Casual Japanese Tea Ceremony: Using Chasen・Chashaku・Natsume

Casual Japanese Tea Ceremony


We will show you how to make a delicious bowl of thin green tea(薄茶)at home. All you need is a chasen (tea whisk), chashaku (tea scoop), and natsume (tea container). This is not an official tea serving procedure, but is free-form tea serving methods. As for utensils, a luncheon mat instead of a tray and an electric kettle instead of a kettle are all you need to make a delicious cup of matcha. 


Sift the Green Tea Powder 

  • Sift the green tea powder prior to putting it in the tea container. This is recommended so that you can avoid having lumps in your tea.
  • If you are using an authentic “natsume” tea container, there is a certain shape you would like to create using the tea powder inside the tea container, which another reason you would like to sift your tea powder. 
  • Items you can use to sift the green tea powder are a tea strainer, a small bowl, and a spoon. 
  • Make sure you use a paper towel or tissue under the bowl to avoid making a mess on your table.

Put Tea Poder into Natsume

  • Once the tea powder is sifted, you can start putting it inside the “natsume” tea container. If you do not have “natsume” at home, use a small container with a lid. 
  • Make sure you wash your hands before touching the “natsume”. You would like to avoid leaving fingerprints.   
  • A metal spoon is acceptable when putting the tea powder in the “natsume”, however, since the “natsume” tea container often has a lacquer coating, you may want to use a wooden spoon to prevent any scratches caused by the metal spoon. 
  • When putting the green tea powder, you can rotate the natsume tea container in your hand so that the powder can spread evenly inside. 
  • Try to lift the “natsume” from the table while doing so in order to avoid rubbing the bottom of the “natsume” against the table. 
  • The green tea powder needs to be filling up to about two-thirds of the container. 
  • In the Chado world, we try to form a round mountain shape with the tea powder inside the “natsume” tea container. 
  • We also try to make the tea powder to look as smooth as possible. 
  • Therefore, once you put enough green tea powder in the tea container, you can put the container down, scoop a small amount of green tea powder from the bowl at a time and tap the spoon gently on top of the container to let the powder trickle from the spoon.       
  • When you are satisfied with the look of the green tea powder inside the “natsume” tea container, use a soft tissue paper to gently wipe the rim of the tea container to clean.    

Warm the tea bowl and moist the tea whisk 

  • As part of the preparation for making a good bowl of green tea, you would also like to warm the tea bowl and moist the tea whisk.
  • Pour some hot water into the tea bowl
  • Pick up the tea whisk and rinse it inside the tea bowl with a back and forth motion.
  • Tea bowls are made with clays.
  • When it is dry, it can absorb water if you do not wet the tea bowl before whisking green tea inside. 
  • The bowl will absorb the green tea and it can result in making stains.
  • Also, green tea is best when served warm.
  • So warming the tea bowl prior to whisking the green tea is helpful.
  • After emptying the tea bowl, you can use a clean towel or paper towel to wipe the
  • tea bowl.
  • Wetting the tea whisk allows the dry bamboo bristles to get softer and more flexible when whisking the tea.

Making a bowl of thin tea

  • Now let us move on and make a bowl of thin tea.
  • Take the spoon with your right hand and pick up the tea container with your left hand.
  • Bring the tea container close to the tea bowl at its nine o’clock position.
  • Open the lid of the container and place the lid in front of the tea bowl.
  • Adjust the way you hold the spoon and scoop green tea powder twice from the tea container into the tea bowl.
  • The total amount of the green tea powder per tea bowl is about 2 grams.
  • Gently tap the rim of the tea bowl with the bamboo tea scoop close the lid with your right hand.
  • Put the natsume back to the original position.  Put the bamboo tea scoop back.
  • Lift the tea bowl with your right hand, transfer to your left hand and bring it under the dispenser and pour hot water from the pot.
  • Place the bowl down with your right hand.
  • Take the whisk with your right hand.
  • Secure the bowl with your left hand from the top and start whisking the tea with
  • a rapid back and forth motion inside the tea bowl.
  • Once the green tea powder is mixed well with hot water and there is froth on top lift the whisk slightly up to brush the surface of the tea.
  • This will make the froth finer.
  • Make a circular motion with a whisk inside the table before taking it out.
  • Now the tea is ready to be served.
  • Pick up the tea bowl with your right hand and rotate the tea bowl on your left palm twice clockwise so that the center of the tea bowl faces your guest.
  • Serve the tea.
Let's share this post !