Matcha is a special tea made from shade-grown green tea leaves that are ground into a fine powder. The most common way to consume matcha is as a hot drink, but it’s also become popular to use in lattes, smoothies, ice cream, cookies, and cake. Unlike other types of tea, it is not made by steeping dried tea leaves in hot water, but by whisking the powder into hot water, creating a thick, creamy, and smooth beverage with a bright green color. The highest quality of matcha, intended for drinking, is known as “ceremonial grade,” while “culinary grade” matcha is intended for cooking. Many specific utensils are used as part of the ceremony, and while you don’t need all of them to make matcha at home, some are considered essential.
Best Bamboo Whisk
Takayama Chasen Hand-crafted Whisk
Choice of thread color
While other specialty matcha tools can be considered optional, the most essential and basic utensil for preparing matcha is a bamboo whisk (or chasen). Carved by hand from a single piece of local bamboo, this one is from the village of Takayama in Nara Prefecture. Takayama is famous for its local chasen-making masters descended from long lines of artisans who have been carefully crafting bamboo tea whisks for hundreds of years.
This bamboo whisk has about 70 bristles or prongs and is tied with cotton thread in your choice of colors: red, purple, or black. If you want a high-quality artisan whisk that will make great matcha and last for a long time if treated properly, this chasen will be worth the investment.
Price at time of publish: $48
Material: Bamboo | Dimensions: 2.4 x 4.3 inches | Weight: 2.2 ounces
Best Budget Bamboo Whisk
Haru Matcha Traditional Hand-carved Golden Bamboo Matcha Whisk
Handmade in Japan
Great for foamier matcha
Delicate and prone to breakage
While it’s not from Takayama village, famed for its bamboo whisks, this chasen is still handcrafted in Japan and is half the cost of our top pick. It has 100 fine prongs, making it ideal for those who prefer foamier matcha, because the more tines a bamboo whisk has, the easier it will be to create a thick and fine layer of bubbles. If you would like to make matcha the traditional way without breaking the bank, this chasen is a great option.
Price at time of publish: $22
Material: Bamboo | Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 4.5 inches | Weight: 0.32 ounces
"[To make matcha], use one and a half scoops (about 2 to 3 grams) of powder and sift it to break up clumps," explains Ruriko Yamakawa, a certified Japanese tea ceremony instructor. "After the water boils, let it sit for 1 minute until it’s about 80 degrees Celsius or 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Then add 60 milliliters (2 ounces) of water to the bowl. Whisk for between 10 to 15 seconds in an '11' shape."
Best Electric Whisk
MatchaDNA Handheld, Battery-operated Electric Frother
Easy to use
Doesn’t blend as well as traditional whisks
Batteries not included
If you’re in a rush or prefer a multi-use tool that can be used not only for whisking matcha, but also for preparing foamed milk for lattes, cappuccinos, and hot chocolate, a handheld, electric frother is a versatile alternative. A battery-operated frother will not make matcha as well as a traditional bamboo whisk, however, because it won’t fully incorporate any powder on the very bottom or sides of the bowl.
Matcha experts also maintain that the meditative act of whisking by hand is part of the experience, but this inexpensive frother can be a good choice for those who are more interested in making matcha lattes rather than traditional matcha tea, and those who are not too concerned about the process.
Price at time of publish: $12
Material: Stainless steel and plastic | Dimensions: 8 x 2 x 2 inches | Weight: 2.89 ounces
Best Matcha Bowl
Mizuba Chawan Matcha Tea Bowl
Good size and shape
Comfortable to hold
Must be hand washed
A matcha bowl, or chawan, is used for both preparing and drinking matcha tea and can come in many different sizes, shapes, and styles, often with a design reflecting the season. They are usually made of ceramic. Winter matcha bowls are narrower and deeper with thicker, straight walls designed to keep tea hot in cold weather. Summer matcha bowls are wider and shallower with thinner and more steeply angled sides to allow the tea to cool faster. Summer tea bowls might also be made of a different material, such as glass. Chawan are usually handmade and can be quite pricey—the most expensive can cost thousands of dollars.
If you’re just getting started with making your own matcha, though, you don’t need a chawan for every season or an heirloom-quality piece. For everyday, year-round use, this simple but elegant ceramic bowl, handmade in Japan, is a great choice for homemade matcha beginners. At 4.7 inches in diameter, it’s wide enough to easily whisk matcha with water, and the gently rounded walls fit nicely in your hands for lifting the bowl to sip your tea. The glaze finish is rustic and artistic.
Price at time of publish: $40
Material: Ceramic | Dimensions: 4.7-inch diameter and 3.7 inches high | Weight: Not specified
Best Matcha Bowl with Spout
Speckled Blue-and-White Ceramic Matcha Bowl With Spout
Attractive and functional
Great for making matcha lattes
Durable and sturdy
Not dishwasher or microwave safe
One style of matcha bowl features a spout and is known as a katakuchi. While it is traditional to prepare and drink matcha from the same bowl, if you usually make matcha to then transfer into a large glass for a matcha latte, this could be the perfect type of bowl for you. The handmade stoneware bowl is beautiful and functional, with a blue-and-white glaze. Each bowl is made to order, so while it may take longer than a mass-produced item to ship, each piece is unique and special.
Price at time of publish: $39
Material: Ceramic | Dimensions: 4.5 x 3 inches
Best Matcha Scoop
Shizen Natural Bamboo Chashaku Matcha Scoop
Cannot be washed with water
Delicate and prone to breakage
Matcha tea scoops (or chashaku) are usually long, thin, and ski-shaped, carved from a single piece of bamboo. They are used to scoop and measure matcha powder from a tea caddy into a tea bowl or sieve. This scoop is handmade from white bamboo and can be used to measure out the perfect amount of matcha powder for a cup of tea. It’s also useful to use the flat bottom to press matcha powder through a fine-mesh sieve before whisking it with water to get rid of any clumps.
Price at time of publish: $4
Best Whisk Holder
BambooMN Matcha Tea Whisk Holder
Dishwasher safe (though not recommended)
Might not fit all bamboo whisk sizes
While bamboo whisks are essential for preparing the perfect cup of matcha, they are delicate and prone to breakage or damage. If stored in the plastic container in which they are often packaged, they can quickly develop mold if not completely dried first.
A whisk keeper or stand, known as a kusenaoshi, is a great solution for these problems. After using a bamboo whisk, simply rinse it well, shake off any excess water, and store it upside down on the holder with the middle tines inserted in the central hole and the outer tines gently arranged around the curves of the holder. The whisk can then air dry without risk of molding, and the holder also helps protect the delicate tines from damage and keep them in their gently curved shape.
These handmade ceramic holders are available in nine different stylish colors and look nice enough to keep your whisk stored on a countertop for quick and easy access.
Price at time of publish: $12
Material: Ceramic | Dimensions: 2.4 x 2.8 inches
Norpro 3-Inch Strainer
Only sifts powder 1 to 2 cups at a time
For the best, smoothest, and most consistent matcha, sifting clumps out of the powder is an important step before whisking it with water. Several different tools exist for this step, and while sieves specially designed for this purpose (chakoshi) and imported from Japan exist, they can be expensive. A simple and low-cost strainer will do the job just as well. This miniature, stainless steel, fine-mesh strainer can be used for sifting out large lumps directly into a matcha bowl. (Using the flat bottom of a bamboo matcha scoop helps with this process.)
An added benefit is that this is a multipurpose kitchen tool that can also be used for steeping and straining loose-leaf teas, sifting powdered sugar over desserts, straining liquid, rinsing ingredients, and countless other cooking tasks.
Price at time of publish: $7
Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 8.25 x 3 x 1.5 inches | Weight: 0.8 ounces
Best Matcha Sifter
Ippodo Matcha Sieve (Burui)
Sifts multiple portions of matcha powder
Doubles as a storage container
Can't be cleaned with water; not rust-proof
A simple mini sieve works well for sifting lumps out of matcha powder when you’re making just one or two cups, but if you want to prepare several servings at a time, a traditional "burui" can come in handy. This small tin canister has a built-in, fine-mesh sieve for sifting clumps out of matcha powder and comes with a small bamboo spatula for pushing the powder through the sieve. As an added bonus, the tin doubles as a storage container for matcha powder, protecting it from light and air.
Price at time of publish: $18
Material: Tin | Dimensions: 2.7 x 2/7 x 3.3 inches | Weight: Not specified
TEANAGOO Japanese Tea Set
Bowl is microwave safe
Makes a great gift
Components are not top-quality
Tools are not dishwasher safe
Buying all of your matcha tools and accessories separately can quickly add up, so a complete set is a practical and cost-effective way for beginners to get started. This comprehensive set includes almost everything you need to have a Japanese tea ceremony at home. The ceramic matcha bowl is nearly 5 inches wide—broad enough for easy whisking. It's an attractive light-green color (it's also available in white) with a crackle-patterned finish. A matching ceramic whisk holder and tea caddy are included as well as a bamboo chasen whisk, bamboo scoop, and small ceramic stand upon which you can rest the scoop to avoid dirtying your tabletop. The tea caddy has an airtight-sealed lid, so it’s great for storing small amounts (up to 18 grams) of matcha powder.
The set also includes a fine-mesh metal sifter for removing clumps from matcha powder, a tea cloth for wiping out the matcha bowl and cleaning up spills, and a bamboo tray. The tray features padded feet on the underside to protect your tabletop from scratches.
While the individual items are not of the best quality, overall it’s a good value for so many pieces and a great initiation set for matcha newbies. It would make a terrific gift for a matcha fan.
Price at time of publish: $57
Materials: Bamboo, ceramic and cotton | Number of Pieces: 10 | Included: Bamboo whisk, bamboo tea tray, bamboo scoop, ceramic bowl, ceramic whisk holder, ceramic scoop stand, cotton tea cloth, tea cloth base, matcha powder sifter, ceramic tea canister
Whether you're new to matcha or a long-time fan, Toiro Kitchen's Takayama Chasen is a wonderful accessory to own. It's sturdy, hand-crafted, and smoothly blends matcha powder to make delicious drinks. As a more affordable alternative, the Haru Matcha Golden Bamboo Whisk is also a reliable option.
What to Look for in a Matcha Whisk
Although some plastic matcha whisks are available, bamboo is the traditional and best material. It’s delicate and will give the best results. Look for a whisk made in Japan from natural bamboo.
The more prongs or bristles a whisk has, the finer they will be, making it easier to make a smooth and foamy bowl of matcha. You can find chasen that offer a string count anywhere between 16 and 120. The higher the number, the easier it is to whisk the tea powder into the water and create the soft peak of foam. In general, beginners should look for a whisk that has around 70 prongs.
Matcha chasen whisks come in many different shapes as well. Beginners should look for a chasen with curled tips, as they will be easier to use for creating foam than a whisk with straight prongs or tines. After you wet the whisk for the first time and begin to use it, its shape will naturally begin to open up and change. That doesn’t necessarily indicate a poor-quality whisk as that’s a normal part of the process, but using a whisk holder will help the whisk to keep its gently rounded shape.
What is matcha?
Matcha is a variety of green tea that's easy to identify because of its vivid color and the powder form in which it's sold. With most teas, the tea leaves are steeped in water and removed before drinking; with matcha, however, customers actually ingest the leaf itself. Matcha is known for its rich umami flavor, but it may have other tasting notes like sweetness, bitterness, grassiness, earthiness, nuttiness, and more.
Matcha is highly versatile and can be used for drinking purposes as well as a cooking ingredient. As a result, matcha is split into two categories: ceremonial grade and culinary grade. The former is best for tea and lattes, while the latter is better for recipes and baked goods.
Michelle Puyane, the co-founder of Chalait broke down the differences for us. "Ceremonial grade is picked by hand and tends to yield a sweeter-tasting tea," she said. For culinary grade, the leaves are harvested later in the season and ground with more heat, giving the powder a darker color and extra bitterness. This lets culinary-grade matcha "stand up to the strong flavors in milk, butter, and sugar" when cooking.
Why is a matcha whisk necessary?
Matcha powder does not dissolve in water, so it must be whisked together with water to form a smooth and velvety drink. Using a fork or spoon will leave you with clumps of powder and bits of powder clinging to the sides of your tea bowl or cup. Using a metal whisk will work slightly better, but still will not fully incorporate the powder.
If you prefer foamy matcha, only a traditional bamboo matcha whisk can give the layer of fine bubbles on top that a perfectly prepared cup of matcha will have.
How long does a matcha whisk last?
A decent-quality matcha whisk, when handled and stored with care, can last for up to six months, depending on how often it’s used, while a high-end matcha whisk can last for several years.
Soaking the prongs of the whisk in warm water before using it, rinsing it well after use, and then air drying and storing it on a matcha whisk holder after use will help to prolong its lifespan. Whisks with more prongs are more delicate and more prone to breakage.
Is a matcha bowl necessary?
No, it’s not strictly necessary to use a traditional chawan, or matcha bowl, to prepare and drink matcha, but it is best to use a bowl of a similar shape and size. A bowl that’s about 4.5 to 5 inches in diameter, with a wide base and sides that are high enough to prevent matcha from splashing out as you whisk, will make it easier to prepare the matcha properly so that it’s smooth and clump-free.
We asked Michelle Puyane, the co-founder of Chalait, what tools are needed to make matcha. While certain accessories make the process easier and can improve the quality of your matcha, Puyane told us you can make a solid cup with relatively little. "I get a lot of questions like, 'How do I make matcha at home?' 'Do I need special tools—a bowl, a whisk?'" she said. "When it comes down to it, you can make matcha in a protein shaker if you wanted to."
Does matcha powder contain caffeine?
Yes, matcha naturally contains caffeine. It's possible to purchase decaf matcha, but the majority of options are caffeinated. A serving of matcha (about 2 grams) contains 40 to 70 milligrams of caffeine on average.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This article was written by Danette St. Onge, a food writer and former editor at Cook’s Illustrated magazine (part of America’s Test Kitchen). A tea enthusiast, she has been fascinated by matcha culture and traditions ever since experiencing traditional tea ceremonies for the first time in Kyoto.
Devorah Lev-Tov, who updated this article, has co-authored three books and edits both cookbooks and lifestyle books for several publishers. She has bylines in The New York Times, Saveur, and more.
This piece was edited by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He has interviewed matcha experts, tested a variety of matcha powders, and researched the history, cultivation process, and different grades of matcha.
For this article, Danette interviewed Ruriko Yamakawa, a certified instructor of the Omotesenke school of Japanese tea tradition. She teaches courses in Japanese tea culture in New York City as well as online through the Nippon Club.
Michelle Puyane is the co-founder of Chalait. Established in 2015, the company has three cafes in New York City and sells its collection of matcha powders online.