After buying good matcha (a vibrant green powder with a sweet grassy aroma indicates that you’ve opened a good tin of matcha), a whisk is the next most important thing when preparing a traditional cup of matcha tea. With some basic knowledge, anyone can learn how to whisk matcha powder into a deliciously smooth green tea.
Why is a whisk so important?
It's simple, if you don't want to drink lumpy matcha you need to use a whisk. Matcha powder doesn't truly 100% dissolve in water like sugar or milk powder does. The bamboo matcha whisk is used to aerate matcha, like wine matcha needs to breathe, and eliminate powder clumps, giving you a beautiful froth and the smoothest cup of matcha tea. But it’s not just a functional tool, using a traditional bamboo whisk (known as a chasen in Japanese) is all part of the matcha experience and will have you feeling like a tea master for a few minutes each day.
How do you use your whisk?
Place a teaspoon or two chashaku of our organic matcha into a bowl. Add a tablespoon of cold water. Mix the powder and water together with your whisk so that it forms a thick paste. Then add 70ml of hot water (matcha is made with water that has come to a boil and then left to sit a few minutes).
Now it’s time to start whisking! When whisking, make straight lines. I whisk back and forth but go ahead and experiment, M or W shapes, zig zags and figure-eight motions all work well to create foam.
Moving the whisk in a circular motion will cause the bubbles to break. It's not how long you whisk, it's all about short and fast. Whisk as quickly as you can for as short a time as possible. As your water cools down, it's harder to create a rich foam.
How much foam?
There are different schools of thought about how much whisking is needed. The Urasenke tea school prefers to make its tea with lots of foam, other tea schools and their masters prepare their tea with less foam, like Omotesenke. I would say that you don't need to be this precise to enjoy matcha and its many health benefits – carry out some experiments to work out how to make the perfect cup of matcha tea for you.
How do you look after your whisk?
Soak your whisk in hot water before you start. This keep the bristles more flexible and keeps them from breaking. When you’ve finished making your tea, clean your whisk by whisking it in pure hot water and dry it by patting onto a paper towel. Storing your whisk prongs down on a whisk holder after you wash it helps it to keep its shape.
- Prepare a paste with a bit of cold water.
- Pour 70ml hot water.
- Whisk FAST!
- Whisk back & forth, not in a circle.
- If you’re not happy with the foam whisk for a little longer.
- Wash your whisk, pat dry and store upside down.
Enjoy, relax and focus!