From time to time, I hear about someone who is concerned over their chasen. The brand new $20 tea whisk they just bought is losing its shape after only a couple uses.
Is this you? If so, take a deep breath, it’s okay. 🙂
Chasen in Bloom
A brand new chasen will have a core that is twisted around, and tines that curl up at the end. However, after a few uses, the tines will straighten out, and the core will bloom. This is to be expected. The image below shows three chasen in various stages of use.
The whisk in the centre has never been used, the one on the left has been used only a few times, and the one on the right has been heavily used. (It’s important to note that the chasen on the left has less tines than the other two. Nonetheless, it illustrates the typical image of a whisk that has been used less than 10 times.)
Taking Care of Your Whisk
Fortunately, it is relatively simple to look after a chasen.
- The first thing you will need is a whisk keeper. Store your chasen on this device. It will help the bamboo tines keep their shape, prolonging its lifespan.
- Secondly, clean it after each use. Make sure it isn’t in contact with moisture for long periods of time. The bamboo can easily grow mold on it otherwise.
- Finally, be sure to inspect your chasen before each use for broken tines. More for your own safety, remove any broken parts before whisking, as accidentally drinking a piece of bamboo will not be a pleasant experience.
Wrapping it Up
In the Japanese tea ceremony, it is recommended to use a new chasen on each occasion. However, for casual tea drinkers like ourselves, it is much more economical to reuse. But when it is time to finally retire your whisk, what should you do with it? The forum has some interesting answers – check out the thread. 🙂