BAMBOO TEA WHISK | CHASEN
This whisk is used to mix matcha (powdered tea) with hot water (approx. 80 degrees) - a simple, healthy and delicious drink.
This particular matcha tea whisk or chasen is classified as happondate, which roughly translates to consisting of 80 prongs (40 outers, 40 inners).
About Chasen (Matcha Tea Whisk)
Tea whisks, formally known as chasens, are hand crafted from a single piece of bamboo.
Used in a traditional tea ceremony, a perfect technique will result in beautiful matcha with no damage to your chasen. The matcha should be whisked in a zig-zag motion, avoiding contact with the bowl, to ensure the powder is mixed and that a consistent lather is created.
There are various types of chasen available, with key differences being the number of prongs & size of the chasen. More expensive chasens are often smoke treated (darker colour) and these are used in traditional tea ceremonies.
Generally speaking, and for everyday use, a basic chasen will be perfect.
How to Care
The chasen will show signs of wear and tear, however, there are several steps that can be taken to increase the life of your chasen.
- Before first use, soak in hot water
- Check your chasen prior to each use for broken or damaged prongs
- Clean it after each use (no detergent), just whisk in hot water or run under the tap
- Allow your chasen to dry on a chasen holder or rest upside down to prevent mold
In a little more detail...
When you receive your chasen, the first step should be to soak it in hot water. This will help soften the bristles and allow the chasen to unfurl.
In addition to your chasen, it is helpful to have a chasen holder (or keeper). This will help the chasen to retain its shape and prolong its life. After each use, the chasen should be placed on the holder to allow it to dry or gentle rested upside down to allow the water to drain off. NB: A damp chasen can attract mold growth.
Prior to each use, it pays to briefly check your chasen for any damaged prongs. It is better to clear these away, otherwise, you may end up consuming a piece of bamboo that has broken off in your tea.
Finally, after each use whisk in hot water until clean and then shake away any excess water. You can use a cold running tap to rinse, however using hot water will help the chasen dry quickly. Once rinsed, ideally place on your holder to dry & keep its shape. Alternatively, gently rest on its prongs to allow the water to run off & assist with drying.
How long will it last?
The life of a chasen is fairly short, with a traditional tea ceremony using a new chasen each time. This is based on the proverb of Ichigoichie, which means that only one opportunity exists for one meeting.
The good news is that with care, you should be able to get solid use from your chasen. Once the prongs start showing signs of damage is usually a good indication that your chasen needs replaced.
Be healthy & enjoy the Wabi Matcha experience.