Matcha Bowls and Whisks

Matcha Bowls and Whisks

Holding a Matcha bowl (chawan) in your hands and and raising it to your lips to sip a small portion of emerald green Matcha tea is a true delight. The bowl is large and the portion of tea is small, which follows the tradition of how one is served Matcha in Japan. Powdered tea drinking began in Japan in the 15th century and well-made tea bowls became valued objects of desire.

Today, Chanoyu – the Japanese tea ceremony – keeps the tradition alive. As a new generation of tea enthusiasts discover the delicious nature of Matcha, tea bowls continue to appeal to avid tea drinkers.

The beauty of a Matcha bowl lies beyond its colors, patterning, and seasonal designs. In Japan, collectors of Matcha bowls and tea enthusiasts choose their tea bowls based on the shape of the bowl, the straightness or slope of the sides of the bowl, the styling of the footring, the overall presence of the Matcha bowl on the tea table, and how the bowl relates to the other tea making objects in the grouping. All in all, the aesthetics of Matcha bowls vary from potter to potter, and for the user, the choice of which tea bowl to use for reflects a mood or seasonal occasion.

Matcha bowls are made in all of the famous pottery making areas of Japan. They are traditionally crafted from local clay that has been fired in low-fire wood or electric kilns that do not reach a high internal temperature. As such, Matcha bowls are softer in density and clay structure than porcelain tea wares (which are fired at a very high temperature and whose glaze has bonded with the clay to create a hard, durable piece.)

In Japan and Korea much attention is paid to the unique characteristics of handmade pottery, and this includes all of the variables that make a handmade piece unique. A drippy glaze, a slightly lopsided lip, a a finger mark in the glaze, etc, are examples of uniqueness. Handmade pottery has an appealing simplicity too, and often a rustic, uneven form and style. Pottery changes and ‘wears’ over time. It develops a patina and personality that adds beauty and individuality to the piece.

And Matcha bowls can develop glaze cracks, too, depending on the type of clay and the type of glaze the bowl has been given. Cracks that are only in the glaze (as opposed to cracks in the actual clay body) do not leak or weaken the vessel and are held in high regard by tea drinkers and potters. It is the ‘voice of the clay’ speaking, and the piece contributing some ‘self-patterning’ to the appearance. No two pieces of pottery can ever be exactly the same when the glaze develops distinguishing cracks from use.

 Owning a Matcha bowl requires thoughtful handling and careful use.  

Matcha bowls are not intended for use in a microwave or dishwasher. These tea bowls are meant to be simply rinsed and air-dried after use. Using Matcha bowls for tea other than powdered green tea can result in introducing water to the bowl that is too hot – this will encourage more glaze cracking to develop.

Please be aware that some footrings on Matcha bowls are not glazed and some exposed clay is rough. While footrings such as these are considered desirable, one should take care to protect wooden table surfaces, countertops, and stainless-steel surfaces from becoming scratched.

All of our Matcha bowls are made in Japan.

Vintage Matcha Bowls

lleaf2How to Whisk a Bowl of Matcha