Hokujo, Kobiwako & Iga Clay

swordofmytriumph
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Thu May 09, 2019 1:09 pm

Shine Magical wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 10:56 am
I just taste tested some sencha in a brand new kobiwako pot vs in a gaiwan and the gaiwan brewed it better. The kobiwako took away the buttery mouthfeel the gaiwan gave which dulled the flavor slightly.
I’ve been experimenting with mine, and I would agree, it does that for me too, and adds a somewhat bitter note...I’ll need to experiment a bit more though.
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OCTO
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Thu May 09, 2019 7:10 pm

swordofmytriumph wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 1:09 pm
Shine Magical wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 10:56 am
I just taste tested some sencha in a brand new kobiwako pot vs in a gaiwan and the gaiwan brewed it better. The kobiwako took away the buttery mouthfeel the gaiwan gave which dulled the flavor slightly.
I’ve been experimenting with mine, and I would agree, it does that for me too, and adds a somewhat bitter note...I’ll need to experiment a bit more though.
Brand new clay pots regardless of origin, will always absorb first. This further explains the need to season a pot. This also clarify why regular and extended usage of the same pot will eventually brew better tea than brand new pots.

Cheers!
swordofmytriumph
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Fri May 10, 2019 5:42 am

Oh, right, I’d forgotten about that! Thanks for the reminder, @OCTO.
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Shine Magical
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Fri May 10, 2019 7:49 am

Well, not necessarily. I’ve had a few higher fired pots that perform noticeably better than gaiwans right from the beginning and don’t change too much in nature even after heavy use. And some low fired duanni that was used so much it changed the entire pot color but I still didn't like how it brewed that much in a taste comparison and eventually stopped using. There's definitely a chance this pot won't perform better than a gaiwan in the future even after heavy use.
swordofmytriumph
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Fri May 10, 2019 3:20 pm

I’ve got some sencha soaking in it overnight. I’ll do that for the next few days then try it again. We’ll see. @Chip, is the pot I got from you from the same...batch or whatever as the one that you still have?
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Victoria
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Fri May 10, 2019 4:59 pm

swordofmytriumph wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 3:20 pm
I’ve got some sencha soaking in it overnight. I’ll do that for the next few days then try it again. We’ll see. Chip, is the pot I got from you from the same...batch or whatever as the one that you still have?
You can also just use it as a pitcher, with type of tea you plan on using, for several days.
swordofmytriumph
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Fri May 10, 2019 5:25 pm

Victoria wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 4:59 pm
swordofmytriumph wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 3:20 pm
I’ve got some sencha soaking in it overnight. I’ll do that for the next few days then try it again. We’ll see. Chip, is the pot I got from you from the same...batch or whatever as the one that you still have?
You can also just use it as a pitcher, with type of tea you plan on using, for several days.
Hm, that works too!
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Bok
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Fri May 10, 2019 7:41 pm

swordofmytriumph wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 3:20 pm
I’ve got some sencha soaking in it overnight. I’ll do that for the next few days then try it again. We’ll see. Chip, is the pot I got from you from the same...batch or whatever as the one that you still have?
I would avoid soaking tea in it that has not been brewed before. Might add a little too much if the bitter stuff, especially with Sencha. Usually I just brew stronger with new pots to cover whatever might get taken away, at the end of the session I add more hot water and let that sit overnight. That is usually enough.

For me the Kobiwako was an improvement from the first use. So what it does to the tea might not be to your liking and personal taste preference. I don’t drink Sencha, I use it for greener Oolongs, like High mountain or green Dancong.
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Baisao
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Fri May 10, 2019 8:47 pm

They are different potters but none of my Yamada family kyusu (Minoru and Emu) have needed seasoning.

I did have a kyusu by Kato Tadaomi, aka Koshin, that never really improved despite a great deal of seasoning and multi-year use.

My suspect that seasoning is helpful for removing odd flavors that result from more or less flawed firing.
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nasalfrog
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Fri May 10, 2019 9:06 pm

Bok wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 7:41 pm
So what it does to the tea might not be to your liking and personal taste preference.
I'm pretty sure I either sense bitterness differently, or am not sensitive to it. Judging by his instructions on how to brew a Zarai sencha sample I got, Hojo may have tastes moreso in that direction. He recommends brewing it for 20-30s at 194F! Anytime I've brewed sencha at that temp for that amount of time it's turned out too bitter/astringent, even for me. Maybe this tea is different, but he mentions it is very rich in polyphenols, which, in my experience, translates into bitterness.

As for seasoning, I've been doing close to what Bok recommends, but letting it sit for 3-5 hours instead of overnight.

When it arrives and I have the time, I plan on doing some side by side comparisons with the Kohokujo and Kobiwako with the 20th Anniversary Sae Midori from O-Cha. I'll try to make it a blind test and also let my partner, who is very sensitive to bitterness, tell me her input. I'll post what we find out.
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Baisao
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Fri May 10, 2019 9:34 pm

nasalfrog wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 9:06 pm
I'm pretty sure I either sense bitterness differently, or am not sensitive to it. Judging by his instructions on how to brew a Zarai sencha sample I got, Hojo may have tastes moreso in that direction. He recommends brewing it for 20-30s at 194F! Anytime I've brewed sencha at that temp for that amount of time it's turned out too bitter/astringent, even for me. Maybe this tea is different, but he mentions it is very rich in polyphenols, which, in my experience, translates into bitterness.
Zairai is not like modern varietals used to make sencha. It is closer to how sencha was in the time of my namesake, Baisao, who added a pinch of sencha (which was made from what we now call zairai) to boiling water.

It’s not usually bitter so it can handily take high temperatures, even brief boiling.
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nasalfrog
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Sat May 11, 2019 11:48 am

Baisao wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 9:34 pm

Zairai is not like modern varietals used to make sencha. It is closer to how sencha was in the time of my namesake, Baisao, who added a pinch of sencha (which was made from what we now call zairai) to boiling water.

It’s not usually bitter so it can handily take high temperatures, even brief boiling.
Cool, thank you for the information! It makes me confident to try it Hojo's way. I was going to try that sample this weekend by brewing it at lower temps, and it probably would have been a mistake. Having looked back at my notes, I have only tried 2 Zarai teas, and the Kamairicha from Thés du Japon had no flavor until I brought it up to 185F and brewed it 90s.
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Shine Magical
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Sun May 12, 2019 9:28 am

@Bok, is your kobiwako pot from Hojo?
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Bok
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Sun May 12, 2019 9:34 am

Shine Magical wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 9:28 am
Bok, is your kobiwako pot from Hojo?
No one else has it. This clay was sourced/developed by Hojo and then made into pots by Maekawa Junzo.
swordofmytriumph
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Fri May 17, 2019 6:09 am

After more testing, I have decided that, like @Bok, I really like the Kobiwako for my gaoshan. Actually, it’s one of my fave pairings of teapot to tea, it seems to take each individual flavor in the tea and elevated it, so each nuance is distinct, and easier to pick out. It takes what’s already there and makes it better. It does remove a very tiny amount of the buttery quality, but I suspect that will not be an issue once it’s seasoned.

guess I’ll just have to keep looking for what I like best for my sencha.
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