I’ve been drinking matcha every morning since last year.
Even my wife drinks it too. We’re regular matcha drinkers now 🙂
Because of that, I’m using the chasen (茶筅, tea whisk) more often and thus I must take care of it.
I’ll tell you what I know about the subject in this post.
It’s not difficult at all, and you’ll save money by not having to buy a new one so often.
You’ll notice that the tines of a new chasen are curly and the middle ones are tied up.
This shape is just for good looks, that way you can tell that it’s new.
But after the first use, its form changes permanently.
The tines will uncurl and thus the chasen as a whole becomes a bit taller. This means that it won’t fit properly in the plastic case.
If you try to make it fit by force, some of the tines may break.
In addition, if you store a wet chasen inside the plastic case, it won’t be able to dry properly and there’s the risk that mold develops.
Mold can ruin it, so you should keep your chasen in a dry place.
Some people soak the chasen in hot water before each use to make it more flexible and thus prolong its life. However, I don’t do that.
You should also inspect it to see if a tine has been damaged, because it can break inside your matcha while whisking.
Clip off the damaged part, but not at the base. A tine can still be used even if it’s not as long.
Finally, don’t apply a downward force when whisking. That’s one the main reasons why the tines break.
Cleaning your chasen
After each use, you should rinse your chasen.
I mostly use cold water, but hot water does a better job. Don’t use soap or any other cleaning agent.
One way to do this is to put water in your tea bowl and then whisk with the chasen in order to clean it.
If you see that there is still some tea attached to the tines, you can carefully clean it by stroking with your finger. I’ve rarely had to do this, however.
Your chasen may adopt a slight green hue after some time. Especially if you prepare koicha. This is normal.
After rinsing the chasen, it’s best to use a whisk stand. That way the tines will regain a desired shape as they dry.
There are different names for the whisk stand in Japanese: Chasen tate (茶筅立て), chasen yasume (茶筅休め), and kuse naoshi (くせ直し).
While not mandatory, I highly suggest that you use one. I bought mine from Amazon, click here (affiliate link).
If you find that your chasen has mold, or smells funny, try boiling it in water for some minutes.
With time, the tines of the chasen wear down, and some may break with use. At some point you’ll have to buy a new one, especially if there are too many broken tines.
I’m not sure how long a chasen is supposed to last. I guess it depends on how often you use it, and if it’s well maintained.
My estimate is that it can last more than a year under the right conditions.