I’ve spent quite a bit on teaware over the years. The one thing I’ve never splurged on was a chasen. I’ve always used the inexpensive ones found in Asian groceries or at chain tea retailers. I have found myself drinking matcha almost daily and my trusty whisk just wasn’t holding up to the increased workload.
The time had come for an upgrade. I had always been enamored with darker bamboo so I set about looking for a trustworthy source. This is not an area of expertise for me but the name Tango Tanimura popped up in my search again and again. It turned out that was for good reason.
Tango Tanimura is the head of a Japanese family that has been making chasens by hand for almost 500 years. They are one of only three tea whisk making families that were granted surnames by the Tokugawa government during the Edo Period (1603-1867).
I had remembered pinning a whisk on my Pinterest some time ago. Searching through my Drool Worthy Tea Things board led me to Koto Tea. They specialize in all things matcha so it seemed that I had found the perfect source. The selection of whisks they offered with colored strings really caught my attention.
It still took a bit of hemming and hawing but I finally settled on this gorgeous black bamboo Tango Tanimura chasen with a fun addition of pink thread. Needless to say, I am in love!
Just as there is a difference between using a fine yixing clay pot instead of a chunky western-style teapot, I immediately noticed a change in my matcha making. I enjoyed using my new whisk so much that it became more of a ritual. My bowls also had a better froth with less effort.
I have now been using this whisk almost daily since February and it is still in tip-top shape. That has been the most obvious indicator of its quality for me. All whisks wear out eventually but I definitely feel like my investment was worth it.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Chasen
- Soak the tines well in hot water before starting to whisk
- Rinse it thoroughly after use. Never use soap to clean it!
- Never cram your whisk back into the plastic tube or box that it came in. The tines will expand over time and you will risk breaking their delicate tips.
- When not in use, store it on a whisk holder. This will help it to keep its shape over time.
- Remember that you are whisking, not grinding the tea. Be careful not to scrape the bottom of the bowl too roughly.
The exact whisk that I purchased is sold out. You can see other beautiful Tango Tanimura Chasen here.
Shin Kazuho Chasen was purchased from Koto Tea.