Junzo Kobiwako vs. Tachi Shigaraki

swordofmytriumph
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Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:52 am

Hm, I might have to break out my Kobiwako again today. It has been sitting neglected because when I tried it out it brought out bitter in everything. Maybe I was just having an off day that day.
swordofmytriumph
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Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:22 am

Aaaand I was DEFINITELY having an off day when I tried out the Kobiwako. Wow. Makes it sooo much smoother. This particular sencha gets really bitter the second steep, but the Kobiwako just takes all that bitterness away!
Vanenbw
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Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:55 pm

Do you think the flavor of the sencha would be similiar in a Kobiwako houhin instead of a side handle pot?

And would it be okay to brew sencha or gyokuro in the same pot, or would it be better to use a dedicated pot for either?
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nasalfrog
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Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:36 am

Vanenbw wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:55 pm
Do you think the flavor of the sencha would be similiar in a Kobiwako houhin instead of a side handle pot?
If they were of similar size and shape, I would imagine they would brew almost identical. The hohin will likely pour faster than the kyusu. I have an Iga hohin by Junzo and a Kobiwako kyusu. The hohin pours faster.
Vanenbw wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:55 pm
And would it be okay to brew sencha or gyokuro in the same pot, or would it be better to use a dedicated pot for either?
It is ok to brew them in the same pot. If I would be buying a Kobiwako hohin to brew both sencha and gyokuro, I would go for a flatter-shaped one rather than a tall-shaped one... or maybe one in between if it will mostly be used for sencha.
Vanenbw
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Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:13 am

Thank you for the feedback, @nasalfrog. I was thinking about purchasing a smaller kyusu for my sencha and gyokuro, but then I saw some of the Kobiwako houhins on Hojo's site, and I thought I can probably use a houhin instead. I haven't tried gyokuro yet, so it's possible if I get into brewing gyokuro, I might eventually want a smaller shiboridashi. But since I am brewing only sencha lately, and I'm using a 360ml kyusu for just myself, I thought a houhin (150-160ml) should work nicely for sencha, since when I drink in my smaller cups, I'm usually drinking about 130ml or less anyway.

Here is one I saw on Hojo's site (160ml Kobiwako houhin).
k811 160ml.jpg
k811 160ml.jpg (55.42 KiB) Viewed 137 times
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nasalfrog
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Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:44 am

@Vanenbw You’re welcome, and that’s a nice one! I had been eyeing the 140ml one of similar shape, but I really don’t need another pot. It should work really well for asamushi sencha and also be good for gyokuro.
Vanenbw
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Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:53 am

Thanks. There can be much confusion when you are new to this, not knowing which kind of pot to purchase, or what size. It's such a delicate process. I still think my 360ml kyusu is overkill, even for my 9-10 oz cup of tea. But when I'm drinking a large cup like that, it does the job. I might eventually look into a 250-270ml, but there is no need to buy a new kyusu now.

It's when I'm drinking smaller cups of tea that I'm finding my kyusu is way too big. I think this houin might be a good fit for me. I can enjoy a slightly larger cup of 150ml of sencha, and a small 60ml cup of gyokuro. I think it's a good place to begin for drinking premium sencha and gyokuro. I can always look into a shiboridashi in the future, and I am sure I will. I'm very anxious to get my hands on one of these Junzo Kobiwako pots.
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Victoria
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Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:15 pm

Vanenbw wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:53 am
Thanks. There can be much confusion when you are new to this, not knowing which kind of pot to purchase, or what size. It's such a delicate process. I still think my 360ml kyusu is overkill, even for my 9-10 oz cup of tea. But when I'm drinking a large cup like that, it does the job. I might eventually look into a 250-270ml, but there is no need to buy a new kyusu now.

It's when I'm drinking smaller cups of tea that I'm finding my kyusu is way too big. I think this houin might be a good fit for me. I can enjoy a slightly larger cup of 150ml of sencha, and a small 60ml cup of gyokuro. I think it's a good place to begin for drinking premium sencha and gyokuro. I can always look into a shiboridashi in the future, and I am sure I will. I'm very anxious to get my hands on one of these Junzo Kobiwako pots.
Sounds like you are in the right track @Vanenbw, and that’s a nice houhin you’ve selected. By chance, I was just looking at Hojo’s available Kobiwako clay pieces, thinking I might like another one that does not drip at the lid :) . I like how the clay slightly thickens a brew, and it pairs perfectly with a kabusecha I’ve been enjoying from Kagoshima. From the form your houhin won’t drip when pouring, and you will like the clay a lot. For 350ml kyusu I just don’t fill all the way up. I’m happy with 150-200ml with sencha, and 80-100ml for gyokuro. If a kyusu is a little too large I just fill part way. Unlike oolong, that needs to stay very hot while steeping, sencha and gyokuro do well with cooler temperatures so only partially filling a kyusu is fine with Japanese greens.
Vanenbw
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Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:29 pm

Thank you, @Victoria. I'm happy with my kyusu, and although I have filled it to the top a few times, I usually only brew 130ml to 266ml in it. I probably didn't need a 360ml kyusu from the beginning, but I didn't know anything then, and for the price, it seemed like a good place to start.

I wish Hojo offered a samashi made with the same clay. I watched one of his YouTube videos where he was demonstrating a houhin (a different clay than kobiwako), and he said that the samashi or yuzamashi should be the same clay as the pot, or else the taste of the tea can be affected.
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nasalfrog
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Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:55 pm

Vanenbw wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:29 pm
...I wish Hojo offered a samashi made with the same clay. I watched one of his YouTube videos where he was demonstrating a houhin (a different clay than kobiwako), and he said that the samashi or yuzamashi should be the same clay as the pot, or else the taste of the tea can be affected.
I recall there being Kobiwako pitchers/yuzamashis on there at some point. It may be a false memory from wishful thinking, though. They may appear, so you might keep an eye out. You could also purchase another hohin to use as one, or a kyusu. I personally just use either a glass or porcelain vessel as a yuzamashi, and it seems to work well.
faj
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Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:58 pm

Victoria wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:15 pm
From the form your houhin won’t drip when pouring
I would be curious to know how you can tell it will not drip.
Vanenbw
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Sun Jan 05, 2020 4:09 pm

nasalfrog wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:55 pm
I recall there being Kobiwako pitchers/yuzamashis on there at some point. It may be a false memory from wishful thinking, though. They may appear, so you might keep an eye out. You could also purchase another hohin to use as one, or a kyusu. I personally just use either a glass or porcelain vessel as a yuzamashi, and it seems to work well.
That is certainly an option. I don't know if the flavor of the tea could be affected if you are cooling off the water in clay pot with a different type of clay from the houhin, or a glass pot. Purchasing another kyusu or houhin is an option. I'll have to think about that one.
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nasalfrog
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Sun Jan 05, 2020 4:16 pm

@Vanenbw I should have clarified, my apologies, I meant you could purchase another Kobiwako clay hohin or kyusu and use it as a samashi. If you go that route, might as well just grab a kyusu in addition to the hohin so you can try out both!
Vanenbw
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Sun Jan 05, 2020 4:29 pm

@nasalfrog: I understood what you were saying. It is an option. I'd rather have the actual samashi or yuzumashi, but it certainly is an option to purchase a kyusu and a houhin.

Is it recommend not to brew any roasted teas in this type of clay? I only have one bag of genmaicha at home, but I'm weary about brewing it in this clay pot where I would be brewing sencha and gyokuro.
faj
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Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:03 pm

Vanenbw wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 4:09 pm
That is certainly an option. I don't know if the flavor of the tea could be affected if you are cooling off the water in clay pot with a different type of clay from the houhin, or a glass pot.
Unless I am mistaken, Akira Hojo himself suggests brewing in glass and then pouring the liquor in teapots as a way to compare clays with the same tea. Surely doing it the other way around cannot be that bad? Glass vessels used for tea are generally made of borosilicate glass, which is sufficiently non-reactive and non-porous that is is used in labs as the go-to material for containers for highly acidic (or otherwise reactive) solutions. I would hazard a guess that it is sufficiently non-reactive to be considered neutral for tea?

Unless your kettle and cup are all made of the same clay, hot water and tea will touch more than one material. Some people swear by tetsubin kettles as a way to improve the taste of tea and that is considered OK. Using a samashi of a material that is both reactive and different from the teapot is likely to change the tea. Without actually testing, it is hard to tell if the change will make tea that tastes worse or better to you.

My take would be this :
  • If you drink from a cup that is not made of glass, worry first about the impact your cup has on the taste of the tea which is likely to be much bigger that of a glass samashi
  • If you drink from a cup that is made of glass, then probably a glass samashi cannot do much more harm
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