Matcha tea bowl and "brush"?
I hope I am posting this to the right board.
My friend knows that I love teas and just bought be a matcha bowl and wood broom looking thingy. I have never tried matcha and I am at a loss for how to use my new gift. It looks so pretty though!
Is there anyone that can explain how to prepare matcha using this?
Re frothing with the wooden brush - I used to have a hard time with this until someone explained that the trick is to move your hand as fast as you possibly can (I used to stir too slowly and never got the proper froth). The tea bowl makes sense in that context since if you put the matcha and the water into a traditional tea cup there wouldn't be enough room to move your hand very quickly. Hope that helps!
Incidentally, it's traditional to have something sweet with matcha. Mochi are quite typical, but a cookie or some chocolate would not be bad.
As an alternative, one of my pals who's a hardcore Japanese tea ceremony guy also suggests making matcha in warm sake instead of water.
What a very special gift! Matcha is not traditionally a "havacuppatea" tea. It is a very special tea that is the heart of chanoyu, the Japanese (Zen) tea ceremony. Use any search engine and look up "chanoyu" or "Japanese tea ceremony" and you'll get a gazillion hits. But for heaven's sake, do not think that the Youtube videos of huge crowds in Japanese malls watching a performed tea ceremony is what it's all about.
Many of the websites on chanoyu will tell you how the tea is traditionally brewed. Try approximating it as close as you can with what you have so far. Then, if you find it interesting, most large cities in the U.S. (and all in Japan) have tea ceremony societies that you can join. Match isn't for lemon or milk with sugar. It's a very different kind of tea, and in this stressful world we live in, the meditative ceremony that traditionally goes with it ain't all that bad either...!
Enjoy! You have a very special gift. Oh, and if you decide you want to add to your utensiles, here's a website where they specialize in them:
re: lemon, milk and sugar -- Actually the vast majority of teas aren't intended to be taken with lemon, milk or sugar.
Matcha is very different from most teas because it's prepared as a emulsion rather than an infusion. But the meditative aspects are common to many teas in East Asia (despite differences in the tea ceremony), where tea culture and Buddhism developed quite closely.
However, I would suggest perhaps you visit a local tea shop with experienced personnel, who might be able to guide you through the process and give you a few tips. (I am from Montreal, and one tea shop I have in mind even has classes/seminars about tea)