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How to Whisk Matcha in Traditional Fashion

Posted by Angelina Kurganska on

Globally, the popularity of Matcha has seen constant growth to the point where it is now considered a formal ingredient in the eyes of most. It takes beverage form, dessert form, and all forms in between with a variety of temperatures, techniques and tastes. But here, we'll focus on the most traditional way of preparing matcha, in it's most traditional form: served as a cup of hot tea.Ceremonial Chawan for making matcha

The items necessary for making matcha tea: sifter, Chawan, chasenchashaku, kusenaoshi, ceremonial grade matcha

Start out with a traditional Chawan. This is the bowl used for preparing and drinking the Matcha. Boil some water and pour inside to 'wake up' the bowl. Now, invert the tines of the Chasen (bamboo whisk) by soaking in a bit of water. This brief soak will increase flexibility and soften the tines. In the meanwhile, after clearing and drying the chawan, sift the matcha through a Furui (fine-mesh strainer) into the bowl (making sure not to push the tea through). We recommend using 3 Chasaku (curved-bamboo scooper) scoops for about 100ml of water. In other words 1g of matcha per 30ml/1fl oz of water.

traditional matcha scooper

When you hear the splash
Of the water drops that fall
Into the stone bowl
You will feel that all the dust
Of your mind is washed away.
- Sen no Rikyuu

Once the matcha is in the bowl, grab your chasen, pour in the correct amount of hot water, and begin to whisk. The whisking should go as follows: horizontal whisking, vertical whisking, zig-zag whisking, in that order. The motions should be swift, yet delicate, making sure to keep the chasen tips just under the surface of the tea and away from the bottom of the bowl. The whole process will take anywhere between 10-20 seconds when the froth just begins to foam at the top of the tea.  

Remove the whisk, and clean and dry immediately. Ideally one should use a Kusenaoshi where the chasen can sit upright and air dries completely before going in for storage. Pick up the chawan with 2 hands. Admire the shape, glaze, and feel of the bowl. Enjoy mindfully.