Though making a traditional bowl of Matcha can seem a bit intimidating at first, it’s actually quite simple once you get acquainted with the different tools and accessories. For this week’s blog post, we will go over the different Matcha accessories, their purpose, and how to use them. Once you get the hang of it, making a bowl of Matcha can be a calm, unique, and rewarding experience.
Here are the different Matcha accessories: bamboo scoop, whisk, whisk holder, hand sifter, natsume, strainer can, and Matcha bowls.
The bamboo scoop is a simple tool used to pick up or scoop the Matcha from its container into your bowl. One heaping scoop is equivalent to about one gram of Matcha. We recommend using two scoops or two grams (about 1/2 teaspoon) when drinking Matcha in the ceremonial way (usu-cha).
One of the most well-known Matcha tools is the whisk. Used in Japanese tea ceremonies and known as the “chasen,” the whisk is made of bamboo and can come in a variety of sizes (such as 80 prongs, 100 prongs, or 120 prongs). The whisk is an essential tool for making Matcha, used to whisk or aerate the tea to create a creamy, microfoam layer on the surface. This should be similar to that of a latte, if not finer. When you get the chance to inspect a new whisk, you may notice that the center prongs are intertwined and the outer prongs curled. Before using a brand new whisk, it is recommended that you soak the whisk in hot or boiling water for a few minutes. This helps get rid of the strong bamboo aroma on the brand new whisk, while also allowing the whisk to unravel.
The whisk holder, known as the “kuse naoshi,” is a tool that props up your whisk for better drying and storing. Because propping your whisk on the whisk holder helps the whisk to dry better, it also reduces molding, while also helping to maintain the shape of the whisk. Though a whisk holder is not absolutely required, it significantly extends the life of your whisk and is highly recommended.
Matcha particles are extremely fine – less than 10 microns (finer than baby powder) – which makes for a smooth drink, but sometimes causes small clumps to form. These clumps can easily be undone to a fine, beautiful powder using a hand sifter. Ideal for a single serving of Matcha, a hand sifter is a small mesh sifter used to sift and break up the Matcha clumps prior to whisking. Sifting Matcha beforehand allows the powder to be smoothly and evenly mixed when whisked. Use the hand sifter before preparing each cup.
If you do not want to sift the Matcha each time you want to prepare a cup, a natsume may come in handy. A natsume is a tea caddy that is used to hold Matcha after it has been sifted. Typically used during traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, this tea accessory is not absolutely necessary, but useful.
The Strainer Can is basically the hand sifter and the natsume combined, for convenient sifting and storing. The top portion of the can features a built in, removable sifter, in which the Matcha is sifted and is then stored in the bottom portion of the can. We recommend storing around one week’s worth of sifted Matcha in the refrigerator, and the rest of the Matcha in the freezer.
Matcha bowls, used to drink Matcha from, come in three different shapes, which are used for different seasons: summer, winter, and all year-round. The summer bowl, which is shallow and features a wide mouth, allow the Matcha to cool quicker. This allows for optimal enjoyment of traditional Matcha even on a hot sunny day. Next, we have the winter bowl, which is a deep bowl with a narrow mouth. Designed to retain the heat of the Matcha, this bowl is perfect for using on a cold winter day. Lastly, there are general bowls made for everyday use. Featuring a normal width and depth, this is the perfect bowl for any occasion all year-round.
Though all of these tools and accessories are not absolutely necessary to enjoy Matcha, they add to and enhance your daily Matcha experience. Enjoy!