Japanese tea caddies

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Wed May 16, 2018 10:31 pm

I have to say I am always a bit mystified as to the usage of some types of Japanese tea caddies. I am talking about the paper wrapped, wooden or lacquered ones. Those are all pretty terrible in terms of sealing properties and some of the wooden kind have, well, a wood smell.

Japanese mostly drink completely green tea, which is the most sensitive to oxygen. Am I missing something, or what is their purpose?

Short-term storage while performing a tea ceremony? Only for genmaicha etc.?
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Thu May 17, 2018 1:51 pm

They are for the iron teapot ceremony. ;)
No seriously, some of the metal paper wrapped ones are not that terrible, at least for some other teas than sencha that dont need a perfect sealing.
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Fri May 18, 2018 5:33 am

imo for short term storage only.
if you're the kind of person that drinks regularly and has only one or two teas on hand at any given time (and therefore gets through them quick), i can see that being ok. a classy touch to your tea area. some of them look really nice.
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Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:45 pm

I've been pondering purchase of some tea caddies, and trying to decide how I would use them. I have a small matcha caddy, I think a washi paper design over a steel container, with an inset plastic lid. It seems pretty good on the sealing front, because when I pull off the outer lid, I can feel the suction of the lid coming off. I've found similarly tight fit versions as well as poor fit versions in chinese tea shops.

But the Sakura bark and lacquered wood traditional versions are harder to gauge for their sealing properties, especially when you can't feel the seal by in person. I imagine one with a smooth seal like the little one I've got would be as good as my folded over and clipped tea pouches for certain things, like my daily sencha or gyokuro, where I keep one pouch open at a time, and use it up over a few weeks.

Most of what I read says they're meant for holding as much tea as you'd use in a week or two, not for long-term storage, so that fits with my planned usage. But there's still that sense of the seal that really needs to be felt by hand, to feel comfortable with putting tea in it without a liner of some kind, for even short term use. I'm now wishing again that I'd had more time to shop when I was in Kyoto last fall, so I could have bought something hands-on.

IIRC, Chip's solution was to keep a collection of Washi canisters and roll up tea pouches inside them, using the canister for aesthetic pleasure and organizing, and the pouch for tea protection.
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Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:47 pm

All that discussion and I forgot my key question: does anyone have a favorite source for Japanese tea caddies? Or another 'inner' storage solution besides keeping the tea in its pouch inside the caddy?
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Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:05 pm

I could see if I frequently used just one or two teas, on a daily basis, it would make sense to place leaves directly inside a sealed caddy. I’d want a caddy with a rubber gasket and a vacuum seal to eliminate the air inside. Sometimes weed stores have good ones but they are pretty small. Since I don’t use the same teas daily, I keep them inside their original pouches. Once opened I use bag clips removing as much air as possible, and for teas I frequent I’ll place opened pack, with clip, inside double lidded stainless tea caddies from Japan. It’s easy to label the stainless caddies. To buy stainless caddies I usually google to see who has best deal. For tea bags, I organize them in bins that are labeled by category, or source.

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