I did an experiment on preparing a bowl of matcha with a 100-tine whisk (A) and the other one with 70-tine whisk (B). In the previous entry, I mentioned that lately I prefer a fewer-tine whisk for its easy handling and better grip. I wanted to focus on how the number of tines can affect frothing and the taste this time.
I used 1.7 grams of matcha and 50ml of water for a standard usucha, thin tea. I gently whisked both of them with the same speed of stroke for 20sec to attain a moderate amount of foam.
Here is what I realized: when whisking, I found the whisk “B” gentlier to mix in the tea bowl. The whisk “A” is larger in size and bulky so it limits the range of your stroke. It is not a big deal really but it’s good to be aware of it when you choose a whisk. I got a thin layer of foam on both of the surfaces. “A” has a slightly more foam and it is wholly covered. You can still see the surface partially on “B” forming a little circle. Finesse of each bubble is pretty much the same, but with a closer observation, you can tell that the foam in “A” is a little finer. Consecutively, I didn’t find significant differences on their taste. They have similar textures and flavor. To further contain my wonderings, I sifted the tea before the mixture so I didn’t find any lumps or residues at the bottom of each tea after drinking.
Now I think that you don’t have to be so picky about the whisk with preparing usucha with moderate foam. You may find a little difference on ease of handling and frothing, but you definitely will not find a significant difference on taste.
I started to wonder if there is any difference for well-whisked usucha with a lot of foam. I did another round of test for it. It’s exiting but I will talk about it on the next entry.