The Chasen - A Guide. How to Use, Care, & Keep.

The Chasen - A Guide. How to Use, Care, & Keep.

April 28, 2014

Making Mizuba matcha with a chasen

茶筅 chasen 
Your Matcha Bamboo Whisk
 120 prongs. A single piece of pure bamboo. The Answer to Excellent Matcha.

Chasens bridge the world of art to the everyday. While fundamentally a utensil, the beauty of the detail, material, and its shape make the whisk a treasure of tradition worthy to keep on display and enjoy. 

    From the artisan's craft to crafting your tea:
    How chasens are made - 

    To make a chasen requires skill and meticulous finesse. There are six major steps in creating a chasen:

    1)  The chasen begins as a single piece of bamboo. The wood is peeled and cut into 16 equal parts (although this may vary depending on the type of chasen created) to make the whisk’s basic shape.

    2)  The parts are cut again into individual tines.

    3)   The artist will dip the tines in hot water. They are then shaved, ironed, and shaped.

    4)  The tines go through a second process of shaving, making the whisk more angular. The shape helps Matcha not stick to the whisk.

    5)  The tines are separated into inner and outer sections by threading each prong individually.

    6)  The height and space between tines are determined by inserting a bamboo spoon between the two sections.

    7) The final chasen is then arranged into its iconic, beautiful shape.  

     

     

    How to Make Matcha with your chasen:

    The purpose of a chasen whisk is to aerate your tea to create Matcha’s classic foam and froth. While there are multiple schools of thought in traditional tea ceremony, historically there are multiple types of chasens for different uses. For example, a chasen used for koicha might feature only 60 or 80 tines. A chasen intended for usucha would require more surface area to aerate the tea, so you might find them to be 100 to 120 tines. Mizuba chasens are normally 100-120 (you may still use them to make delicious koicha!). 

     

    If you're looking for an authentic matcha routine, here's how to establish a wonderful cha-no-yu (traditional tea ceremony) experience. 

    Preheat your chawan tea bowl with hot water. Discard.
    Place about 2 chashaku spoonfuls of Mizuba Matcha in your chawan. Pour about 1oz of ~160-175ºF water over your Mizuba Matcha -enough to make a smooth paste. This is called Koicha, or "thick tea."
    Use your chasen to incorporate evenly, breaking down any clumps. Carefully pour ~4-6 ounces more water over your tea, filling your chawan.
    Use your chasen to make usucha or "thin tea." Using your chasen, you will rapidly move the whisk in an 'm' or 'w' shaped zig-zag motion across the entire width of the bowl, back and forth. The motion should create a nice even froth. 
    Pro-tip - be gentle! The movement is a rapid motion that comes from the wrist. Don't push too hard on the chasen - this will hurt the tines. It is ok to feel the bottom of the bowl, but again, do not push down on the tines. 
    Sip and enjoy.
    To see how to whisk with a chasen in action, watch our video
    &

    How To Care For Your Chasen Whisk:

    • Do not store it in its original plastic container. Because bamboo is a natural material and retains moisture, chasens can occasionally be susceptible to slight molding. No need for concern ­– just be sure your whisk is able to air dry. We store our whisk standing upright on its base in mild environment.
    • Should mold occur, place your chasen in boiling water.
    • In everyday use, do not wash your chasen with soap. Simply run it under hot water and remove all visible signs of matcha. 
    • Pat your chasen dry. 


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