I saw matcha prepared in a cup at a blog written by someone overseas. I think a cup is too small to prepare matcha. Today I would like to talk about the size of tea bowls. In Japan we use a tea bowl to prepare matcha. It is called chawan, sometimes o-chawan or matcha-jawan. It is a vessel to make matcha, to drink matcha from and to appreciate as an art. Tea bowls have to be of certain size to move a bamboo tea whisk in it. So, tea bowls are much larger than regular sencha-cups.
There are various designs for tea bowl. I measured the diameter of the tea bowls I have. The four tea bowls at the front row were something between 12.2 and 15.2 cm, which is 4.8 - 8.98in. The three cups on the back side are too small for preparing matcha. Even the mug doesn’t have an enough space to move the whisk. If you can’t whisk well, you might get lumps of matcha and the tea won’t taste good.
If you are looking for a substitution of a tea bowl, look for a bowl with a diameter larger than 12cm (4.72in). The shape of bowl affects ease of whisking, and you can’t tell good or bad only by the diameter. However the diameter of the tea bowl can be one of your guides if you are looking for the substitution. The white bowl in the picture below is an ordinary bowl that can be used in many ways; rice, meal or soup. Something like that could be the substitution.
Matcha is prepared with about 60ml (2.1oz) water. So the tea in a tea bowl looks very little. When I had a bowl of matcha for the first time, I remember that I wondered as a kid why the tea is so little. Now I still don’t know the reason. You need a big bowl to move the whisk in it perhaps or it might have other reasons. Now I got used to the amount of tea and the bowl size, and I think it should be the way it is. I hope you find a correct size of the tea bowl♪( ´▽｀)