matcha tools

A Guide To Traditional and Non-Traditional Matcha Tools

November 15, 2016 in Learn / Matcha 101: Learn About This Green Tea

If you have seen a traditional Japanese matcha ceremony before you may be aware of the matcha tools that are typically present. They are beautiful pieces that all serve a unique purpose. However, you don’t necessarily need all of them to make your own matcha at home. When I first got into matcha I was turned off by all the accessories I thought I needed right away. The traditional matcha tools can add up quickly and I wasn’t even sure then if matcha was something I would love and enjoy regularly. Today, I still don’t have every little thing used in a traditional matcha ceremony but I still make great tasting matcha at home! This is a guide to help you understand the different matcha tools I use and see what matcha tools you may need as well.

With this guide I also included non-traditional items that can be used in the place of others. If you’re just getting started in matcha these tools will be more than enough for you to make a delicious cup (provided you have great quality matcha!). Once you have fallen in love with matcha more, then you can slowly transform your matcha habits by investing in the some of the traditional matcha tools.

Traditional Matcha Tools

Chawan (Matcha Bowl)matcha bowl (chawan)

A chawan is literally a “tea bowl”. It’s what you prepare and serve your matcha in. You’ve probably seen many different chawan styles and sizes. There are some that are designed certain ways to be used for certain times. For instance, the chawan that are more shallow than others are used in the summer time and deeper ones are used in the winter time. I really like to use deeper ones the most, so that is what I look for first when shopping for a chawan. Next, I look for a nice design and feel. Being able to grasp both of my hands around the matcha bowl comfortably is important to me. I also like a bowl that I feel has enough space inside to whisk my matcha well.

Non-traditional option: Soup Bowl or Mug
For the longest time, I was making my matcha in just a regular soup bowl with vertical walls and you can, too! You will want a soup bowl that would be a similar shape to a chawan because you’ll need room for whisking to get a decent froth and not damage the prongs on your whisk. You can also use a mug, preferably a wide mouth one to whisk in. However, if you only have a tall mug, you can prepare your matcha with a handheld frother (see below).

Chasen (Bamboo Whisk)matcha whisk (chasen)

Out of all the matcha tools on this post, I consider the chasen to be the most essential one. It’s what will really help you mix the matcha and achieve an incredible froth when used properly. Made from bamboo, you can find chasens with various amounts of prongs (ie. 80 or 120 prongs). They are quite delicate and require proper care. When you get your chasen, or if you already have one, make sure you check out my post that will help you take proper care of your chasen so it lasts as long as possible.

Non-traditional option: Handheld Frother
Instead of the traditional matcha whisk, a handheld frother that you would normally use to froth milk for your lattes will work well for your matcha. While I don’t think it works as good as the bamboo whisk does at getting rid of all clumps, it still does a fine job. I would recommend sifting your matcha beforehand to help some more. You can get a handheld frother for fairly cheap at Ikea or Amazon. I actually got mine at a small shop that was closing down and had it for sale for only 4 bucks!

Chashaku (Bamboo Scoop)bamboo scoop

The chashaku is a beautifully crafted piece that is made to easily portion the matcha from your natsume (tea jar) or the tin/pouch your matcha came in into your chawan. It measures out about 1 gram of matcha and when preparing matcha, 2 scoops are usually used.

Non-traditional option: Teaspoon
My chashaku (bamboo scoop) was one of the first things I invested in but only because it came with my chasen. Truthfully, I didn’t use it too often because I would just grab the nearest teaspoon to measure out the matcha before whisking. Two chashaku (bamboo scoop) is about 1 teaspoon. So when using a regular teaspoon, keep that in mind for measurements. 

Furui (Sifter) matcha sifter

I recently asked around on social media if people sift their matcha before whisking. A majority said yes and agreed that sifting before whisking can help create a smoother matcha as it prevents clumps and I also find it helps create an even better froth. I recently got a bamboo sifter meant for matcha specifically, but before that I just used a normal tea strainer as it did a great job and was something I already owned. If you only have that then go ahead and use it! 

Non-traditional option: Small kitchen strainer
If you don’t have a tea strainer, a small kitchen strainer will work as well. I’m not talking about the one you strain your pasta with though. Something much smaller! There are some that are the same size as a tea strainer. Ones like those I use for sifting small amounts of flour so using one to sift matcha will work, too. Just make sure it is fine mesh and used only for matcha.

Chasen Kusenaoshi (Whisk Holder)whisk holder

This matcha tool isn’t exactly used for preparing your matcha green tea, but it plays a big role in keeping your chasen in great shape. If you checked out my how-to post on properly taking care of your chasen, you know the chasen kusenaoshi allows the whisk to dry better and keep its shape. After you rinse off your chasen, you store it here. I’m not sure what you can use in its place, so if you have any non-traditional ideas, let me know!

Chakin (Cloth) matcha cloth

The chakin is a linen cloth that is used to dry your chawan after warming it up with water prior to making matcha, and drying it at the end when cleaning.

Non-traditional option: Any soft, clean cloth
Using any small cloth you have at home will work as long as it is clean and dry. I would recommend making sure it’s a cloth that is only used for this purpose, too.

Non-traditional option for preparing matcha all together: Mason Jar
Another option is that you can forget everything else and just scoop a teaspoon or two of your matcha into a mason jar, add water, shake and go! Shaking will help get rid of any clumps and also achieve a nice froth. Personally, I save this option for just on the go because I really enjoy the art of preparing matcha traditionally. But this way is excellent at showing you just how simple and affordable matcha can actually be and great for those who want to just get started with matcha and find out if it’s for them without making big investments on matcha tools.

There are many different matcha tools you can have and use in your every day life but I think it comes down to preference. Find what works for you and go from there. One of my favourite things about preparing matcha is knowing that most of the pieces are hand crafted. So, remember to take care of your matcha tools so that they last you as long as they possibly can.

*If you’re interested, my entire matcha set comes from one of my favourite matcha brands, Encha. You can find the exact set (with a bamboo tray but minus the bamboo sifter) here.

Do you have other matcha tools you like to use at home? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Reply Clarissa November 15, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    All I have is the whisk – I never knew there were so many tools to make a perfect cup of match tea! <3

    -Clarissa @ The View From Here

  • Reply RuthAnn Rafiq November 15, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    What a cool post! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Notes on Tea November 15, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    I don’t have the chasen holder or the bamboo sifter. I use a small flour sifter in place of the latter. The former is on a wish list.

  • Reply Jennifer November 15, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    So informative and I love that you give alternative tools to use. I just bought some matcha powder but I haven’t tried it yet. This post makes it a little less intimidating.

  • Reply Grace & Green November 17, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Excellent Post! There are so many Chawan on the market. It is difficult to find your favorite chawan but when you find it, you would enjoy your matcha more and more!

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