Whisking serves five purposes.
- It creates the suspension and breaks up any lumps
- It opens the flavours, similar to letting the wine breathe
- It aerates the liquid with fine bubbles, giving it a velvety mouth-feel rather than a more liquid-like one
- It creates the foam head or "crema"
- It cools the tea from boiling to a drinkable temperature
Despite being over a thousand years old, the design and materials used to make these traditional tea-making tools have barely changed. While this gives them an aesthetic quality that few other modern utensils can match, it does also mean that authentically-made matcha whisks are a little more high maintenance than their contemporary counterparts
As with any new food or drink preparation tool, it is always a good idea to clean a new chasen matcha whisk before you use it for the first time.
You may notice the core loosen a bit after this, but that is fine. Chasen whisks perform best when their core has opened slightly, as this allows the tines that make up the knotted core to better assist with whipping the matcha tea.
Keep away from the bottom
When whisking up matcha teas’ signature foam, you want to keep the tines away from the bowl’s bottom and sides as much as possible, so that you can whisk as energetically as you feel is needed.
Use a whisk holder
After you are done don’t wait with cleaning the matcha with water and put it in a whisk holder, that’s how your chasen will stay intact.
How to store
To store your whisk, do not use the plastic container it came in when you bought it. It is perfectly normal if your chasen looks different from the first time you bought it. A chasen is made from Bamboo and therefore changes through uses.
If your chasen is not perfectly dry, the humidity trapped in the plastic could cause mould. This is also why we recommend you to use a whisk holder.