Monday, July 27, 2015

Solace of Tea

Things that can’t be experienced with teabags

I sometimes have premium green tea for a change. Gyokuro is not a tea to gulp down for thirst, but to savor its aroma and flavor. Not only do I enjoy drinking it but also its preparation. I pour the hot water into a yuzamashi water cooler, and wait till the water gets lukewarm. Meanwhile, I scoop lustrous deep-green leaves gently from the caddy, and put it into the pot. Then, I pour the water from the yuzamashi to the pot. Somehow, I do it in a careful manner. Maybe because I wish for it to be delectable as I pour. I put the lid on and wait calmly. It can be a nice restful change. I can refresh and feel more focused. It’s not anything pompous, but it feels nice to savor the moment in preparing tea.

Shiboridhashi and Hohin

There are two types of teapot suitable for premium tea. They are small pots without a handle; known as shiboridashi and hohin. The difference is that shiboridashi doesn’t have a strainer and hohin does. Here, I have two pots for example. As a matter of material and shape I have to say that flat yakishime pot has an advantage over non-flat porcelain pot. The tea brewed with yakishime has rich flavors with a good body of umami. The taste of porcelain tea is a bit shallow and washy. However, brewing with appropriate conditions is crucial. You need to adjust them depending on the teapot, something like less time for yakishime or more leaves with porcelain. If you practice it, you can brew delicious tea even with porcelain pots. It’ll be fun to discover the best mixture for your teapot.


Eligible items for Gyokuro

The right utensils help my tea time. Lately, I often use a shiboridashi and a yuzamashi. I don’t conclude that shiboridashi is the best, but I just fancy it. I like its easy-to-care design as well. Shiboridashi, which doesn’t have a strainer, makes it much easier to discard the tea dregs and wash it than ordinary kyusu pot. This works quite effectively on everyday handling. The yuzamashi helps to cool down the water fast and easy. I don’t have to wait for it in vain or hustle on transferring the water around here and there. Having the right utensils allows you to incorporate premium tea into your days. Why don’t you try a nice refreshment for your hectic life?

 Shiboridashi is avairable on my shop  >>>  Wabi-Iki Black Shiboridashi and Water Cooler

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Something More Significant than the Taste of Tea

Delightful Reception

Despite we are still in the rainy season, it was damn hot in these past few days. This Sunday, I went to Toki, Gifu for a thing that I look forward to every month. An ice block welcomed me, which I found at the entrance of the tea house. I was captivated by the delightful art work. It is the host’s consideration for guests to feel cool. It won’t help much to drop down the actual temperature physically but it gives a visual refreshment. The guests can feel coolness in their mind. I thought it was quite sophisticated.

Cool Even Though It’s Hot

In the tea room, as I wiped the sweat off my forehead, I listened to the host talking and watched her prepare. Another surprise was in the room. Usually, the lid of the water container is made of ceramic or wood but it was a dewy green leaf which was as large as a baseball glove. It looked fresh and cool. This can be another ingenuity to create a sense of coolness. Also, the chakin linen cloth came in the bowl which is filled with water. When the host picked up the chakin, the dripping water made a refreshingly cool sound. The cool rendition was provided even by sound.

Images on Google:
- The leaf lid 
- The chakin linen cloth in water

Preciousness in One-time Use

I have seen pictures of the leaf lids. However, this was my first time to see the actual performance. It must have been troublesome for the host in preparing the leaf from picking and cleaning it. I was curious how to handle the leaf in the ceremony. After taking off the lid, she folded it a few times. What surprised me was that she stab the folded leaf with its stem, probably not to open back. Wow, she is not going to use it again!? Then, she put it in the waste-water receptacle. I was impressed with the decisiveness of single-use. You might have an image that old and rustic utensils are appreciated in The Way of Tea. However, the value of freshness also receives recognition, and some of items made of bamboo or solid wood are meant for one-time use. Same goes with the leaf lid. The leaf was prepared just for us. I was thankful for the effort and hospitality of the host.

Not Only Tea but Sensuousness

This ceremony was a great example in practicing the concept of “Make it seem warm in winter, and cool in summer” which is one of the Seven Essentials of The Way of Tea by Rikyu. The host tried to provide the sense of coolness. It was held in Urasenke tradition and the leaf lid seems to be a special arrangement for summer. I was very much impressed and amazed by it. I wish that Omotesenke that I practice had this kind of procedure. Anyhow, what I experienced this month was the principle of chanoyu. The sensuous artifice or the consideration to your guests is what we should care about. It will be more crucial than the taste of tea. The solicitude will definitely enrich your tea and make it alluring.

Related link: The essentials: 4. Make it seem warm in winter, and cool in summer