Matcha Tea Whisks: The Types

  Matcha whisks (Chasen) vary from school to school in some instances. I am going to focus in on Urasenke as I do not know much about the other schools.  For this school they keep to the classic bamboo colour as seen in these pictures, but can you spot the difference between them?

    First off the handle (jiku) thickness varies. I have small hands so I prefer the one with a smaller Jiku, but these are hard to find. The other difference is the thicker Jiku Chasen is made in China. You can get Japanese made ones but here in Toronto they are next to impossible to find, I have two Japanese ones and I still feel I need to stock up on more.

The second difference is the number of tines on the head (hosaki). The China made one has 100  and the Japanese made one has about 90-80, both perfect for Usucha (thin) tea.
   The weight of them is different when using as well. While I can quickly whip up a bowl with the 100 hosaki whisk, with the other one I need a little more time and muscle power.  This is something that I need to work on considering my preference in size and weight.

   I feel for the spring I will gift myself a good chasen. Nara, the place for the best chasen, is a type I would love to have these range in price from 35-60$ depending on where you look, sometimes more. The best advice is to try things out but always keep on hand what you are used to.

What kind of whisk do you have?

Surprise at my door!

Thursday, I went outside to get some fresh air after watching a lot of Chinese dramas, I set up The Sorcerer and the White of Snake(白蛇传说) to load and went out the door. Upon opening it I found a box at my door which the customs label stated there was a tea cup inside. At first I thought I had forgotten about an e-bay or Yuuki-cha purchase I had made perhaps over my vacation. 
    Once I finally opened the box I came to realize this was the package from KingKoh who also sent me incense.
    This tea cup is a beautiful chawan. I am still in shock that I have this piece of art. Strangely enough I had just purchased a cast iron pot to use for chanoyu practice this very same day. Since opening it I have been starring at the bowl, picking it up and feeling the unique textures it has. 

     Koh left me a note inside of it, ” I put this tea bowl in that I made as a suprise. It has a white Shino glaze with a white oak ash on the outside that turned green. The inside has crawled and stayed white. I also infuse my bowls with reiki energy. I hope you enjoy it.”

 On a smaller green note says” Shinorei”, which I believe is this bowls name. I am curious as to which kanji is used to write it’s name. On another note, I am glad that this came when it did. I have been working on an assignment for Tea classes which I am to create a Problem-free-contemporary tea service. I choose Chanoyu to use as a basis, which I am slowly studying. The tea bowl, I am sure, will inspire such assignment. This gift made my week much better after having an Asthma attack on the way to work Tuesday, I am fine now though as I am taking various medications. I am off to grab a few things so I may work on an art piece this afternoon (after going to Tao Tea Leaf~). 
   I can not thank my friend King Koh enough for this amazeing surprise!

Do Matcha: How to make matcha

 
 A while back I was asked if I would like to do a review for DoMatcha. I quickly accepted and did not expect to receive not only a full can of matcha but a whisk and holder.
     I tried the tea a few times casually to take notes on the tea itself. Then finally  I sat down to do a final tasting(what you see here).
    I was impressed but the amount of froth that appeared on the surface of the liquor, it seemed almost thick. For a few moments I wondered if I had made Koicha( Thick tea) and not Usucha (Thin tea) by mistake, but I was proved wrong when I tasted it.

For this tea I used my special chawan from the AGO, purchased last year when they had Jackson Polluck and other Modern artist’s work on show. I used the new chasen from DoMatcha and the holder for this set up.
        The tea itself has a very nice bright green hue and finely ground, there was no need to sift it. The tea itself was smooth. It had a cooked bean scent and tasted vaguely like brusel sprouts and finished with a dark chocolate taste on the tongue. It had a medium body for the amount of matcha used. Very pleasant. This has become my morning tea since its arrival.

    After looking at Do Matcha’s page I found the following information:

 Certified organic by JONA (Japan Organic and
Natural Foods Association), this premium, organic ceremonial Matcha is
the purest and most sustainable way to enjoy the ancient Matcha
tradition. Our DoMatcha Ceremonial Organic Matcha is produced in the Uji
Region, in Kyoto, Japan where matcha originated over 800 years ago.
(Makes about 25 servings.) $33.99 USD

How to Make Matcha

 ** Refer to images as reference
1. Warm up bowl and matcha whisk (chasen) with warm water. This cleans them and preps the whisk for use.

2. Place 2-3 scoops (chashaku) into the bowl (chawan)

3.Add in about 3-4 oz of 80 degree celcius water

4. Whisk quickly at the writs in a “W” or  “M” figure with whisk till frothy

5. Enjoy!

I am glad that I got to try this organic matcha. I try to keep a few different grades on hand (small quantities of course for freshness) so that I can change depending on my mood. This matcha is perfect for everyday Chanoyu practice. It has the right balance I look for in a matcha for this purpose.
     I look forward to possibly trying other matcha’s from DOMatcha. I want to thank DOMatcha and Tiffany Picard for this opportunity to do this review.

For more posts on Matcha check out our Matcha Tea page Here! Enjoy~!

Naming ones tools

   For a few years now I have been browsing Rikyu, a website dedicated to all aspects of antiquities for Chanoyu. In the wooden tool section I have realized that each tool has a dedicated name, carefully selected by the artisan. When I first started to look It never clued in that these beautifuly etched kanji were names.
  But now I am aware of them, thus I seek names for my chasaku (my best one as I have three) and chasen .
   Finding a name itself is difficult. Just as is finding a holder for it like this one on the side. Traditionally a tea master carves their own chasaku, I am not a tea master but I wish to use my artistic skills to create one just the same. Having this duality between Teasist and Artist makes it interesting. For some the idea of spending ones time carving a tool for tea is time better spent on learning. Though tea should be learned, in my view, through all methods. Learn about how a bowl is made, learn how zisha clay is used, learn how to pick the right leaf size, etc. All feeds into the study of the leaf. Just takes decades to learn, I am short over 5 years of missing experiences for the first decade of study. What will one learn in the next?

Charcoal?

     I have been a little busy putting things together for some submission deadlines. Writing, documenting, editing etc. Although I was eager the other day to start and almost finish these works.  I am very pleased with the simplicity of them. This “Tea” series will continue for some time to come.
   On a side note I am also going to begin learning Japanese Tea Ceremony starting this Saturday. I am eager to learn “茶の湯” or Chanoyu. The long Zen Buddhist and cultural history interest me  so much it was a must to begin these lessons. There was a book I saw the same day as these pieces were made at Japanese Things (Harbord St, Toronto) which went over the history and context for it, this book will soon become part of my tea book collection.
  I also started two more elongated paintings but they are still being worked on. Building up the tea stain on it is a process I am still learning. These paitings have more colour but will not feature any Japanese writing.
    I have also begun to knit again, reteaching myself basics through a hat, arm warmers etc for the coming winter. Once these skills are back in place I will fully begin Hysteria II. As for the grid, I am working on cleaning my room so I will have space to work on it and other works at the same time. I found an easel near Queen street, so this will be put to good use (Sorry Matt, I’ll help you set up my other one in the basement studio).
          Anyhow keep an eye out. A lot of interesting things are going on over the next while. Till next time~