Hokujo, Kobiwako & Iga Clay

Flavor Hedonist
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Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:26 am

nasalfrog wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 10:10 am
Flavor Hedonist wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 3:34 am
I have been reading a lot about how Kobiwako is a "magic clay" and 3 weeks ago, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase one from Hojo. I ordered a 110ml kyusu with a sasame filter...
I had been eyeing that particular one for a while because of the sesame filter. It's a shame you are having such good results with it. I would have loved to buy it from you :lol:

I don't know if you usually drink sencha, but, if so, I'm curious to hear about whether the sesame filter easily clogs with a fine-leafed fukamushi. The direct-hole filter on mine tends to clog.

Glad you are having good results with the "magic clay".
Oh lol. I've been eyeing that piece for months haha! I guess I was just lucky you nobody picked it up yet.

I haven't tried it with a fukumushi yet but I assume it would work as, if I'm not mistaken, sasame filters are made for those types of leaves.
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nasalfrog
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Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:36 am

Flavor Hedonist wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:26 am

Oh lol. I've been eyeing that piece for months haha! I guess I was just lucky you nobody picked it up yet.

I haven't tried it with a fukumushi yet but I assume it would work as, if I'm not mistaken, sasame filters are made for those types of leaves.
Indeed those filters are supposed to work, and Akira says so as well. My curiosity comes from the direct-hole experience and also having a sesame filter Gyokko pot that clogs with fukamushi. I now use a ball filter with no issues. The sesame filters seem to work for everyone else, so I assume it's a design issue with that particular pot (the filter is completely flat and not curved like other artists I see), or an error on my part (I will have to try Victoria & Chip's technique on it).
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tjkdubya
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Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:32 am

I've been coveting a Kobiwako pot for a while... Reading through this thread, I may just have been pushed over the line.

Whence, the magic effect? I think the clue may be this:
The clay from these areas is rich in alkaline mineral such as calcium and potassium that contributes a lot to the body of a tea.
For the past few months, I've been trying to learn about the role calcium plays in tea brew chemistry, and looking for relatively low TDS spring water with a prominent calcium content. Having found a couple, I've noticed how significant an effect such a water has on enhancing the body of the tea. It's an interesting option for lighter greener oo, for one, where the body can use a little boost, and there's enough high notes you don't mind sacrificing a bit.

From reading all of your discussions on Kobiwako magic, I wonder if something similar is happening due to the high calcium/potassium content of the clay?
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Victoria
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Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:18 pm

tjkdubya wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:32 am
I've been coveting a Kobiwako pot for a while... Reading through this thread, I may just have been pushed over the line.

Whence, the magic effect? I think the clue may be this:
The clay from these areas is rich in alkaline mineral such as calcium and potassium that contributes a lot to the body of a tea.
For the past few months, I've been trying to learn about the role calcium plays in tea brew chemistry, and looking for relatively low TDS spring water with a prominent calcium content. Having found a couple, I've noticed how significant an effect such a water has on enhancing the body of the tea. It's an interesting option for lighter greener oo, for one, where the body can use a little boost, and there's enough high notes you don't mind sacrificing a bit.

From reading all of your discussions on Kobiwako magic, I wonder if something similar is happening due to the high calcium/potassium content of the clay?
Interesting @tjkdubya, which waters are you liking that have higher calcium content and with which teas? I also find calcium beneficial in general.

One thing I don’t like so far with my Junzo Kobiwako is it drips from the lid and I find the overall form slightly off proportionally. I tried it once with roasted DongDing and didn’t like results. This particular roasted Laoshi DongDing though is tricky and shape shifts with humidity so .. With sencha though it’s been really good.
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nasalfrog
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Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:56 pm

Victoria wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 2:41 pm
...When I use direct hole filters with fine needles, I now tilt the kyusu handle down, slightly in my direction, then incline spout to pour...
I've been using this technique this past week, and my direct-hole Kobiwako has performed like a champ on several fukamushis... even on the last dusty bits of a bag of sencha just now. It has improved the pour on the asamushis I've tried it on as well. Thank you for the tip, Victoria & Chip!
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tjkdubya
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Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:53 am

Victoria wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:18 pm
Interesting tjkdubya, which waters are you liking that have higher calcium content and with which teas? I also find calcium beneficial in general.
@Victoria Oops, looks like I missed your question from a couple days ago.

o muse uk.jpg
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O Muse UK. Was highly skeptical but was so good with yancha in an intriguing way, emphasizing rich substantial body and mouthfeel. Came across it quite accidentally and got us interested in similar profile waters that would hopefully be easier to find than one that comes with a Victor Hugo quote on the back :lol:

fontauroi.jpg
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Was further encouraged when we saw Fontauroi being used at a well-regarded HK vendor of yancha/puerh. This one, the high calcium is balanced by high chlorides.

fanny bay.jpg
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Fanny Bay (Canada) has become our go-to water in Beijing when we want to tweak things in the calcium direction. Softer than all the above, but still weighted towards calcium. It brews a rich bodied yancha, fun to try with Dong Ding, and light enough to try with greens as well. Hasn't been the best with hongcha. Relatively cheap, it does that body emphasis thing, nothing exciting, but an easy-to-get point of reference for this type water.

I should add, none of these have that crisp, high resolution feel and the detail preservation of a water like Volvic, which has a more balanced profile of calcium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium.

Back to the topic at hand, I'm wondering if a certain calcium/potassium profile water in a neutral vessel could mimic what's going on in a clay like Kobiwako..
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Victoria
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Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:36 pm

tjkdubya wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:53 am
Victoria wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:18 pm
Interesting tjkdubya, which waters are you liking that have higher calcium content and with which teas? I also find calcium beneficial in general.
Victoria Oops, looks like I missed your question from a couple days ago.


o muse uk.jpg

O Muse UK. Was highly skeptical but was so good with yancha in an intriguing way, emphasizing rich substantial body and mouthfeel. Came across it quite accidentally and got us interested in similar profile waters that would hopefully be easier to find than one that comes with a Victor Hugo quote on the back :lol:


fontauroi.jpg

Was further encouraged when we saw Fontauroi being used at a well-regarded HK vendor of yancha/puerh. This one, the high calcium is balanced by high chlorides.


fanny bay.jpg

Fanny Bay (Canada) has become our go-to water in Beijing when we want to tweak things in the calcium direction. Softer than all the above, but still weighted towards calcium. It brews a rich bodied yancha, fun to try with Dong Ding, and light enough to try with greens as well. Hasn't been the best with hongcha. Relatively cheap, it does that body emphasis thing, nothing exciting, but an easy-to-get point of reference for this type water.

I should add, none of these have that crisp, high resolution feel and the detail preservation of a water like Volvic, which has a more balanced profile of calcium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium.

Back to the topic at hand, I'm wondering if a certain calcium/potassium profile water in a neutral vessel could mimic what's going on in a clay like Kobiwako..
Interesting observations. I will link to this post in another forum focused on water composition and types Water, Water Everywhere... What’s Your Water?. How different minerals effect tea is the exactly the kind of information I’ve been looking for. Thank you. I’ll try and get a few high calcium waters to see if I get similar results. A few high calcium waters in my chart are:
Mountain Valley Spring at TDS 230, Calcium 69
Crystal Geyser, Alpine Spring (by CG Roxane Adirondack Johnstown, NY) TDS 210, Calcium 58.
jessepat84
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Sat Oct 19, 2019 3:54 pm

Well, this thread convinced me to order a small Kobiwako kyusu... pretty excited! None of it is helping my TAD... :)
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Zenshin
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Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:31 pm

Wow rereading this thread after learning that Hojo has some of these pots in store again really tickles my TAD haha

I'm just wondering which of the clays to choose...
The sound of the magic Kobiwako-clay sounds intriguing of course, but I'm also eyeing those beautiful Shigaraki (sorry if I'm adding another clay type...) and Iga pieces for their aesthetics. Any suggestions on what to choose?
Normally I like my senchas (and other greener teas) a bit more on the aromatic side with a long aftertaste and not necessarily favour too much umami. Kobiwako seems to push just the latter quality, Iga and Shigaraki more the former, but I'm still curious if any of you have any input what each clay does to a bit 'rougher' senchas and other teas in general. Normally iron rich clays seem to work pretty well with everything though, so I'm a bit lost here ^^
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nasalfrog
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Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:09 pm

Zenshin wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:31 pm
Any suggestions on what to choose?
I'm a believer in the Kobiwako clay, so I would recommend that. It has improved my sencha experiences.

I do not have a Shigaraki pot, so I can't offer my take on it. @Chip has a Kobiwako vs Shigaraki thread here:
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=1162&hilit=Shigaraki

I do have an Iga hohin, though. From Chip's assessment of the Shigaraki, it seems the Iga clay has a similar effect on sencha for me. I'm still experimenting with it, but this is how it has gone with sencha so far:

The first cup is quite powerful, the clay is definitely strongly affecting the tea, but the bitterness seems a bit more forward. On the following brews the bitterness comes forward even moreso. I have yet to find a good match on Japanese greens with the Iga hohin, so I will be trying some oxidized teas out with it in the near future.

I have had one session with a kabusecha that went pretty well with the Iga. Seemed more flowery than I remember it being in the past (this was the first session having not had this tea in over a year plus it is a different year/harvest), but I have yet to try it with my Kobiwako.

I am still experimenting, but, for sencha, in Kobiwako vs Iga, Kobiwako wins for me.
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OCTO
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Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:49 pm

Just pulled out my pot... let's see what is the outcome of a shootout between these 3 pots. I'm leaning towards greener or very light roast oolongs.
20191031_094951.jpg
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Cheers!!
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Zenshin
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:47 am

Thanks for the answer and insight @nasalfrog!
nasalfrog wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:09 pm
The first cup is quite powerful, the clay is definitely strongly affecting the tea, but the bitterness seems a bit more forward. On the following brews the bitterness comes forward even moreso. I have yet to find a good match on Japanese greens with the Iga hohin, so I will be trying some oxidized teas out with it in the near future.

I have had one session with a kabusecha that went pretty well with the Iga. Seemed more flowery than I remember it being in the past (this was the first session having not had this tea in over a year plus it is a different year/harvest), but I have yet to try it with my Kobiwako.
That effect actually sound quite pleasant to me. I don't mind a bit more bitterness for more highnotes and aftertaste haha

Anyway I'm gonna read the thread you mentioned and wait patiently for @OCTO s results :D
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nasalfrog
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:32 am

Zenshin wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:47 am
Thanks for the answer and insight nasalfrog!...

...That effect actually sound quite pleasant to me. I don't mind a bit more bitterness for more highnotes and aftertaste haha

Anyway I'm gonna read the thread you mentioned and wait patiently for OCTO s results :D
You're welcome, @Zenshin!

I feel I was a bit vague, so I will clarify that, after the first cup, the bitterness starts competing with the highs and aftertastes, and that's the main reason why I do not prefer the Iga's results with sencha.

The first cup has always been pretty good, though, and it overall may be a good match for your individual brewing style & tastes. Only one way to know for sure... buy them all! :lol:

I am also looking forward to OCTO's results. His pots are close to the same size/form, so it should be a more accurate assessment than mine.
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nasalfrog
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Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:06 am

Just a preliminary update. I’ve had 2 sessions now with the Iga hohin that have been really good.

The first was with a sample of jasmine pearl from HOJO I received with my Kobiwako pot. I had enough to try it with both my Kobowako kyusu and the Iga hohin, and I preferred the results in the Iga.

Right now I am having a kamairicha that is quite a bit more floral and fruity than others I have tried, and it is quite good with the Iga clay. I will be trying it with my Kobiwako and Kohokujo kyusus to see which I prefer more, and will report back when I have something more conclusive.
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