Why ball filters?


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Why ball filters?

Postby futurebird » Apr 28th, '13, 14:33

OK. At first I tried to defend them... but at this stage I do not understand what possible benefit they can have.

From a teapot construction perspective they are very difficult to make. I guess it's a chance to show some skill... but to what end? They will only prevent ideal drainage... tea gets stuck in there and there is little to be done to fix it.

Is there some kind of tea that benefits from this?

Is there any good reason to have them?

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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby gingkoseto » Apr 28th, '13, 14:45

I never have drainage problem with ball filters and wish I could find more well-made yixing with ball filters. I even tried to talk a few yixing makers into making more but it was rather fruitless. So I guess there are reasons why some people don't like them, and indeed it's a little tedious to make.
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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby debunix » Apr 28th, '13, 14:52

I think the theoretical why is easy: a ball filter gives more filtering surface area without requiring a wider spout at the attachment to the pot--more square inches of drainage hole. Whether they realize that theoretical advantage or not, that's a whole different question.
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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby Chip » Apr 28th, '13, 15:08

They are pretty common in Japanese Kyusu and I see the advantage there. If properly made, they do offer very rapid pours for even fukamushi (deep steamed sencha with an abundance of very fine particles) for some kyusu that I use. So, the theory carries over to practice, IMHO.

Are they better than other types of filters for Japanese pots? I like them, but I like using different screens when brewing Japanese tea ... keeps things interesting. I am not going to offer a universal "better" since I have one that is so poorly done that I have never even used the kyusu. I showed a photo of it several months ago. The holes are a full .25" away from the body of the kyusu, so no matter how much turning, twisting I do to empty, a couple ml will likely always remain after pouring.

I do not think I have any Chinese pots with this type of filter. I do not think it would be so obviously advantageous as it would be for brewing Japanese teas in a Japanese teapot.

For me, life is better with them than without ... but I would be fine either way.

futurebird, you would likely not be fine with some of the other intricate styles as well such as sasame. :mrgreen: But you are making pots in the more Chinese style.
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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby gingkoseto » Apr 28th, '13, 15:14

I love the 360 degree screen of kyusu! And always try to find some of this kind smaller than 120ml - I raised the bar to 150ml but still couldn't find many.
I also tried to talk some yixing makers into making this kind of filter and didn't try very hard because I'm afraid they are going to hate me :mrgreen:
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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby Chip » Apr 28th, '13, 15:19

gingkoseto wrote:I love the 360 degree screen of kyusu! And always try to find some of this kind smaller than 120ml - I raised the bar to 150ml but still couldn't find many.
I also tried to talk some yixing makers into making this kind of filter and didn't try very hard because I'm afraid they are going to hate me :mrgreen:

:lol: That would stir some kind of cultural revolution I suspect. :idea:

My biggest concern with the "big" metal screens is I have seen what can lurk behind them ... :shock: For glazed or at least a glossy "slip" added to the interior, that would not concern me so much. But bare clay ... :?:
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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby victoria3 » Apr 28th, '13, 17:03

debunix wrote:I think the theoretical why is easy: a ball filter gives more filtering surface area without requiring a wider spout at the attachment to the pot--more square inches of drainage hole. Whether they realize that theoretical advantage or not, that's a whole different question.


I find direct filters work well to completely drain all water from the teapot, leaving no liquid behind, when leaves are whole. Bulbous and sasame filters because of their larger surface area, I find are better for draining when the leaves are broken up (when designed properly i.e. holes not far from edge). Also, rocking the side handled kyusu, to swish leaves away from the filter, helps with drainage.
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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby tingjunkie » Apr 28th, '13, 18:07

Personally, I really don't understand the preoccupation with draining the pot 99% with each infusion rather than, what 96% for your average ball filter? At least not with oolongs, puerh, or red tea anyway. I think having a tiny little bit of concentrated tea adds a nice little "boost" to the next infusion (if I can taste any difference at all), and it's never made my tea taste overbrewed. For greens, especially Japanese, a little tea left in the pot makes a bigger difference.

I have to say I prefer a flat filter over a ball filter myself, mostly for aesthetics, but unless the pot is leaving 10% or more of the tea behind when pouring, I think it's one of those silly Yixing tests that newbs focus on- kind of like the pour stopping immediately when the knob hole is covered. I've yet to ever see anyone make use of that feature when brewing, so who cares? Just my 2 cents.
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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby Chip » Apr 28th, '13, 19:02

Do not forget the all important Kyusu requirement, that the Kyusu will stand on its handle ... perhaps to display proper balance? I don't know. I used to find this somewhat charming but have not thought of it nor done it in years.

Kind of like the "cumpulsories" requirement like they used to have in skating at the Olympics (I think they finally did away with it, probably because nobody would pay to come see this part of the competition). Figure skaters had to make perfect circle etchings in the ice, etc. Impressive I guess (I surely could not do it) but what does it have to do with figure skating?
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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby AdamMY » Apr 28th, '13, 19:10

Don't forget the following test ( I wonder how many broken lids it has resulted in). I swear in one book I purchased when they talked about yixing, they said a test of a good quality pot would be to fill it with water, place the lid on cover the spout, and while holding the lid invert. If you can keep the spout covered but stop holding the lid and the lid stays on your pot is incredibly well made. :shock: :roll: :lol: (Really not sure which is appropriate here, it is sort of the phases I went through after hearing about this.
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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby tingjunkie » Apr 28th, '13, 19:18

AdamMY wrote:...fill it with water, place the lid on cover the spout, and while holding the lid invert. If you can keep the spout covered but stop holding the lid and the lid stays on your pot is incredibly well made.


Heard of that one. More of a parlor trick than anything else. We should make up our own BS tests. 1) Fill pot with water. 2) Stand in shower. 3) Forcefully blow into lid hole. If the stream from the spout doesn't hit the far wall, it's a crap pot. :lol:
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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby futurebird » Apr 28th, '13, 19:40

Don't forget the magnetic shui ping compass test!
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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby gingkoseto » Apr 28th, '13, 20:19

AdamMY wrote:Don't forget the following test ( I wonder how many broken lids it has resulted in). I swear in one book I purchased when they talked about yixing, they said a test of a good quality pot would be to fill it with water, place the lid on cover the spout, and while holding the lid invert. If you can keep the spout covered but stop holding the lid and the lid stays on your pot is incredibly well made. :shock: :roll: :lol: (Really not sure which is appropriate here, it is sort of the phases I went through after hearing about this.

I do think these tests are very important and fast ways for examination. You don't see "oldies" (as in contrast to newbies :mrgreen: ) doing this all the time because experience can allow one >90% to predict the test results by examining the craftsmanship of the teapots. If a yixing can't pass the water-stop test with at least a B+ (the inverted test may depend on size and weight) and can still be considered good, then it had better be revolutionarily artistic. But chances are if a teapot can't pass this test, it's just not carefully made.
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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby gingkoseto » Apr 28th, '13, 20:24

Chip wrote:
gingkoseto wrote:I love the 360 degree screen of kyusu! And always try to find some of this kind smaller than 120ml - I raised the bar to 150ml but still couldn't find many.
I also tried to talk some yixing makers into making this kind of filter and didn't try very hard because I'm afraid they are going to hate me :mrgreen:

:lol: That would stir some kind of cultural revolution I suspect. :idea:

My biggest concern with the "big" metal screens is I have seen what can lurk behind them ... :shock: For glazed or at least a glossy "slip" added to the interior, that would not concern me so much. But bare clay ... :?:

Oh I had never thought of this and it's indeed a concern! I have been living in fairly dry places and didn't have much worry on this kind of things. But I think I will make sure to leave this kind of kyusus extended time for air dry! Or probably use it more often and let the new dirt wash away the old dirt :lol:
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Re: Why ball filters?

Postby AdamMY » Apr 28th, '13, 20:30

I do not doubt that these tests determine some level of quality craftmanship. But I don't buy yixing to collect, I buy them to use to brew tea. I don't want to see an otherwise good pot that could brew some absoultely delicious tea with good clay that will season wonderfuly. Especially one that can accomplish that task with basically no problems, be broken or considered junk simply because it fails one of the almost asanine tests. (I think this almost parallels do we want to use the incredibly ornately decorated teabowls, that while works of "art" brew horrible tea, or do we want to use a simple rustic looking teabowl that while simple produces an absolutely wonderful tasting tea?)
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