Monday, February 14, 2011

Japanese teapot for starters

On the previous post, “What you need for making Japanese tea” I have recommended a small teapot to make Japanese tea for starters.

Simple classic Japanese teapot; kyusu (side-handle type)
Size: around 200ml (7oz)
Strainer: mounted fine-mesh ceramic strainer
Production region: Tokoname

I suppose you prepare sencha for single or a couple of servings in most occasions. I chose this type of teapot because it is suitable for the said situation. We also can’t disregard its versatility for you can also brew other kinds of tea in it. I am not saying this is the only suitable teapot, and you have other options as well. But let me talk about some reasons why I recommend it.


Kyusu-type (side-handle or back-handle teapot)
The teapots with a handle have more versatility than those without a handle. They can brew hojicha, bancha and genmaicha which are prepared with boiling water. When you brew tea with boiled water, the teapots can get too hot to hold if they didn't have a handle.


Size: around 200ml (7oz)
Smaller teapots are better for gyokuro, and the bigger ones are better for casual teas. I think that the small-sized teapot is big enough for serving a couple, and you don’t want a big unhandy teapot. One regular serving for sencha is about 70ml (2.5oz), so about 200ml (7oz) is a good size. What do you think?


Strainer: mounted fine-mesh ceramic strainer
All kinds of strainer has both merits and demerits. Basket-type strainers are not good for preparing a small amount of tea. I think ceramic strainers make more delicious tea than stainless strainers. Regular-mesh ceramic strainer is coarse for deep-steamed sencha. So I think a fine-mesh ceramic strainer is the most versatile and good for both sencha and deep-steamed sencha, and other teas.


Production region: Tokoname
It doesn’t have to be a Tokoname ware. But there are two reasons why I recommend it. The first reason is that Tokoname is a major region for teapot production and their productions have certain qualities. So, it is easier for you to look for a Tokoname teapot from a wide selection than a teapot from minor regions. The second is that Tokoname teapots (yakishime type) can brew delicious tea than teapots made of other materials. Please refer to the last post about it.

If you want to start making Japanese tea and are looking for a teapot, why don’t you try the teapot I introduced? The teapot shown in the pictures here is available for sale at our shop, Everyone’s Tea.

11 comments:

  1. I'm so happy with this kyusu that I made a positive review in my blog. Have a nice tea!!

    Lorenzo

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    1. Lorenzo-san, Thank you introducing our pot on you blog! I cannot read your language but I saw the nice photos of the teapot you took.

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  2. Is this teapot glazed or unglazed on the inside? I'm concerned that it would be adversely affected by different kinds of tea.

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    1. Hi, thank you for leaving your comment. This teapot is not glazed. The clay might absorbs odor. If you are very sensitive with smell, it might be better to limit the kinds of tea that you brew with this pot.
      I wanted starters to focus on enjoying tea causally so I didn’t mention too much details. But you are right that there might be some adversely affects. Actually, I use this tea pot to brew sencha, kabusecha and gyokuro and I use other pots for hohicha and genmaicha which have different smell from the former three. Enjoy your tea!

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  3. Thank you for answering! I'm actually thinking of getting this teapot for my newly married sister and brother-in-law. I don't know very much about tea, but would they be able to use it for any variety of green tea? (Are kabusecha and gyokuro green teas? Have you noticed that the different flavors affect each other?) They like experimenting, so they might like to try different green teas. Again, thanks!

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    1. Congratulations on the marriage of your sister!
      I personally don’t have any problem brewing sencha, kabusecha, and gyokuro with the pot. Kabusecha and gyokuro are kind of green tea which is similar to sencha. Hojicha and genmaicha (also green tea) have distinctive aroma, so I don’t use this pot for these tea. However, I think that beginners don’t have to be so picky about the kind of tea that you brew with this pot. You can try various Japanese green tea with it. As you get experienced, you will naturally know what kind of pot you want next, such as a smaller tea pot for gyokuro or lager one for hojicha. Until then, this teapot can help you to explore Japanese tea.
      If you are very worried about capturing other orders. It is better to choose a glazed porcelain teapot. Each material has advantage and disadvantage. Glazed porcelain doesn’t absorb smell but the flavor of brewed tea is poor. Unglazed ceramic might limit the kinds of tea that you want to brew but it can brew delicious tea. If you want to enjoy any kind of tea without worrying about smell and if it is a gift for somebody, porcelain will be a safer choice. If you want to get into Japanese tea seriously or if you know your sister is interested in Japanese tea, I’ll definitely recommend an unglazed one. The flavor of teas brewed with porcelain and unglazed pot will differ. I have actually tried compering the same gyokuro prepared with a porcelain and an unglazed one. The tea brewed with porcelain had strong bitter taste. The tea with the unglazed pot had mellow and well-balanced flavor. The edgy bitterness has gone and I could enjoy sweet umami flavor.

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    2. Thank you so much! This has been very helpful! I won't have to decide until Christmas season, but I'll probably choose unglazed!

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  4. Hello Kohei !

    I'm just starting to explorer Japanese green tea and I found this article very helpful (Thank you very much for that)!
    I looked on the Internet and I found two teapots that I like ( http://www.yuuki-cha.com/teaware/japanese-teapots/kushime-fukamushi-tokoname-teapot & http://www.yuuki-cha.com/teaware/japanese-teapots/mogake-tokoname-teapot ) but they priced very differently (2400 JPY and 6000 JPY).
    Could you please give me your advise on it, which one would you buy ?
    Thank you very much!

    Denys

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    1. I would choose the 6000yen teapot.
      2400 pot
      - I guess it is probably made by molding.
      - Stainless strainer
      6000 pot
      - I guess it is probably made with a turning wheel.
      - Ceramic strainer
      First reason to choose the 6000yen one is that it is handmade with a turning wheel. I simply prefer wheeled crafts than molded pieces. The other reason is the strainer. You can achieve faster and smoother pouring with metal-mesh strainer when preparing fukamushi-sencha. However, if you consider the taste, the pot with ceramic strainer can brew better tasted tea. The tea brewed with a teapot with a metal strainer will have a bit of metallic flavor. It is very little but if you are sensitive in taste, you might be able to tell it.

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    2. Hello Kohei!

      Thank you very much for answering me!
      I really needed suggestion from an experienced person.
      Thanks again.

      Denys

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