What Is a Chasen (Bamboo Whisk)
What Is a Chasen?
Tips on How to Care For Your Bamboo Whisk
Let’s start with the basics, what is a chasen?
A Japanese chasen, often referred to as a matcha whisk in the U.S., is a tea utensil with thin prongs or bristles traditionally made from bamboo. The prongs in the center of the whisk meet at a point and are often intertwined together while the outer strings stay separate and curl in at the end. The base of the prongs are met at the handle. The chasen is used to whisk tea powders such as matcha and hojicha into a smooth consistency when they come into contact with water. The exquisitely designed prongs will produce a creamy froth, essential to traditional style drinking of matcha. The creaminess of the froth is the mark of a well prepared matcha.
What are alternatives to a chasen or bamboo matcha whisk?
You’re probably wondering - is a bamboo whisk really necessary? Is it possible to make matcha without a whisk? Yes and no. You could use a fork, regular whisk, or blender but you won’t get nearly the same result. A fork, for example, wouldn’t be able to perfectly declump the powder when it comes into contact with water. And with the chasen’s functional design you’re able to produce those tiny bubbles of foam you love on top of your drink!
How do you use a matcha whisk?
SOAKING | To begin, soak your whisk in warm water for a few seconds to soften the bristles and allow them to be more flexible.
WHISKING | Depending on what type of matcha or hojicha you are making, the amount of tea powder and water may vary. In general, you will begin by adding your tea powder to a bowl. Next, add a small amount of water. Begin vigorously whisky until a paste is formed then add the remaining water. Continue whisking in an “M” shaped motion until the clumps have disappeared, the tea is smooth, and tiny bubbles form. Try to avoid scratching the bottom of the bowl, this may damage the whisk’s prongs. For a more detailed guide about matcha, check out our How to Make Matcha blog post!
How do you clean and care for a bamboo whisk?
It’s important to note that a chasen is not dishwasher safe and cannot be cleaned with dish soap. To clean, add warm water to a bowl and whisk in the water until all the tea residue is gone. To dry, shake off the excess water and let air dry. Bamboo whisks can easily mold from water moisture so be sure the whisk is completely dry. To maintain a whisk over time, storing the whisk is also important. Use a matcha whisk holder (also known as a kusenaoshi) to help keep the whisk’s shape intact. If you do not have a matcha whisk holder, you may leave your whisk facing up but overtime this will cause the whisk to lose its shape.
Whether you drink Matcha everyday or like to have it occasionally, a bamboo whisk is perfect for tea masters and Matcha fans alike. Luckily, with a little bit of care, you can really extend the life of your chasen. Ready for your own? Check out our bamboo whisk below.