A chasen is a bamboo matcha whisk used to prepare matcha tea. A chasen allows you to froth up a bowl of matcha tea while breaking apart clumps. They are hand-carved from a single piece of bamboo and come in many variations like the type of bamboo they are made from, the number of prongs, the thickness of the bamboo, the length of the bamboo, the color of the thread that is woven around the bottom of the prongs, and so on. Different schools of chanoyu prefer certain styles of matcha whisks and use them depending on the particular kind of tea or tea-preparation style for which it is to be used.
The "Number" represents the approximate number of prongs per whisk. You can find matcha whisks being sold that offer a prong 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. The lower the number, the longer it will take to whisk. The thinner the tea (Usucha), the higher the prong count required to produce a thick, velvety foam. As such, lower prong count whisks are used for thick tea (Koicha).
For the casual matcha tea drinker, a reasonably priced matcha whisk is a must. If you will be using your matcha whisk for both koicha and usucha teas, an intermediate prong count is best. We recommend the Tsuneho 64-prong matcha whisk. However, if you will be using your matcha whisk mostly for usucha (thin tea), more prongs will be needed to ensure evenly mixed matcha and frothy foam. Here, we recommend the Hyakunijupponate 100-prong matcha whisk.
The shape of both these matcha whisks are made according to Urasenke standards with the tips of the prongs curled inward.