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The picture above is a machine used by Japanese incense companies to powder ingredients. It pulverizes the materials instead of grinding them in an electric powder mill. This keeps the material from being overheated and losing aromatic integrity. This is very important because materials like Sandalwood will lose some ranges of aroma entirely, as well as generally weakening the overall aroma.
There are a couple of methods you can use at home that work well. One is the Mexican culinary Molcajete (shown below)
Another way is using a hand crank coffee mill like the one shown below.
Sometimes you can find ingredients already powdered. Ingredients like Clove, Cassia, (Cinnamon) Spikenard, etc. can be obtained from Spice and Ayurvedic herb suppliers. Cassia is usually called "Vietnamese Cinnamon" and you should look for one with 4% oil content or better. Some Baieido incense retailers stock some of these ingredients.
For more information on Japanese Incense you will want to visit the Japanese-Incense.com website.
© Copyright — David Oller 2000-2002