Matcha Whisk vs Milk Frother, Which is Better?

Matcha whisk vs electric frotherAn essential aspect of  matcha (usucha style) is the layer of foam on top.

This is traditionally achieved with the matcha whisk, or chasen (茶筅).

Lately, a modern approach is also gaining ground: the use of the electric milk frother.

Using the matcha whisk

I always use the chasen for matcha, it’s easy to clean (just wash with hot water) and I think it’s beautiful. Plus, you’ll impress your friends with your whisking skills 🙂

The drawback is that using the chasen takes a bit of practice and effort. If you can’t whisk steadily for more than 10 seconds, the result will be disappointing.

MatchawansLet’s start making matcha!

This time I used two matcha bowls (matchawan) and added matcha to each.

Some people like to use a matcha sieve to break the lumps, but I’ve never found the need to do so.

The chasen, matcha bowls and the matcha were bought at Matcha Source, by the way.

Whisking matchaI poured hot water in the first matchawan to begin whisking. The amount of water is important, don’t try to fill the matchawan, it’s only about 2 oz (60 ml).

Refer to the matcha page for the complete brewing instructions and a video.

At first the matcha is a dark green liquid, but after you’re done it gets a lighter color because of the foam.

Using the milk frother

Frothing matchaThe milk frother I’m using is a little old, but it still works. This is the first time that I use it for making matcha.

Nowadays milk frothers with a stainless steel tip are more common. Take a look at this one, for example.

I turned it on and it immediately spilled some of the liquid out of the bowl, I even got small matcha drops in my glasses!

Either my milk frother is too powerful, or I don’t really know how to use it. It did the job quickly, however.

If you look at the picture, you’ll see that the bubbles are bigger than they normally are. This isn’t supposed to happen with the milk frother, I should have used it a bit more but was afraid to do so 🙂

The results

Matcha made with chasen
Matcha made with chasen

The matcha made with the chasen came out better, because I’m used to doing it that way.

I’m thinking that maybe it would’ve been easier if I used a taller cup with the milk frother, and then pour the matcha back into the matchawan. However, this is an extra step, unless you don’t mind drinking matcha from a different cup.

Using the milk frother should be easier, so I must be doing something wrong.

Matcha made with milk frother
Matcha made with milk frother

Does anyone know what my mistake is?

Please write in the comments below, thanks!

 

11 Comments

  1. Ainee Beland
    December 12, 2012

    Hi,
    Nice article. Coincidentally enough I received today my order of Matcha Tea powder from The Tao of Tea; well at least I think this is what is in package received today.
    I mean to say matcha’s don’t always froth for me.

    Reply
  2. Alissa White
    December 12, 2012

    Hi Ricardo,
    The electric frothers work really well in a tall glass. You learned the hard way what happens when you use a shallow bowl. The bamboo whisks are my personal favorite for whisking matcha. These beautiful objects make a frothy texture and don’t require batteries.

    Thank you for this lovely post.

    Alissa

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      December 12, 2012

      Thanks for the tip, Alissa.
      I must admit that the picture above wasn’t my first try, the first ones were disastrous! Lesson learned.

      Reply
  3. jd
    December 30, 2014

    Hi Ricardo,
    Thanks for the great article. I was wondering if it would work and was even tempted to try the steamer from my espresso machine. I think with a frother you need depth in the container so you can lift the frother up and down to incorporate air from the bottom up. I appreciate the knowledge you shared though. I will try it one day, because I find it difficult to consistently get foam with my Chasen ( perhaps it’s the quality of the matcha I currently have). Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      December 30, 2014

      Hi jd

      You definitely need a tall container for the frother.

      Regarding the foam of the matcha, it’s not only the the quality of the matcha but the tea to water ratio as well.

      Reply
  4. pedro reyes
    July 25, 2018

    add xanthan gum and watch the magic

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      July 25, 2018

      Hi Pedro

      Thanks for the food styling tip : )

      Reply
  5. Robert Brunner
    April 7, 2021

    I have found that using a milk frother works wonderfully when poured into a mason jar! I know this isn’t the traditional method, but I quite enjoy the look and being able to see the vibrant green through my jar

    Reply
  6. Rosie
    November 29, 2021

    Is it essential to froth the matcha tea?
    Does it change the nature of the ingredients to make them better for us drinkers?
    What happens if you drink it unfrothed?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      November 29, 2021

      Hi Rosie

      Nothing happens if you drink it unfrothed. Part of the reason is for appearance, but also the froth gives it a different feeling in our mouth, which adds to the experience. You can easily tell that there’s a difference when you drink it both ways.

      Reply
      1. Rosie
        November 29, 2021

        Thank you! I will have to try both ways & see for myself…

        Reply

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