Matcha tea is gaining popularity among tea connoisseurs and novices alike. And making a bowl of matcha properly doesn’t need to be intimidating. You just need the right equipment and a bit of practice. Here are some easy-to-follow tips on how to whisk matcha.
Preparing ceremonial matcha the traditional way is a simple process. In fact, it typically takes just a few minutes from start to finish. The key is having the right tools and using the proper technique.
In this guide I’ll go over:
- all the equipment you need to make matcha
- step-by-step instructions on how to make your own bowl of matcha green tea at home
- recommendations on the type of matcha to use
- alternatives to a traditional matcha whisk
Equipment you need to make matcha tea
In addition to water and good quality matcha powder, making ceremonial matcha requires 3 pieces of equipment:
- chawan – the tea bowl used to mix the matcha
- chashaku – the scoop used for the tea
- chasen – the matcha whisk
The matcha whisk is perhaps the most important of these. Without it, you won’t be able to achieve the smooth, foamy consistency of properly prepared matcha.
What should I look for in a matcha whisk?
Traditional matcha whisks are made from a single piece of bamboo and feature dozens of tines designed to make the matcha perfectly frothy.
Tines. Generally, the more bamboo tines or strings it has, the better it can whisk the matcha. Some chasen have fewer than 2-3 dozen tines. Others feature up to 120.
To make good, frothy matcha, look for a chasen with a string count between 80-100 tines.
Quality of the bamboo. This is another important factor when evaluating whisks. Weaker bamboo can break more easily and won’t last as long as more durable bamboo used in higher-quality whisks. So opt for a matcha whisk that’s 100% bamboo.
Step-by-step guide: How to use a matcha whisk
Since proper whisking is key to making great matcha, it’s a good idea to know the right technique so you end up with the right consistency. Once you have that down, making the perfect cup of matcha tea only takes about a minute.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use your matcha whisk:
Step 1 – Before you start making your tea, first soak your whisk in a cup of warm water for about a minute. This will open up the tines and make them more flexible.
Step 2 – Next, add 1 tsp of matcha green tea powder to your tea bowl. For best results, use ceremonial grade matcha. One teaspoon of matcha will work out to about two scoops using the chashaku (or matcha scoop). If you don’t have a matcha bowl, any small bowl will work.
Step 3 – Pour in 1 tsp of cold water and use the whisk to combine with the powder. This will remove lumps from the tea. Mix until you have a smooth paste.
Step 4 – Add 1/2 cup of hot water to the mixture. The water should be hot, not boiling. Aim for a temperature of between 160° and 170° Fahrenheit. Use your whisk to gently scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl so the powder and water mixes evenly.
Step 5 – Now whisk the mixture together. You want to whisk vigorously in a zigzag or W-shaped motion for 20-40 seconds to oxygenate the tea. Note: Just mixing in a circular motion will not aerate the tea correctly, so you won’t get the right consistency.
Step 6 – Once you achieve a rich frothy layer on top, you’re ready to enjoy your delicious matcha!
How to clean and dry your matcha whisk
Once you’re done with your whisk, you want to clean and dry it properly so it doesn’t become brittle and break.
Cleaning your matcha whisk
The best way to clean your bamboo matcha whisk is to simply run it under a gentle stream of hot water. You could also soak it in a bowl of warm water. The key is not to brush or wash it vigorously as the fine tines could be damaged. For the same reason, you should not put it in your dishwasher.
If there are persistent stains or matcha particles on your whisk, you can use a toothbrush to gently remove them.
Drying your matcha whisk
After you’ve cleaned your bamboo chasen, let it air dry. If you have a bamboo whisk holder, you can let it dry in its holder. If not, just set it on its end with the flat bottom of the handle and the tines pointing up. This will help it keep its original shape.
It’s important not to place it in a container or drawer to dry, as it could attract humidity and moisture and cause mold to form on the whisk.
Alternative methods to a traditional bamboo whisk for making matcha
Metal whisk. If you don’t have a matcha whisk, you could use a metal whisk instead, but it will be more difficult and you may not achieve the same frothy top that makes matcha so special.
That’s because the metal tines are too far apart to properly aerate the tea the same way a matcha bamboo whisk does. Still, it will work to mix the tea and water together in a pinch.
Mason jar or glass bottle. Another workable option is to use a mason jar. With this method, rather than whisking the matcha ingredients together, you’re simply adding them to the jar and vigorously shaking them. You’ll probably end up with a foamy tea using this shake method, but you also may find lumps in it. If you decide to go this route, it’s a good idea to sift your tea first.
Blender. You want to avoid using a blender for matcha. The process of making matcha is a gentle and deliberate one. A blender is a much more brute force way of mixing the ingredients and the blender tines will not be effective at creating a frothy top for the tea. Plus, you’ll likely make a mess as you try to fit the blender blades into the small mixing bowl.
Hand mixer or milk frother. As with the other tools in this list, an electric frother does not have tines small enough to whisk the matcha properly. That means you won’t end up with the froth you would get with a traditional matcha whisk.
Matcha has an earthy, creamy taste that is richer than regular green or black tea. It can also be astringent or bitter. Factors that influence taste include the quality or grade of the matcha, as well as the amount of powder you use.
Yes, there is caffeine in matcha, but it is relatively low compared with coffee. A cup of matcha has about 30 mg of caffeine, whereas the same amount of coffee can have as much as 200 mg. Therefore, matcha is unlikely to produce caffeine jitters when you drink it.
How to Whisk Matcha
- 1 Matcha whisk (chasen)
- 1 Small bowl
- 1 Tea scoop (chashaku) optional
- 1 tsp High quality matcha powder
- ½ cup water
- Soak whisk in bowl of warm water for 1 minute.
- Add 1 tsp of matcha powder to your tea bowl.
- Pour in 1 tsp of cold water and use the whisk to combine with the powder. This Mix until you have a smooth paste.
- Add 1/2 cup of hot water (not boiling) to the mixture. Aim for a temperature of between 160° and 170° Fahrenheit.
- With the whisk, gently scrape powder from the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Vigorously whisk the mixture together using a zigzg or "W" motion for 20-40 seconds. Stop once you get a foamy, frothy top.
- Enjoy your tea immediately!
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.
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