new to matcha...? about bowls


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new to matcha...? about bowls

Postby go green » Oct 27th, '07, 21:29

I am new to the board as well as to the world of tea outside of "over the counter" bags. I would like to try matcha as I really like green teas. My question is...do you have to use a matcha bowl? Is this the best way to get the full effect of the drink? Also, are the bowls always so expensive? I have searched the internet and have found kits ($60-90) and individual bowls for no less than $25. If anyone could help me on this subject, I would appreciate it. Thanks!!
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Postby Wesli » Oct 27th, '07, 22:02

Ahh, the matcha-dilemma.

First, you don't need the chawan(tea bowl). All you really need is a bowl of similar shape/size, and the chasen(tea whisk). Of course you'll need matcha too.
But, if I may, I will make one suggestion that I really recommend you follow.

Buy this matcha kit:
http://tinyurl.com/3bd9s9

It's from Ippodo tea shop, one of our most respected Japanese tea shops. It's also priced in Yen, but don't let that worry you, all the cool kids pay in yen. But not only is this kit quality, it's also the cheapest. Me and a few other Japanese tea-goers seriously recommend this kit to you.
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Postby Mary R » Oct 27th, '07, 22:13

Ippodo is a nice site, though you may feel like you have to go through the Spanish Inquisition just to make a purchase. The set Fatal refers you to retails at 3800 yen, which is about $33 USD. With shipping, that gets bumped to 5200 yen, which is about $45 USD. That's pretty reasonable for a matcha set, but still almost double the range you want.

If anyone asks, you didn't hear this from me...but you can make a very nice matcha using a small bowl or ramekin and a small whisk. That should be under $10 easy...under $5 if you're a shopper. If you're looking to get into matcha, there's nothing wrong with doing that to try it. Personally, I'd rather do that while saving up to get a matcha set I really liked rather than something cheaper.

I did google matcha sets, and about $26 was the the lowest I could find for a set...but I really didn't like them. They had shallow, curved bowls. You want something that is more ramekin-shaped...a flat bottom with sides coming up at almost a 90º angle. At the very least, you want a deep, curved bowl. It makes for an easier and more thorough (and neater) whisking job. In the $40 range, things started to look much, much better.

You can probably find a chasen for about $10 with shipping on eBay, and Japanese Green Tea Online has a nice, attractive bowl for under $20.
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Postby go green » Oct 28th, '07, 09:35

Thanks for the info...how do you pay at Ippodo if the prices are in yen? Do they automatically change the price to US dollars for you? And that is a good place to get quality matcha? I think that is where I will try it from. Also, what is their shipping charges like? Thanks again so much for helping!
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Postby Mary R » Oct 28th, '07, 11:29

If you pay by credit card, the MasterCard/Visa/Discover/American Express people will take care of it all for you. They don't really care what the currency is, so long as it's a legal tender. I think most of them will also give you the best exchange rate.

Debit cards may or may not be as easy. I tried to charge something from Russia once, and that bank promptly put a freeze on all of my accounts! Call your bank first...it's much easier than proving that you are you. But do you really want to use your debit card online?
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Postby go green » Oct 28th, '07, 12:17

Thanks for all the info...I just wish there was somewhere local that sold them...then I could by-pass the shipping. Has anyone ever seen them in any stores? I'm going to look through my local yellow pages for Japanese marts. Thanks!
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Postby Wesli » Oct 28th, '07, 12:39

Their matcha is the best deal I have found. I've only tried the two cheapest matchas, and I'm completely satisfied. If theres ever a good place to get your matcha staple, it's Ippodo.


The shipping is a tad expensive, here's their list:
https://shop.ippodo-tea.co.jp/shop/en/guide/shipping.vm
The prices are actually very reasonable. All my orders have gotten to me in 2-3 days, direct from Japan. When you consider that a lot of businesses located in the states take over a week to get your goods to you, and that 2 day shipping from them would cost twice as much as it would from Ippodo...
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Postby Wesli » Oct 28th, '07, 12:54

You should be careful when shopping in the Japanese marts. Their stuff may be very crudely made. I can pretty confidently tell you that they won't have any good matcha for sale. If you're determined, then take a good look at the chasen offered online so that you can spot it in a shop. The chasen is the whisk, and is the most important part in making matcha (besides the matcha itself).
There's lots of bad matcha out there, so watch out. But if you can't find the matcha locally, I would recommend getting everything online (from Ippodo).

Good luck!
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Postby go green » Oct 28th, '07, 13:55

Thanks a lot...I will definatly try Ippodo.
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Postby Wesli » Oct 28th, '07, 14:06

Glad I could help. Let us know how it all works out for you!
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Postby Chip » Oct 28th, '07, 19:51

This one is on my Christmas wish list for anyone who is wondering...pure gold leaf and Japanese maple leaf motif.

awesome chawan for 285 bucks
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Postby Trey Winston » Oct 29th, '07, 05:13

chip wrote:This one is on my Christmas wish list for anyone who is wondering...pure gold leaf and Japanese maple leaf motif.

awesome chawan for 285 bucks



Hmm, one might be converted to matcha just for the cool hardware...
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