Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What you need for making Japanese tea

A Japanese-tea beginner asked me for an advice for basic tea wares to start preparing Japanese tea. He or she is looking for proper utensils for this. Today, I’ll introduce what you need and some tips to choose your first Japanese tea set.

Let me state an example scenario for a beginner. Suppose that you want to enjoy tea by yourself or with your partner. You may sometimes want to serve tea for guests. *As I wrote on the previous posts, I would like to recommend sencha for the first Japanese tea. So I think the tea wares for sencha will be good for the first tea set. It will be very ideal if the tea wares can be also applicable to other teas, in case you might want to explore more of the Japanese tea. So, here I will introduce a tea set mainly for individuals or couples and good for sencha brewing.

 Essential items

Teapot - Simple classic Japanese teapot; kyusu (side-handle type)
Size: around 200ml (7oz)
Strainer: mounted fine-mesh ceramic strainer
Production region: Tokoname
I would like to explain the details in a future post.

Tea cup × 2pcs - Regular sencha-cup
Size: about 70ml at practical use (not full capacity)
Material: toki (ceramic) or jiki (porcelain), but avoid thin porcelain
A bowl-shaped cup is called sencha-cup or kumidashi-cup. Cylinder-shaped cup is called yunomi-cup. Personally, I think that the sencha-cup is more sophisticated than the younomi cup, which would be better to use if you are serving tea for guests. Thin porcelain cups are usually regarded as a high-quality cup, but here we want a wide application as your first cups. Thin porcelain cups have a high thermal conductance, so they are not really good for hojicha, bancha, and genmaicha which is usually prepared in boiling water.

Saucer × 2pcs - Wooden round saucer
Japanese saucers do not come in the same design with a cup like that of the western tea sets. Wooden rounded saucers are often used for Japanese tea. The sound when you put a cup on a wooden saucer is different from the sound on a porcelain saucer. It is gentle and you will appreciate it. You can choose any design with your taste. We don’t always use saucers for casual tea at home, but now we are expecting a situation using this tea set for serving tea for guests, so it’s better to have one in your tea set.

 Other items

Tea caddy
Any light-proof and air-tight container is good. However if it is Japanese designed caddy, it will be better. Japanese caddy will enhance your tea set more.
Capacity: around 100g tea leaves

Tea spoon
You can estimate well the amount of leaves by using a same spoon always when you prepare tea.

Water cooler
High-quality Japanese tea is usually prepared with warm water. Even you need the warm water, you should always boil the water first, and then you let it cold to the desired temperature you want. Water cooler is best used in order to make the hot water, cool much faster

Waste-water receptacle
I personally don’t use a waste-water receptacle much. But it will be helpful to have a waste-water receptacle at the side of your table when you serve tea for guests. You don’t have to leave the table every time you want to throw waste-water and leaves away.


  1. Utensils simple and beautiful.

    Many of elegance and sobriety.

    Very clean.

    Best Regards.

    . PHILIPPE .

  2. Thanks!
    I'm flattered ♪( ´▽`)

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