DōMatcha® > Blog > Blog Entry

Should You Invest in a Matcha Bowl?

May 01, 2024

Do you really need a fancy ceremonial matcha bowl to whip up a delicious cup of matcha? The answer is yes, and no. Matcha, as an ingredient can be easily adapted to what people have at home. The emerald-hued, green tea powder has been around for centuries, evolving with different environments and cultures. For example, in North America, many people are used to having electric frothing devices as opposed to a bamboo-crafted whisk. Or mugs instead of a ceramic matcha bowl. Regardless of what tools you use, you will still be reaping the abundant health benefits of pure matcha powder if you select one that’s of quality. But if you’re someone who is looking to have the most authentic experience, investing in a matcha bowl can be a wise choice. Taken care of properly, a matcha bowl can last a good length of time, while adding a decorative flair to your kitchen or living space. Think of it as fine china; you sure don’t need dainty, porcelain teacups to enjoy a cup of English Breakfast, but it sure feels nicer, doesn’t it?

Steeped in Tradition: The Allure of the Matcha Bowl

A matcha bowl, also known as a chawan, is steeped in tradition and symbolism. Originating from Ancient China and Japan, the matcha bowl is more than a vessel, but an artifact of history. During the Nawa period (8th century), Japan began receiving tea and ceramic tea bowls from Chinese monks. Eventually, the Japanese began to domestically cultivate tea leaves, as well as iterate on their own styles of chawan. In the early days, they made clay earthenware and ceramics over low heat. In the Heinan period (8th to 12th century), the use of glaze enamel began, which gives the chawan that smooth, glossy finish. Up until the Heinan period, tea was consumed by only religious figures and the elite for medicinal purposes. The elite also regularly enjoyed tea ceremonies with Chinese porcelain.

In the 13th century, we saw increased sophistication of the chawan, with the improvement of Japanese kilns and finer quality clay. We also saw tea culture evolve—tea began to become a normal domestic product and was widely consumed by the Samurai and promoted by tea masters such as Sen-no-Rikyu in the 16th generation. Sen-no-Rikyu is known for refining the art of tea ceremonies and associated accessories, such as the chawan, that is still in practice today.

The Tea Ceremony (Chanoyu)

The Japanese tea ceremony, or chanoyu, is also known as sadou, “way of tea.” DōMatcha®’s name is derived from such. Many people relate matcha to “zen”, or meditative qualities, and this actually has some merit behind it. During the Middle Ages, tea ceremonies became popular amongst Samurai, to help them reclaim a sense of peace and wellbeing to their often chaotic lives, especially amidst a civil war. Tea ceremonies were also performed during political negotiations to set a calmer atmosphere.

Every Bowl is Unique

The artistry and craftsmanship of matcha bowls make them objects of beauty in their own right. Handcrafted by skilled artisans, each bowl boasts unique patterns, textures, and glazes that elevate the visual appeal of your tea ritual. Whether adorned with intricate designs or boasting minimalist elegance, a matcha bowl adds a touch of sophistication to your kitchen or tea ceremony space.

The typical design used in tea ceremonies is called raku ware. This is made using a technique which quickly pulls the tea bowl out of the kiln when it’s very hot, and then letting it cool rapidly. The lightweight glazed earthenware is particularly prized because it’s moulded by hand, rather than thrown on a potter’s wheel. Raku ware bares strong semblance to the popular Japanese notion of ‘wabi sabi’ which embraces imperfections. You’ll notice that raku ware can be asymmetrical in shape and color.  Yet with generations of ceramic-making and improved technology, potters have more control than ever over the aesthetic requirements of the finalized product.

Other types of ceramic ware that arose from tea ceremonies are Shino-ware and Oribe. Shino ware originates from the Gifu Prefecture and is generally characterized by stone. It is identified by thick white glazes, red scorch marks, and small holes. Oribe-ware was named after a tea master and disciple of Sen no Rikyu, Furuta Oribe. It’s characterized by eccentric shapes and glazes in vibrant colors like coppered blue and green. Commonly, you’ll find hand-etched designs using iron-glaze, of scenes from nature.

The type of matcha bowl you decide to invest in strictly depends on personal preference. DōMatcha® partners will skilled Japanese artisans to produce ceremonial matcha bowls in three colors: Deep Ocean, Red Soul, and Branded Black.

Useful Functions of the Matcha Bowl

Everything from the shape to the material used in creating a matcha bowl is intentional and serves its purpose to help you enjoy the perfect sip of matcha each time.

Optimal Whisking Performance: The shape and depth of a matcha bowl are specifically designed to facilitate the whisking process. The wide, shallow profile of the bowl provides ample space for maneuvering the bamboo whisk (chasen) to achieve the perfect froth and consistency. Investing in a high-quality matcha bowl ensures that you can effortlessly whisk your matcha to creamy perfection, unlocking its full flavor potential with every sip.

Temperature Regulation: Matcha bowls are typically crafted from durable ceramic materials that retain heat effectively. This quality is particularly advantageous when preparing matcha, as it helps maintain the ideal temperature for whisking and drinking. The warmth of the bowl enhances the aromatic profile of the tea, releasing its delicate flavors and inviting you to savor every sip mindfully.

Cultivation of Mindfulness with Every Sip

Beyond its practical functions, a matcha bowl serves as a tangible reminder to cultivate mindfulness and intentionality in daily rituals. The act of preparing and savoring matcha encourages you to slow down, be present in the moment, and appreciate the simple pleasures of life. Investing in a matcha bowl is an investment in your well-being, fostering a deeper connection to yourself and the world around you through the mindful practice of tea drinking.

In conclusion, a matcha bowl is much more than just a vessel for preparing tea—it's a symbol of tradition, craftsmanship, and mindfulness. By investing in a matcha bowl, you not only elevate your tea-drinking experience but also immerse yourself in a centuries-old tradition that celebrates the art of living consciously.

culinary matcha, DoMatcha, Domatcha Benefits, health, high-quality matcha, l-theanine, Matcha, Matcha Benefits, organic matcha