O-Cha Starter Kit


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O-Cha Starter Kit

Postby m1nt » Jan 9th, '14, 21:01

Hi! I have had some Chinese tea, but am interested in Japanese tea as well - the 10% deal from O-Cha seems good to me. While I was looking at ArtisticNippon a lot for some nice kyusus, I thought that 1) those are mostly 150-170 mL 2) they would be around $70+ total including shipping. For my first order it would be more worth my money to get a ton of stuff for the same price.

I've looked at a bunch of the threads on here and am wondering if this seems like a good order - can't decide for some items though

-100g miyabi
-kyusu 16408/16519/16437 (note - 16519 has a removable belt filter - interesting, does this work well for cleaning? can't decide on which out of these three)
-green tea canister
-two teacups (16503 or 16345? would one of these be big enough for myself?)
-would a samashi or a spoon be useful?

So I am unsure about the kyusus as well as the teacups. Most of the time I have tea will be just for myself, but it would be good to have two teacups in case I have a friend over. Since these kyusus are about 270-320 mL, what would be a good solution given that the teacups are probably around 160 mL?

Another question - I have a variable temperature kettle, but I know to warm up the teaware before. Is it always recommended to boil the water first, then pour in between my one teacup (if brewing for myself) and the kyusu?

Thanks for your help!!
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Re: O-Cha Starter Kit

Postby Chip » Jan 9th, '14, 23:02

Looks good ...

... but I personally would likely opt for the Sae Midori (which was excellent as Shincha this past Spring) or the Yutaka Midori.
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Re: O-Cha Starter Kit

Postby Chip » Jan 9th, '14, 23:17

I personally like the screen on the 16437 versus the other styles.

I also prefer the tapered cup style of 16345 versus the more concave alternative. My nose hits the rim on concave cups. :mrgreen: Getting a pair is often the route I go ... BTW, it appears the cup is 3.35" wide.

I use a samashi or yuzamashi each time I make green tea, but some people just use the cups to cool the water.

And lastly, I always bring the water to a boil and then cool ... using a variable temp kettle. (so the variable temp function is not used by me) Some people use the variable temp settings and do not bring to a boil. Boiling the water means I can brew 5ish steeps w/o reheating the water. So, I boil enough for at least 5 steeps.
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Re: O-Cha Starter Kit

Postby m1nt » Jan 9th, '14, 23:49

Thanks for the quick reply, Chip - and it's nice to be a part of this community. :D

I would have chosen the YM or SM as well, but those aren't choices for this deal - going from most expensive down - it's Asamushi Aoi, Miyabi, Oku Midori, Kabusecha, Musashi, Oku Yutaka, Oku Hikari, and Chiran. What would you suggest from this list?

I'll get the 16437 kyusu and the 16345 teacups then! Those look nice

About the water boiler, the one I have from Hamilton Beach actually keeps the water at the set temperature for an hour after it reaches that temperature - so if I set it at 175 it would reheat every like 5 min when it gets too low. I'm not sure though - is there a benefit to boiling and then letting it cool down vs. heating to a preset temperature (something with air and the water, idk...)?

And for the teacups, if you have a 320 mL kyusu and two of the 160 mL cups, if you were drinking by yourself would you pour into both cups and then just drink from both cups? Or should I be looking for like a 300 mL cup (16507)?

Thanks again - can't wait to order
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Re: O-Cha Starter Kit

Postby Chip » Jan 10th, '14, 00:14

Then I guess Miyabi. :mrgreen: Next choice would be Aoi from this list.

I never really think too much about the Kyusu size ... consciously anyway. As I am preparing to make tea, I pick a tea, then kyusu, then cups ... remember, you can fill the Kyusu 1/2 full or whatever. It is not critical to fill or nearly fill as it would be with teas such as Oolong or Pu-erh.

So, when brewing better Sencha I usually seemingly always am brewing around 4-5 ounces (120-150 ml) that I can adapt to 1-2 cups. And depending on the cup(s) chosen, they may be filled half full or more ... or even less.

Does this seem like chaos? It really is not ... it is more developing a routine ... instead of having to reinvent the wheel every time I brew.
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Re: O-Cha Starter Kit

Postby Chip » Jan 10th, '14, 00:15

Oh, as much as I use Japanese teaware, I do not use the scoop ... maybe I will start. :mrgreen:
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Re: O-Cha Starter Kit

Postby m1nt » Jan 10th, '14, 00:23

OK miyabi it is. :)

I guess I was trying to ask do you usually use 1 or 2 teacups when you're just brewing for yourself... I guess I wouldn't mind as much using 2 teacups with the green tea because with like a chinese oolong I would have the water boiling and it would cool down too much using 2 30ml cups. But I guess it would be OK then to just fill the kyusu half way to just fill one teacup - and if I want more tea, just start a new session

So there is nothing really to worry about the boiling vs. heat up to desired temp with respect to the outcome of the tea?
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Re: O-Cha Starter Kit

Postby Chip » Jan 10th, '14, 00:29

Well, sometimes I do use 2 smaller cups just for myself, but very rarely. I used to do this much more than I do now ... I was into more liquid than more quality back then.

If you want to use one cup, but you brew too much for one cup, you can always pour the brewed tea into the samashi (or even a creamer or similar) ... then into your cup as needed.

But I guess it would be OK then to just fill the kyusu half way to just fill one teacup - and if I want more tea, just start a new session

Sure ... but also you will likely get 3 or more steeps per session of Sencha. I shoot for 5 steeps ... the last one being more of a sweet tea water which is fine by me. :mrgreen:
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Re: O-Cha Starter Kit

Postby Chip » Jan 10th, '14, 00:32

m1nt wrote:So there is nothing really to worry about the boiling vs. heat up to desired temp with respect to the outcome of the tea?

It is OK to not boil, IMHO. Believe it or not, there are different camps on this issue. Tea can be so ... polarized among drinkers of the same teas.
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Re: O-Cha Starter Kit

Postby m1nt » Jan 10th, '14, 08:42

Chip wrote:If you want to use one cup, but you brew too much for one cup, you can always pour the brewed tea into the samashi (or even a creamer or similar) ... then into your cup as needed.


Thanks for the info! I'll get the samashi 16342 too
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Re: O-Cha Starter Kit

Postby Stentor » Jan 10th, '14, 09:33

Miyabi is a really good choice, don't worry.
I haven't had it in a while but it has been great in the past. I especially think it's a good choice for someone who is new to Japanese tea since it is somewhere in the middle on the "steaming spectrum" (light steamed [asamushi] vs. deep steamed [fukamushi]).

For your next order, I suggest you get one sencha of the asamushi variety, like the Aoi, and one of the fukamushi variety, like Sae Midori. Both of these are excellent, yet very different. This way, you can see if you prefer one style over the other.

Re: To boil or not to boil. I always bring the water to a boil but I don't have a variable temperature kettle. In my experience it doesn't matter. What matters, though, is what temperate the water is at when you infuse the leaves. Somewhere between 60 and 75° C should give you good results. You need to experiment with this. It varies a little from tea to tea. A digital thermometer helps a lot.

Enjoy your Japanese green tea experience!
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