Frequently Asked Questions
Ichiyo is a Japanese given name that literally translates into English as, “one leaf”.
I decided on this name for the philosophical significance it has to my heart. All tea comes from, “one leaf”, and yet that one leaf can proliferate into an enormous variety of different tastes, aromas, textures, and experiences. In such an unnecessarily chaotic world, it is a gentle reminder that we are all connected, and at the same time, manages to capture the cultural origins of Matcha as well as the essence of tea in a single word.
Yes, because my name is Ichiyo 🙂
A chasen is a bamboo whisk that is used for the preparation of Matcha.
Yes. Regarding Chasen, there are different qualities, shapes, styles, and intended uses. The main considerations for most people would be whether it was made in China or Japan, and how many tines it has. Japanese ones are generally higher quality and will last longer, look nicer, and be more of a pleasure to use. I bought my whisk in Japan 3 years ago and am still using it after what must be several thousand bowls of tea. The 2nd consideration is how many tines it has. This depends on whether you want more foam, less foam, or even no foam. The more foam you want, the more tines you should get (keep in mind that the more tines there are, the thinner and more fragile they will be). Tine counts vary between 16 to 120. I would suggest one that has 80 tines as it has a a good balance between durability and versatility. If you have a good whisking technique, you should have no problem producing a rich, smooth foam with 80 tines. I personally have 2 whisks, one for Usucha (medium foam) and another for Koicha (no foam). The difference in colour, size and shape are mainly about aesthetic preferences, as well as different tea ceremony schools having their own doctrine for how their utensils should look. A good entry-level quality Japanese whisk would be around $30 if you buy in Japan.
It is highly recommended that you use a Chasen to prepare matcha. There is no real substitute. A Chasen, along with a good technique, allows you to whip the tea into a dense foam quickly and evenly. It also allows you to easily and gently smooth out any unsightly large bubbles in the foam after the initial agitation. The bamboo tines also allow you to, “brush”, off any tea that may be stuck to the bottom during whisking, whereas a metal or motorized whisk might damage your bowl. Lastly, in tea ceremony, the sound of the Chasen gently brushing against the inside of the bowl, creates an extra sensory dimension to the whole tea experience – if you’re into that kind of thing 😉
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