spent most of its time in. Fortunately, I don’t have any photos of my first whisk as it is no longer with me and it would be embarrassing to show its shape and how it was cared for. Luckily, I learned my lesson! The best way to store it is on a matcha whisk holder (image above), which costs less than the whisk itself and is worth the investment in my opinion. The whisk sits upside down on the holder (inner prong rings inside the holder’s hole) and it helps it maintain its shape and protects it from damaging.
*If you’re looking for a great and affordable matcha whisk, scoop and holder, I recommend checking out the Encha Matcha Bamboo Whisk Set.
**Have all your matcha tools and just need some recommendations for high quality and affordable matcha? Check out my top 5 favourite matcha brands.
Like it? Pin it: http://bit.ly/28JwdHV
What tips do you have to help your matcha whisk (chasen) last longer? Let me know in the comments!