Japanese tea caddies

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Bok
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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.?
.m.
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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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pedant
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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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debunix
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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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debunix
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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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Victoria
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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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vk2109
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Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:04 pm

You can consider also Kaikado. Their signature caddies in metal are well known and often seen as design items

http://shop.ippodo-tea.co.jp/kyoto/shop ... d=utensils
https://shop.tortoisegeneralstore.com/search?q=kaikado

There are so cool when you watch the lid closing the caddies and pushing the air itself.
Ethan Kurland
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Mon Oct 01, 2018 5:00 pm

Those double-lidded copper caddies from Ippodo look good & seem like a great accessory to have.
BUT too much $ for me.
I will keep folding the vacuum packs carefully & securing them with clips or bands, until I win lottery. Cheers
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debunix
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Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:07 am

My goal here is to enjoy the aesthetics of the traditional Sakura bark caddy, and trying to figure out how to make that compatible with fresh tea. I was thinking about a trusted source with a reputation for decent seals on their caddies, or a less traditional inner liner of materials that seal better.

I'm gathering from the replies that no one here is using the Sakura caddies to store tea directly. Sounds like I should buy the caddy for appearance and plan on storing the tea sealed with clips in the bag inside the caddy, as I'm doing now for some other teas that come in cool but not really airtight containers.
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Bok
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Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:55 am

I did some research into tea storage a while back, for fresh teas like high mountain and greens. My findings were that the best is the original pack sealed as tight as possible with a clip and stored cool.

The only other thing that came up are those thick lead based antique caddies, but those obviously come with other countries concerns...
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Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:43 am

Caddies are for 2 main purposes, correct?

To look good while holding packs of tea inside.

And for teas that benefit from breathing, to give them some air while also allowing easy access. Some teas' flavors seem to open open inside of ceramic caddies (to me); &, it is pleasant to be able to take off & put back lids rather than handle clips & bands.

And secondary purpose--look nice.

Bok is so right about green teas. Let air get to the best gaoshan & soon it is not so good. Take good care & one has 2 - 3 weeks to enjoy them at their best.
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debunix
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Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:19 pm

Ethan Kurland wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:43 am
Caddies are for 2 main purposes, correct?

To look good while holding packs of tea inside.

And for teas that benefit from breathing, to give them some air while also allowing easy access. Some teas' flavors seem to open open inside of ceramic caddies (to me); &, it is pleasant to be able to take off & put back lids rather than handle clips & bands.
I have actually put some high-roasted teas that needed airing into a large teapot, because I rarely use my really large pots.

Mostly my thought with a Sakura caddy was one nice one to live at the tea table for the one batch of sencha or gyokuro I keep open at a time. Maybe two of 'em at most.
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Bok
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Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:18 pm

debunix wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:19 pm
Ethan Kurland wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:43 am
Caddies are for 2 main purposes, correct?

To look good while holding packs of tea inside.

And for teas that benefit from breathing, to give them some air while also allowing easy access. Some teas' flavors seem to open open inside of ceramic caddies (to me); &, it is pleasant to be able to take off & put back lids rather than handle clips & bands.
I have actually put some high-roasted teas that needed airing into a large teapot, because I rarely use my really large pots.

Mostly my thought with a Sakura caddy was one nice one to live at the tea table for the one batch of sencha or gyokuro I keep open at a time. Maybe two of 'em at most.
I would be tempted to seal the packs tightly, put in an odor free zip bag and put it in the fridge. Gyokuru is so delicate and would probably stay fresh just that tiny bit longer. I do so for some high mountain oolongs.
thetealetter
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Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:56 pm

This topic has been on my mind as I've been purchasing/drinking much more matcha of late. Though I got some decently quality metal canisters from a respectable tea shop in Tokyo, I keep my matcha in the original plastic packaging, clipped tightly, inside the original tin, in another plastic bag, inside the door of the fridge.

If you're willing to drop a dime or two (probably at lest $60-80+ per canister), the Japanese bronze canisters of high quality (i.e. probably handmade) are designed to be perfectly air tight via exact dimensions used during their construction.

For the function of the traditional caddies like the sakura bark, I think it is to keep as much tea as one needs for a) one ceremony or b) a few days' worth of drinking. They're not intended for serious long-term storage.

That said, if you figure something out please report back!
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Victoria
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Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:00 pm

thetealetter wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:56 pm
This topic has been on my mind as I've been purchasing/drinking much more matcha of late. Though I got some decently quality metal canisters from a respectable tea shop in Tokyo, I keep my matcha in the original plastic packaging, clipped tightly, inside the original tin, in another plastic bag, inside the door of the fridge.

If you're willing to drop a dime or two (probably at lest $60-80+ per canister), the Japanese bronze canisters of high quality (i.e. probably handmade) are designed to be perfectly air tight via exact dimensions used during their construction.

For the function of the traditional caddies like the sakura bark, I think it is to keep as much tea as one needs for a) one ceremony or b) a few days' worth of drinking. They're not intended for serious long-term storage.

That said, if you figure something out please report back!
When you place open macha packs back in refridgerator, are you waiting 24hrs after taking out of refridgerator to prevent condensation from ruining the tea? I operate under the assumption that if a pack is open it should never be put back in refridgerator, even if clipped and zip locked, because all tea has a certain amount of moisture which added to the oxigen from a previously open pack will degenerate the green tea very quickly.

The moderately priced Japanese caddies I get are 18/8 stainless steel with no visible seam and with rolled can lip like this one from Rakuten. I agree though that the hand milled ones are superior aesthetically as objets d'art.
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