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Charcoal for tea stove

by BioHorn » Apr 7th 15 2:26 pm

There seemed to be no comprehensive thread for stove charcoal.

What are your experiences?
What is the best charcoal for you?
Do you use a ryoro stove? Chaozhao stove?

There always seem to be better options out there. I look for something that burns clean, long and hot at the best price. Something that is more responsibly harvested, unlike mangrove charcoal, is also a consideration.

Sumi charcoal has been the best compromise for me to date:

http://korin.com/Japanese-Sumi-Charcoal-10kg-22-5lb

Three small pieces of Sumi will last me 2-3 hours. It does take a while to light, but burn extremely clean and very hot.

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by wyardley » Apr 7th 15 2:58 pm

A couple previous threads...

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=14454
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?p=85055

I usually use some kind of wood charcoal to start it and then use olive pit charcoal, but I think your instinct is right. Korin's stuff is good, but their prices are very expensive. Check local Japanese markets if there are any; you may find a better deal on binchotan.

I have heard of some people using the self-lighting kind as a base to light a better quality charcoal, because as you say, most hard, clean burning charcoals are a huge pain to get lit. You can also try using a brazing torch or small gas burner.

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by Drax » Apr 7th 15 3:02 pm

Have you tried lump charcoal at all (the type made from hardwood)? That typically burns pretty cleanly and leaves minimal ash.

I think Petr Novak has a fair amount of experience with charcoal tea stoves... will be curious what he's found to be useful.

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by BioHorn » Apr 7th 15 4:45 pm

wyardley wrote:A couple previous threads...

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=14454
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?p=85055

I usually use some kind of wood charcoal to start it and then use olive pit charcoal, but I think your instinct is right. Korin's stuff is good, but their prices are very expensive. Check local Japanese markets if there are any; you may find a better deal on binchotan.

I have heard of some people using the self-lighting kind as a base to light a better quality charcoal, because as you say, most hard, clean burning charcoals are a huge pain to get lit. You can also try using a brazing torch or small gas burner.
Hello Will,
Thanks for the links. I had forgotten about Tim's thread. I will leave it up to Chip to decide to continue this thread or roll it over to one of the two you listed.

Oni, in one of the former threads listed Turkish charcoal. Has anyone else used this? A quick search turned up numerous kinds of hookah chacoal for sale at Southsmoke:

http://www.southsmoke.com/cat-non-quick ... 6671&TID=1

I set the pieces of bincho on top of my gas stove. They are thoroughly lit after about 15-25 minutes.

Drax,
I tried numerous kinds lump charcoal. It is nowhere near as good as the Korin sumi charcoal. It does not last as long, smokes more and requires a good deal more tending.

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by Drax » Apr 7th 15 4:56 pm

BioHorn wrote: Drax,
I tried numerous kinds lump charcoal. It is nowhere near as good as the Korin sumi charcoal. It does not last as long, smokes more and requires a good deal more tending.
Hmmm, good to know! The only other charcoal I have experience with are the little discs used for incense, and those are likely too small for a tea stove.

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Apr 7th 15 4:58 pm

After trying multiple charcoals, I've settled on Korin's Sumi and Aramaru charcoal (Aramaru for when I want a more aesthetically beautiful fire). I find the case price to not be too expensive, especially given the efficiency of the charcoal and how well it burns. I am using the charcoal in three different antique Kiri wood Japanese, copper lined, hibachis (one 6" wide, one 12" wide, and one 15" wide).

We have two tea rooms in our home and we live in a newer home. Thus if the charcoal is inferior it sets off our smoke alarms. I've found that there are some very inferior "binchotan" charcoals around and that the name does not necessarily refer to any steady level of quality. I tried lower quality binchotan that I bought in Taiwan and some that I bought from EBay here in the states and both had an odor and didn't burn clean. Given that one way to test good charcoal is to look at how much ash it leaves behind after burning, these lower quality charcoals left a large pile of ash as well.

Korin sometimes has sales and I find their service to be good.

I have a traditional Japanese tea ceremony charcoal pan set that I use to start my charcoal on our gas stove before taking it into the tea room to place in the hibachi. I place the charcoal on the stove and it generally takes about 10-15 minutes to start the charcoal. I place the charcoal in the hibachi in a nice configuration and fan it to an even burn. For each pour I use 4-5 pieces of cut Korin charcoal. I prepare the pieces by splitting them, for the sumi, into approximately 1" long pieces. Four to five 1" long pieces placed in my hibachi, heating my tetsubin, will burn for four to five hours or more and cover a long tea session with a guest (and on cold days heat the tea room nicely :) ).

I recently sent Petr two different charcoals from Korin to test against what he has there and he's set to do an experiment in the new stoves that Mirka has been making.

Blessings!

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by BioHorn » Apr 12th 15 4:30 am

茶藝-TeaArt08 wrote:After trying multiple charcoals, I've settled on Korin's Sumi and Aramaru charcoal (Aramaru for when I want a more aesthetically beautiful fire). I find the case price to not be too expensive, especially given the efficiency of the charcoal and how well it burns. I am using the charcoal in three different antique Kiri wood Japanese, copper lined, hibachis (one 6" wide, one 12" wide, and one 15" wide).



Blessings!
Thank you for the helpful summary of your experience.

Mine has been similar. I use 2-3 one inch sumi charcoal pieces. They last about three hours. It seems to maybe even cheaper than my electric!

Going out on a limb, so to speak, does anyone have an opinion on using coal-coke for providing heat? It sounds a bit strange, but the size is just right and it is nearly pure carbon:

http://www.blacksmithcoke.com/

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by chingwa » Apr 12th 15 1:39 pm

I've always been interested in getting a hibachi and heating my tetsubin "naturally" over charcoal. However I live in an apartment, and the thought of burning charcoal indoors, even with the windows open, makes me nervous.

Aren't there any health issues associated with burning charcoal indoors (even high quality charcoal)?

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by BioHorn » Apr 13th 15 5:15 pm

chingwa wrote:I've always been interested in getting a hibachi and heating my tetsubin "naturally" over charcoal. However I live in an apartment, and the thought of burning charcoal indoors, even with the windows open, makes me nervous.

Aren't there any health issues associated with burning charcoal indoors (even high quality charcoal)?
Hello Chingwa,
I would be burning it outdoors. I have yet to attempt indoor tea stove. Have you?

It does seem two small lumps of sumi charcoal would not create enough carbon monoxide to be of risk, but I have not tempted fate!

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by wyardley » Apr 14th 15 6:30 am

I don't think anyone wants to be responsible for being wrong on this one. That said, I have seen them used indoors, and don't think a small stove like that is likely to be a problem if the room is open to the outside (door / window). I am not recommending that you do this, but I have seen it done.

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Apr 14th 15 8:18 am

Hello Chingwa,
I would be burning it outdoors. I have yet to attempt indoor tea stove. Have you?

It does seem two small lumps of sumi charcoal would not create enough carbon monoxide to be of risk, but I have not tempted fate!
The small tea room in our house is a 10'x10' tea room. The hibachis are placed on a 2.5" thick Redwood base on top of the tatami in the room. Depending on the weather I crack the window to the tea room but have never felt uncomfortable about burning high quality binchotan in the house, especially since, as far as fire safety goes, the hibachi really retains its heat and the ash that the charcoal rests atop is a nice insulator. If I have leftover charcoal after a pour I leave the room and let it burn out in the hibachi and don't feel a need to monitor the charcoal at all. I will however, if there is some life in the charcoal, put the charcoal out before going to bed.

As far as carbon monoxide poisoning goes I've never felt uncomfortable about this. There is so much moving air in the house, even with the door to the tea room closed. I've watched this in those magical dust light moments where slant sunlight fills the tea room and one can see, even while sitting still, the currents move the dust in the still of the room.

In Taiwan it is quite customary to be heating one's kettle over charcoal in small tea spaces and I never thought about it there as well (Could be what I thought was the rich effects of chaqi/茶氣 wasn't the tea at all :wink: ).

Here are some pictures to get a sense of the size and layout of the tea space, as well as two different hibachis used in the room (http://s1300.photobucket.com/user/Teawa ... t=6&page=1).

Recently we refinanced our house and part of the code for California is that the house must have a carbon monoxide detector. We bought the detector for our inspection but haven't used it otherwise. I'll do an experiment and plug it in the tea room during my next charcoal pour and see what the result is and report back here.

Blessings!


http://s1300.photobucket.com/user/Teawa ... t=6&page=1

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by BioHorn » May 13th 15 2:05 am

We used the charcoal tea stove indoors for the first time.
Carbon monoxide levels registered 25-35 ppm. It sounds like 8 hours exposure at that level might be a problem.

It was a lovely tea session. Nothing like water from charcoal and bofura kettle!

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Nov 19th 15 8:59 pm

I forgot about this thread and should've posted here first:

Korin has promotions every now and then and I checked their website the other day. For anyone else brewing with charcoal during the chill autumn, Korin has a promotion right now offering 25% off of high-grade Binchotan (both the Kiri-Chumaru and Kiri-Komaru). 33lbs. of charcoal for $74.25.
I forgot about this thread and should've posted here first:

I ordered a case of the Kiri-Chumaru, as my last case is getting to the bottom, from New York and it usually takes a little over a week by UPS ground to get here to California.

Blessings!

Korin:
http://korin.com/Kiri-Chumaru-Kiri-Komaru

Nice two part presentation on Japanese charcoal:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiVmKC8xXJ8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pR0eJlwiw0

Cutting this style of charcoal:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jwUl3Z2
(I use a Chinese cleaver and wooden mallet together and take my time to split the charcoal. I work more slowly and carefully than the video pictured here, causing much less waste. Afterwards I take the smallest bits and feed them to our plants and garden, a bit larger bits I save for using in water.)

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Nov 19th 15 9:10 pm

BioHorn wrote:We used the charcoal tea stove indoors for the first time.
Carbon monoxide levels registered 25-35 ppm. It sounds like 8 hours exposure at that level might be a problem.

It was a lovely tea session. Nothing like water from charcoal and bofura kettle!
Yes indeed. I don't find preparing charcoal for brewing to be tedious in any way, perhaps because it's habit now, but also because it's a fairly simple process. Though, having a nice firing pan for the range top and a wood-bottomed carrying pan, as used in Japanese ceremony, are incredibly helpful. The charcoal goes on the stove, 10+ minutes later I fan it and lay it in the ash bed within the hibachi, fan the charcoal again to get the newly placed pieces "talking to one another," and set my testsubin to heat.

With the autumn weather it's such a pleasure to sit in the tea room, the window slightly ajar, a cool breeze dropping down from the windowsill, charcoal glowing warm in the hibachi beside me. Serving tea to guests this way, it always imbues the space with depth, warmth, comfort, richness, and an ambiance that is worth the little extra time, whether pouring solo or with guests...and it brings more alive for me the meditation on and presence and interaction of the Five Elements.

Blessings!

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Re: Charcoal for tea stove

by Puerh3 » Mar 25th 18 2:46 pm

Hi!

I went on kurin website, can those binchotan can be use to purify water as well? If yes do it need to be boiled first? And how long would it last ? Of course after we can use it to heat the tetsubin 😁😁

And is this a good stove? Can someone give me is Thought??
Thank you!

Image