Matcha tea is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to drink great tea, and for lots of reasons. Matcha tea can be, when properly prepared (especially by using a Matcha Whisk Set), one of the tastiest ways to drink tea you have ever tried, and it’s a very colourful choice to boot, which is something in itself that might brighten up your day.
Then there are the health benefits of matcha: high-quality matcha tea powder is packed full of antioxidants – even more than standard green tea. A tea drink that is good for you as it is tasty? That’s a real winning combination, as the customers at our Marylebone cafe discover every day.
However, if you can’t make it in to visit us at How Matcha, you can prepare matcha tea at home. There are lots of ways you can prepare it, and we can suggest some great things to add to your basic brew to make it even more enjoyable (and healthful) but if you are going to make matcha tea at home there’s one thing you’ll need in addition to your ingredients if you want to make a great matcha tea: a matcha whisk set.
Matcha Tea Prep: A Brief History
Chinese Zen Buddhist monks popularized the practice of making and drinking powdered matcha tea over 900 years ago. As a result, traditional matcha preparation is ritualistic and contemplative in nature, requiring specific utensils and a meticulous step-by-step procedure.
This custom was passed down to the Japanese in the 11th century, and they have been preparing and drinking the frothy tea drink ever since. Even after powdered tea lost favor in other regions of Eastern Asia, it has remained a staple of Japanese culture. Matcha is derived from the Japanese term “ma,” which means “rubbed or ground,” and “cha,” which means “tea.”
As we mentioned, the process of preparing matcha tea is almost a thousand years old, and things have changed over time. While you may not use the matcha tea you buy from How Matcha to perform a traditional tea ceremony (although you should feel free to) the tools used to properly prepare matcha tea should be in your arsenal, with the most important being a matcha whisk.
What is a Traditional Matcha Whisk?
In order to make the best matcha at home, you’ll need a chasen, which is a traditional Japanese matcha whisk. A chasen is a bamboo whisk with dozens of springy tines that are specifically designed to whisk matcha into suspensions.
These lovely tools are simple and attractive to use and last a long time (simply rinse with warm water and properly dry after use). A How Matcha matcha whisk set is also designed to look great when displayed on your kitchen counter between uses (and on Instagram of course.)
Why Not Use a Metal Whisk to Matcha?
Matcha tea is a finely crushed powder created from stone-ground green tea leaves that clumps when mixed with water or milk. A chasen will effectively smooth and froth your matcha, unlike a typical metal whisk, plus it won’t scrape the bottom of your container! The result will be the silky smooth tea you expect (and may have even experienced at How Matcha already.)
There are lots more prongs on these traditional bamboo whisks than on a typical metal baking whisk. This allows the matcha to be suspended and separated quickly without clumping.
Matcha also never completely disappears. Instead, the best matcha is a slightly thick, foamy suspension that is quite different to the tea you might be used to drinking. The matcha will settle over time, but that’s to be expected; just give your cup a little spin and you’re ready to go.
To ensure the smoothest cup, we recommend sifting our matcha before use, particularly our ceremonial grade matcha, and then always making use of a matcha whisk set to prepare it.
What Other Tools are Needed to Make the Best Matcha Tea?
Our Matcha Whisk Sets can be purchased with all of the traditional tools needed to prepare matcha tea at home. In addition to the matcha whisk – aka chasen – traditional matcha tea preparation also calls for the use of a special bowl and spoon.
The ceramic vessel in which matcha is traditionally prepared in tea ceremonies is known as a chawan, which translates to “tea bowl.”
Since the 13th century, the chawan, which originated in China, has been utilized in Japanese tea rituals. Depending on the ceremony and type of tea, there are a variety of different types, colors, and shapes of chawan. To make it suitable for drinking matcha bowls should be around 5 inches in diameter, smooth to the touch, and easy to pick up.
The tea spoon, or chashaku, is a small, curved instrument used to spoon matcha powder into the chawan. The chashaku’s size and unusual ski-like shape aid in portioning matcha powder into uniform scoops. While most modern chashaku are made of bamboo, when they were initially transported to Japan, they were carved from ivory.
Can I Skip the Matcha Whisk?
Of course, going through the traditional process described above is optional – but very calming and a great way to unwind after a long day – and you can drink matcha in lots of other ways. It can be prepared as quickly as a cup of coffee, and you can choose to add milk or one of your favourite milk alternatives, and all kinds of other ingredients go well with matcha tea (and can even make it tastier and healthier still.)
However, if you are going to make matcha at home, we still recommend using a matcha whisk. Lumpy matcha tea is nowhere near as tasty – or enjoyable – to consume as the beautifully smooth suspension you’ll create with a matcha whisk, and the only way to reliably achieve that dreamy, silky foam that is the hallmark of a great matcha tea drink is with a matcha whisk.
Matcha Whisk Set Gift Options
If you are looking for a gift that will really wow its recipient – especially if they are already tea drinkers – then a How Matcha Matcha Whisk Set, paired with one – or more – of our high-quality matcha tea powders – is a perfect choice.
When creating a custom matcha whisk set gift package we can customise it in all kinds of ways – just ask – and we’ll even include recipes and instructions for preparing some of our most popular cafe drinks at home, as well as some basic instructions for performing a matcha tea ceremony at home. Your gift recipient will feel like a whole new culinary world has opened up to them!
Hot matcha with milk (or your favorite milk alternative) iced matcha (with or without milk) matcha lattes, matcha bubble teas, and many more drinks are all options for matcha fans, but there is actually even more you can do with our ingredient quality matcha.
Matcha can also be used as an ingredient in baking. At How Matcha’s physical cafe location we offer a range of baked treats that are enhanced with matcha, and you can easily do the same at home. It goes great in biscuits and cakes, can add colour and flavor to pancakes and granola, and can be stirred in yogurt or custard to do the same.
However you choose to consume matcha – and reap all of the taste and health benefits it offers, a How Matcha subscription box will ensure it’s easier – and tastier – for you to do so. You can customise both the contents of your matcha subscription box and the frequency at which it is delivered. You can even send a subscription as a gift.
Each matcha subscription box also comes with easy-to-follow tea preparation guides, recipes, and more. Sign up for one today to begin enjoying matcha tea – in its many forms – at home.