matcha whisk

How to Properly Care for Your Matcha Whisk (Chasen)

June 20, 2016 in Learn / Matcha 101: Learn About This Green Tea

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)

BEFORE

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.

matcha whisk

DURING

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.

AFTER

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).

matcha whisk

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.

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matcha whisk

What tips do you have to help your matcha whisk (chasen) last longer? Let me know in the comments!

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19 Comments

  • Reply MDIVADOMESTICA June 24, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks for the detailed information on caring for a matcha wish! Very educational.

  • Reply Dylan Cutler June 24, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Ahhh, now the matcha holder makes sense! Haha, I thought it was for esthetics. Good to know I have been cleaning mine correctly! Phew πŸ™‚

  • Reply Hang Around The World June 27, 2016 at 5:55 am

    First time we have heard about this!! So interesting πŸ™‚

  • Reply Yuliya Oleynykova June 27, 2016 at 7:21 am

    I love matcha tea and actually have a whisk. It was a struggle for me to dry it in the initial shape. Thank you so much for your help. No I’m saved x

  • Reply Dom June 27, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Jeez. I learned something today! I didn’t know you even needed a whisk for matcha! LOL! Great post. ;o)

  • Reply Kasee @ Shivers + Crickets June 27, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    I have been wanting to start making matcha tea at home! Thank you for sharing your helpful tips πŸ™‚

  • Reply Grace & Green July 1, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    There are many types of Chasen and ike Matcha, there are good ones and not good ones. Chasen was invented in Japan and it is for making Matcha tea, but nowadays less expensive ones are made in another country… I have to pay more than οΌ„20 for Japanese Chasen in Japan.
    Depending on the number of branches of Chasen (16,32,48,64,72,80,96,120), you can make Matcha tea differently.

    There are many things to learn from Chasen! Thank you for the useful tips!

    • Reply Kelly V @cookinasnap July 8, 2016 at 11:51 pm

      Hello, Ritsuo from Grace and Green! I just received my matcha today. the Luxury matcha was delightful, no bitterness and now with Lu Ann’s advice, I can keep my Chasen in good condition. Thank you!

      • Reply Grace & Green July 9, 2016 at 6:35 am

        Hi Kelly!
        I’m very glad that you like our Organic Matcha Green Tea. Our Matcha Brand is famous for its high quality in Japan, but not famous yet outside Japan.
        I’m Japanese and Matcha is the pride of Japan. So I’ll work harder to offer High quality Matcha to many more people who are looking for them.
        Thank you for your kind message!
        Have a good weekend!!!
        Ritsuo

  • Reply Kelly V @cookinasnap July 8, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Lu Ann, well, yesterday I received my matcha set in the mail and today the matcha tea and I eagerly opened it all and blended the tea/water ratio the way I remembered reading. And it was good! I got my nose in the bowl (I’ll try to remember it’s called a chawan), gave it a good sniff, drank the smooth green tea. It was everything I was hoping for! Thank you for your encouragement. I am hooked!

    • Reply Lu Ann Pannunzio July 11, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that, Kelly! I usually do about 1-2 bamboo scoops in my chawan with about 5-6 oz of water. I hope you’re enjoying the whisking. If you need any help, let me know! Keep me posted on your matcha journey πŸ™‚

  • Reply Evan @panateamatcha July 27, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Thanks for the great post! Super detailed and informative. At PANATEA, we recommend replacing whisks every 2-3 months if using everyday. Only 10 uses for handmade whisks gets expensive fast – yikes!

  • Reply Grace & Green September 18, 2016 at 8:09 am

    When I had a tea ceremony in Tokyo this month, one of the guest brought a matcha whisk that is 10 years old. She told us that matcha whisk can be used for very long time as long as it works regardless of its appearance. She uses the whisk privately for long time because she likes it.
    If you invite very important guests to your tea ceremony, it might be better to use a matcha whisk that was used less than 10 times (or 10 tea ceremonies) but to make matcha tea for your self, you can use it as long as it works.

    So, caring for your chasen is very important. Thank you for this great post!

    • Reply Lu Ann Pannunzio September 18, 2016 at 11:33 am

      Good to know. That makes sense πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing! I know I use my whisk until it no longer works for me. Just need to take care of it and like most things it should last a very long time indeed.

  • Reply Kelly V September 18, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Ritsuo,
    Thank you for your experience with the chasan! I was using mine sparingly (meaning less matcha for me!) so it would last. Now I know I can enjoy my organic green cup of health more often!

    • Reply Lu Ann Pannunzio September 18, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Yes! Whisk away, Kelly!! πŸ™‚

    • Reply Ritsuo (Grace & Green) September 19, 2016 at 1:02 am

      Dear Kelly,

      You are most welcome!
      The most important thing is to find your favorite tea (of course it should be safe as a food also).
      Please enjoy the organic matcha more often!

  • Reply Sharon February 7, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks so much for the info on how to take care of a matcha chasen! A friend bought me a chasen from Japan and I want to make sure I am using it and cleaning it the right way! Great helpful post, thank you!

    • Reply Lu Ann Pannunzio February 8, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      You’re welcome, Sharon! I’m glad you find the post helpful. Enjoy your new Chasen and let me know if you have any questions ☺

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