skilfautdire wrote:When I see a chawan for $1000 I find it very ridiculous on all aspects except perhaps the one of making an art collection. To drink matcha I use an IKEA bowl of the right size and that's it. I use a simple chasen because nothing comparable can be found in kitchen stores. If it was possible to whisk it good with a common tool (not an electric frother) then I'd do it.
Sure you can do that, nobody is stopping you. But this braggadocio regarding your ghetto utensils... is that meant to be some kind of statement? (please note that I'm using a general "you," not targeting any particular statement. The quote is simply a springboard statement.)
Of course, each to his own, but just as different shaped glassware can have a profound effect on wine, so too the various utensils used in preparation of matcha (not talking about the ceremony, just simple prep,) are designed specifically to be optimal for that preparation.
It seems we readily acknowledge the superiority of a chasen over any western tool that could be substituted, so why is there such resistance to acknowledging the superiority of the chashaku? Or why do some behave as though it's a badge of honor to use a mixing bowl or a dog dish, instead of one of the many options in chawan?
I once knew a lady who loved to cook. She had enough money, she had a nice home, drove a nice car, and otherwise showed a certain willingness to pay for nice items. But she insisted that she would never upgrade her kitchen utensils, pots and pans, because the ones she had were "perfectly serviceable." She cooked everything in old heat-warped teflon pans from BiMart, chipped baking pyrex, ancient aluminum pastry pans. She used the oldest, most disgusting stained wooden spoons that were splintering and chipping, her plastic spatulas were melted, and her knives were made of exceedingly cheap materials and could not hold an edge.
She seemed inordinately proud of the fact that she could "cook anything without wasting her money on fancy cookware." Having tried to always use tools that were more than adequate to the task, I was dismayed to try assisting in meal prep, and discover knives that wouldn't cut, pans that couldn't hold an even temperature across their entire cooking surface, baking dishes that were potentially dangerous (did you know that chipped pyrex loses integrity and can be prone to explosion when heated and cooled rapidly?)
It always seemed to me that her insistence on using these things, rather than advancing her culinary arts by employing the proper tools, was far less about "wasting money," and more about her sense of pride and her belief that those of us who spend for advanced tools are foolish, pretentious fops.
I don't meditate when I drink matcha, I simply enjoy making it and drinking it. I love it that my tools are ideally suited to the task, and I love that my chawan seem particularly designed to enhance the experience, both tactile and visual. I love that my matcha tastes different in various chawan, better than I ever remember it tasting in my white Ikea cooking bowl that I used in the beginning.
In the beginning.
Personally, I recommend that people start in just that way. Why waste your money on something so unusual until you know if you like it? My husband HATES matcha. If he had purchased chawan, chasen, chashaku before trying it, that would absolutely have been an unfortunate waste of resources. On the other hand, we both like a serving of fine scotch or other handcrafted liquor. We have good quality snifters, highball, rocks and martini glasses, and good beer and wine glassware. Sure, we absolutely could drink our fine scotch out of a plastic dixie cup. You might argue: same liquor, same taste. I disagree.
So if it's your point of pride that you do and will always use cheap substitute utensils, great! I simply find bragging about it misplaced and ill-informed.