May 25, 2016

Matcha Tea Ceremony Utensils

Most people enjoy a good matcha latte but I also appreciate usucha or thin tea which I make at home. Koicha or thick tea is not something I make frequently though I guess the first step of preparing a bowl of thin matcha is making a matcha paste that you thin with more hot water. Mutsuko Tokunaga, author of New Tastes in Green Tea, lists four utensils necessary for cha-no-yu or tea ceremony. The tools are chasen or tea whisk, jawan (chawan) or tea bowl, natsume or tea jar, and chashaku or tea scoop. I do not own a natsume but the other three utensils are part of my teaware collection. The description for each utensil is excerpted from Ms. Tokunaga's book.

Chashaku | Tea scoop

"This is a slender tea scoop used to remove tea from the natsume tea jar....Its origins are thought to lie in the similarly shaped medicinal spoons of the Chinese Sung dynasty (1128-1279). With continued used, the bamboo chashaku takes on a beautiful patina and greater character."

Jawan | Chawan | Tea bowl

Two types of tea bowl are used for matcha--the flatter, open shaped bowl for summer and bowl with a thicker lip and vertical walls used in winter." I think my chawan, also a Mizuba Tea Co. purchase, is a winter bowl.

Chasen | Tea Whisk

"The bamboo tea which has a delicate outer circle and a separate inner circle of thin bamboo fronds that work well to blend the water and powdered tea. Sweeping the whisk all around he bowl creates an appealing froth, which also serves to make the tea milder." This chasen was purchased from Mizuba Tea Company. It is my second whisk; my first was a gift from Ippodo Tea.

A sieve is a useful tool for matcha preparation. I left mine, a simple one used in baking, in New York. I have not been using one here in VA but I recently borrowed one from a neighbor.

Do you prepare matcha at home? I wrote about how I prepare matcha here and how usucha is prepared at the Ippodo Tea shop in NYC here. What's in your matcha toolkit?

New Tastes in Green Tea by Mutsuko Tokunaga was provided for review. Stay tuned for more about this Japanese green tea book as I honor Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Georgia! Like you, I have same 3 out of 4 items listed from Tokunaga's book that you have (and I have her awesome book too!). I find the sifter/seive essential for whenever I enjoy matcha. I'm on the lookout for a tin that has a sifter attached to it--then my matcha set will be complete!

  2. Excellent post! I've also got 3 out of 4 items in my teaware collection. A natsume is definitely on the wishlist. I've been trolling Etsy to try to find one that is decently priced. One item not on the list that I found indispensible is a hishaku, or water ladle. I found that I was pouring too much water into the bowl because my kettle is rather hefty. The ladle helps me to keep things more balanced. My boyfriend thinks it looks like Gandalf's pipe :P


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