Kyusu Size/Questions

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Abou
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Tue Nov 22, 2022 10:49 pm

I've recently gotten into wanting to learn how to brew Sencha/Gyokuro and have been struggling with the size that I should get. I was thinking of going for around 280-300ml, the only concern being if I do a smaller brew (100 ml) would this affect the taste? I'm also unsure of if I should go for a flat or wide one for general use(mostly sticking to Sencha/Gyokuro though).

I plan on using this as my go-to teapot for everything that I brew so it seems like glazed would be best(with a sasame filter). Lastly, I'm curious if you guys had any suggestions on where to buy one, I've seen websites like Artistic Nippon recommended but that's a bit out of my price range(80-90$ at most). I've also seen Hibiki-an/Tezumi recommended.

Any other general advice would be greatly appreciated, I've gone down the rabbit hole and am eager to learn more. Thanks!
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Victoria
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Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:04 pm

Welcome to TeaForum @Abou. For Japanese sencha and gyokuro a sasame filter would be ideal, works with most Japanese leaf sizes, although not absolutely a must. A shiboridashi, houhin and or ball filter kyusu can work as well. Wall filter can get clogged with very fine leaves, so takes some effort and skill. 150-200ml is a good in-between size, until you decide on specific smaller vessels for gyokuro and others for just for sencha. If you are reserving the pots for Japanese greens many Tokoname kyusu will work well, since most are thin walled and dense. I do though enjoy using glazed and porcelain Kyoyaki kyusu as well depending on the tea and my mood. You might look at this list of vendors, different price range vendors posted. viewtopic.php?f=20&t=1334

P.S. I often post my ‘industrial’ kyusu by Gyokuryu kiln: Mr Umehara Jiro, which I refer to as a Ferrari fast clean pour, due to its very large sasame filter and dense thin horizontal body. I think I bought it on eBay many years ago at a good price too, and I see there are some still available there 🍃

P.S.S For even more budget friendly reputable and safe to use thicker bodied solutions Den’s teas out of Southern California often has very reasonable end of year sales on Japanese kyusu and teas. I’d only go for the ceramic filter kyusu though, the metal mesh filters get clogged up often and can leave a metallic taste. A very nice family run operation.
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teatray
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Wed Nov 23, 2022 12:34 am

Something simple & glazed (or glass) is the usual recommendation, but if sencha is the focus, an unglazed tokoname pot is just as good, if not a better starting point. Small & light pots feel nicer and offer better temp control. I prefer around 200ml for versatility, brewing for 1 or 2; smaller for solo brewing.

Gyokko make some of the most affordable tokoname pots that are wheel-thrown by certified traditional craftsmen (also Umeharas, but unrelated to the above, as far as I can tell). You can find them below $80 in the US (a member here got one for $48 incl. delivery from Rishi Tea when using some welcome coupon, dunno if it's still available, price without is $68).
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debunix
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Thu Nov 24, 2022 9:41 am

Plenty of good advice above. I'm just going expand a little on what others have said about size.

When you're first getting into fine teas, it's easy to pick a pot that is larger than you ultimately are going to prefer, because you're not taking into account how many infusions you will get from that tea. The right size depends on how many people will normally be drinking tea together (just you, you and a regular companion, you and several people if you have a household of tea explorers), on how many infusions you like to prepare from a single tea, and on how much total liquid you prefer for a single session.

The pots I prefer for my morning sencha are 150 to 200 mL, because I want to be able to satisfy that morning thirst with three infusions when I'm in a hurry, but not be overwhelmed by the volume if I have more time to enjoy five or six infusions. Many others like their tea more concentrated than I do, and would not feel that fifth, sixth, or even seventh infusion is ever worth it.... but they may also be preparing the tea just for enjoyment, not to satisfy thirst, and a smaller tea pot might be adequate for three pleasing infusions. For drinking oolong or puerh in the afternoon or evening, I generally prefer smaller volumes because I'm going to do more infusions and it usually less about thirst--so those pots are smaller than my morning sencha pots.

The only pot that Den's tea currently lists with a ceramic filter is a great bargain at $48 but it is 12 ounces or about 350 mL. You can always use less water in a larger pot, and I don't think there's really any significant problem with the quality of the resulting tea, but I find that it takes a good deal of practice and discipline to stop pouring from the kettle at a consistent level that is much lower than the total volume of the pot. I can be very consistent when I'm pouring to a level near the capacity of my matched gaiwans for a comparative tea tasting, but it's just very hard for me when I'm trying to fill a larger pot 1/2 full over and over. I'm thankful that I'm lucky enough to have more than one pot so I can pick the size that matches my goals for a particular session.
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debunix
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Thu Nov 24, 2022 10:01 am

Here's a lovely Tokoname Gyokko pot with a ceramic filter:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/185593304493

and this is very like my largest sencha pot, a left-handed version by Shoryu:

https://www.artisticnippon.com/product/ ... moku6.html
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nasalfrog
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Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:13 pm

If you end up looking at pots on eBay sold by tokonamejp, you might check out their website (http://www.tokoname.or.jp/teapot/gallery.htm) and follow the directions under the “order” section to order via email.

It might give you more options within your budget. I recently obtained pot that way, and for me it was decently less expensive than purchasing through eBay.
Abou
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Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:19 pm

Thank you for the kind suggestions, it definitely helped with making a decision. I decided on getting this for now https://www.hibiki-an.com/product_info. ... ts_id/1262 . With the plan of potentially getting a smaller one for more specific brews. The design on it was just too beautiful to pass up.
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debunix
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Fri Nov 25, 2022 8:58 am

That is a lovely pot and should work very well to make fine tea.
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Baisao
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Wed Nov 30, 2022 12:36 am

I realize a decision has already been made but I’ll add my two cents for posterity.

My first kyusu cost me $120. I could not rationalize spending more on a teapot. I felt guilty for spending such a lavish amount on a teapot.

At first, I was floored with it but as I became better acquainted with Japanese greens I began to dislike the rough texture the clay contributed to the tea. It wasn’t (generally) neutral like a glazed teapot, lively like shudei, or smooth like some other clays. It produced a rough sensation on the palate and in the throat.

Not all inexpensive teapots will have unpleasant characteristics— and not all expensive teapots will have pleasant characteristics— but it taught me to research clays before purchasing a teapot.

That $120 teapot now goes unused. Buy once, cry once.
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