Matcha tea is the traditional tea that we frequently find in Japan. It has its origins in the 12th century when Eisai, a Buddhist monk, brought back from China the ingredients and tools necessary for its preparation as well as the method for consuming it correctly and taking advantage of its flavors and medicinal properties.
The benefits of matcha tea have since spread across the globe. But to be able to properly appreciate this refined tea, it is essential to know how to prepare it correctly. As tea masters still do today in Japanese tea houses.
Preparing traditional matcha tea
Before treating the main subject of this article which is how to successfully make matcha tea without a whisk, a utensil normally required for preparation. We will quickly recall how ordinary matcha tea is prepared in order to clarify certain details of the preparation and to understand how and with what we will be able to replace the c hasen (bamboo whisk).
For those who have already mastered the technique of making matcha tea and are only looking to know what the whisk can be substituted for, we invite you to go directly to chapter two “Preparing matcha tea without a whisk (chasen) ” . For the others, we start right away with the list of ingredients and tools that we will need to prepare our matcha tea, in case we have a bamboo whisk with us:
Once we have all this, we can move on to the first step of preparing our matcha tea.
Step 1: Put the water in the kettle to boil
To prepare our matcha tea we will of course need hot water. Since we're going to need it in a few minutes, we might as well not waste time and put it to boil now so that it will be available when we need it.
Step 2: Put some cold water in the bowl
This little tip comes straight from the Kumiko Matcha site where Valentin (the owner of the site) teaches us that putting a little cold water before putting the matcha tea in the bowl helps avoid having lumps afterwards .
Others will prefer to use a sieve or strainer to filter out any large pieces of matcha tea. There is no single way to do it, everyone is free to do as they wish as long as the tea does not have lumps when tasting.
Step 4: Put 1 to 2 grams of matcha tea in the bowl
Using a teaspoon or a bamboo spoon if you have one, carefully pour 1 to 2 grams of matcha tea into the bowl with cold water. With time and experience you will measure your matcha tea according to your tastes and preferences.
Step 5: Whisk the matcha tea using the chasen
Using a firm flick of your wrist, whisk the diluted tea into the water in the bowl using straight motions. Avoid circular movements as much as possible, which do not allow the matcha tea to froth properly. After one to two minutes, if you notice that the tea is covered with a small, thick foam and there are no large bubbles, you can move on to the last step.
Step 6: Pour Hot Water into the Bowl
The optimal temperature for water is between 70 and 80 degrees. If you are lucky enough to have a thermometer, wait until the water cools to this temperature. Otherwise let the boiling water in the kettle cool for a few minutes (five minutes should be enough).
Once the water is at the right temperature, carefully pour it into the bowl while continuing to whisk the tea with the whisk to be sure not to create unnecessary lumps. The amount of water poured into the tea, just like the amount of tea used for matcha tea, will depend on individual preferences. But to give you an idea, 1 gram of matcha tea for 15 centiliters of water is a correct proportion.
Preparing matcha tea without whisking (chasen)
Now that we know how to prepare good matcha tea according to Japanese traditions. We will learn how to make one in case we do not have a whisk during the preparation.
For this we offer two techniques. The first is to replace the bamboo whisk with an electric whisk or milk frother. The second is more “wild” in the sense that it does not use any whisk to prepare the matcha tea.
First technique: Using an electric whisk
If you don't have a bamboo whisk available, but you have an electric whisk, or even better a milk frother. You can replicate the matcha tea making method detailed above by simply replacing the chasen with the electric whisk.
Using this method you will not need to whisk the tea for too long, however we still advise you to keep a straight motion when whisking the tea in the bowl.
The result obtained will certainly be less good than if you had used the traditional method which uses a chasen , but in case of failure this technique still allows you to enjoy a good homemade matcha tea.
Second technique: Make matcha tea without any whisk
With this technique you will be able to prepare matcha tea anywhere and at any time. For this you will need the following ingredients and tools:
- matcha tea
- Hot water
From now on, forget all the steps that we have just detailed above. All you need to do here is pour a little matcha tea into the bottle then add hot water. You then shake the gourd for a few minutes to simulate the whisking process normally done with the bamboo whisk. And there you have it, your matcha tea is ready.
Naturally the result obtained will be of lower quality than if you had prepared your matcha tea according to the usual ritual. But in the event that you find yourself cut off from the world without a bowl and without a bamboo whisk, this technique will allow you to enjoy your traditional Japanese tea as best you can.