Pig Hog wrote:What do you guys think of the way certain tetsubin work with certain teapots?
Hojo-san is very adamant that my soon-to-be Kunzan tetsubin is best used with Banko or bizen yaki but will not work well with reduction fired pots.
While I don't disagree with his far more expert opinion, I wonder whether everyone here pays such meticulous attention to what teaware combo they use and how much it affect the flavour of the tea for good or for worse?
actually it could be a simple logic.. but might be to simple for many to accept.
tea leaves contain a lot of minerals together with other plant based compounds/biological materials. theoretically if you squeeze the tea leaves of all juices, remove all biological materials and all that plant based compounds, you should just be left with "mineral water"...
so, by brewing tea leaves with the purest waters i.e. distilled, one is just diluting the tea minerals.
by lv yu's cha-jing, why this water is best for this tea etc, and all that descriptions may be half fantasy half reality. if you brew a tea using water from where the tea is planted, the mineral profile should be similar, you dont really dilute or affect the over all proportion/type of minerals.
by boiling water in iron vessels that are reduction fired, redox reactions will occur, some of the minerals and anions such as chlorides, sulphates will crash out and start scaling up the kettle walls. this reaction results in changes in the water's mineral content, for good or for worse. the other redox reactions occur when the water/tea stuff interact with the teapot material.
different makers have different sources of ores, different purity, grades, the composition of the tetsubin will differ, so due to different metallurgy it will affect water differently.
the other aspect that most people dont consider, is the shape of the tetsubin as well, water boiled in it forms a thermal gradient, hottest being the bottom of the tetsubin where constant heat is applied, coolest at the top (a few degrees off). so different tetsubin size, shape, diff temp effects also affect the tea brewing.
there are many dimensions to tea, i drink coarse tea at work, cheaper, lower grade teas, distilled water brewed, but i also do spend a little on good tea, nice tea toys like pots, kettles and all that. it can be fun to really explore tea on the level of taste, the texture of the tea on the tongue is at least 30+% important. there are a lot of chinese literatures that i had came across on all the inner workings of tea tasting/drinking, i'm just wondering if there are sufficient translations of some of these concepts because it is so seldom debated
the overall mineral and tea compounds leached from the tea will affect the tea texture, simply because of how the brew momentarily coats the surface of the tongue (so that you will perceive that its soft, creamy, smooth, instead of tingly, rough, multiple areas of the tongue slightly unhappy till you swallow)
(question your tea master today to get better explanation on the topic! ask him, How do one drink tea?)
i believe hojo pays a lot of attention to this matching because the worst thing for merchants is to have people complain that this tea is bad, not of quality. when buying tea in china on the surface, the chinese merchants will have all tricks and ways to present to you a nice tasting brew, delicious enough to make you plonk down money and buy off tens of kilograms to resell. and when "good" tea doesnt easily exist in large quantities, problems will arise when people are unable to replicate good tastes at home. so hojo does super sealed storage, mild vacumn, oxygen absorber, just to preserve the qualities of the tea as much as what he gets/tastes on site, and will also be able to prescribe a condition, type of tea ware, material type, firing type, water type, kettle type.
oh no i'm getting long winded.. falling asleep as i'm writing this...
just remember one thing..
Good tea is always very forgiving, the tea is chock full of flavour, aroma, minerals, well process and made, even average quality water can create something spectacular. Good tea masters are able to push out flavours, aroma and good taste from more average teas with conditions. But nothing can ever rescue a bad tea