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Apr 23rd 15 2:44 am
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New Tea Set and Yunomi

by HEEGZ » Apr 23rd 15 2:44 am

Just joined the forums. I had purchased some cheap kyusu from Den's Tea to see if this was something I wanted to get into, drinking Japanese tea. It suits me, so I ordered myself some tea things which should arrive in the mail in a week or two.

The tea set is Kazuwa Yaki. From some brief internet searches, it looks like they are known for their red teawares, but about ten years ago they started making white glazes with green and blue wisps. I was on the search for a teaset that had white glaze inside the cups, and this one really caught my eye, and finding nothing else I purchased it. Here's a link and image:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/191550735152

Image

Also, I was intrigued by the matching pairs of his/hers teacups and found a nice price on a set that looked really nice to my eye. Link here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/221571879741

I plan to use these for a while before buying anything else. I looked for a long time at many other styles of teaware. This is such an interesting pasttime, with an art to the functional product that I am not used to.

Going forward, I am thinking about buying a glass pitcher to pour two steepings into, and then drinking from a larger cup. So, I plan to start looking for something a bit larger, not sure if a chawan is the best course or not.

Ultimately though, I plan to keep a nice tea set or two in daily use and spend most of my time and money with the tea leaves and their brews. Although my wife has given me permission to have functional tea set decorations throughout our kitchen, so I will likely be buying tea wares as much for art as regular usage for the foreseeable future.

I would be interested in any feedback on the teaset or yunomi pair, in regards to history or experience people have had with similar items. Thanks!

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Apr 23rd 15 7:57 am
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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by Alex » Apr 23rd 15 7:57 am

That's a nice looking set!

Congradz

Rather then getting a pitcher perhaps look at a larger tall yunomi instead. Like those on Artisticnippon for instance. Have fun :D

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Apr 23rd 15 2:24 pm
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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by debunix » Apr 23rd 15 2:24 pm

You have selected some lovely pieces to start with!

The only suggestion I would make here is one that took me a while to realize--courtesy of a lovely chawan plus a dislike of matcha: it is perfectly fine to drink tea brewed in small teapots from larger cups and even chawan. I often brew up in one of my small pots and take 2 or 3 infusions' worth of tea with me in a large cup or tea bowl to another room where I settle in and enjoy. It doesn't work with very delicate teas that must be drunk immediately after infusing--early brews of young sheng puerh, and some greens and white teas--but is fine with most oolongs and shu puerh and later infusions of most greens and shengs.

This gives you an even larger variety of pieces to dream about and choose from.

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Apr 23rd 15 2:42 pm
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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by HEEGZ » Apr 23rd 15 2:42 pm

Thanks for the comments. I am really looking forward to making my first teas with a houhin and yuzamashi combo.

I have been looking at chawan and taller yunomi both. I haven't really seen these in person, so am thinking of ways of trying to figure out which way to go. I may just go both directions though... It seems like it might be hard to walk from my kitchen to my family room (by the TV) with a low and six inch wide chawan without spilling my tea...

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Apr 23rd 15 11:40 pm
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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by debunix » Apr 23rd 15 11:40 pm

It does take a bit of concentration, but most yunomi are rather thin walled, and if you're brewing puerh or oolong with water just off the boil, the tall yunomi, when filled, can be quite the hot potato. I have a couple of yunomi that get less use than I'd prefer because of this.

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Apr 24th 15 4:24 am
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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by HEEGZ » Apr 24th 15 4:24 am

I just got done browsing artisticnippon... I can't think of a quicker way to part with several hundred dollars. I finally had to quit the site before I impulse purchased something. 8)

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Apr 24th 15 4:13 pm
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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by Chip » Apr 24th 15 4:13 pm

... down the rabbit hole he goes! :mrgreen:

Beautiful new set! Enjoy for many years and countless cups of tea!

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Apr 26th 15 3:15 am
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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by HEEGZ » Apr 26th 15 3:15 am

Well, both sets have arrived, along with some new Japanese teas from Harney & Sons. This is quite a treat and the tea tastes great when brewed up in the houhin. My only complaint would be the small sizes of everything. It serves to help me slow down and focus on repetition but it is a rough transition from 12oz mugs of black tea with milk and sugar. 8)

Also, the meoto yunomi pair is phenomenal and they look much nicer in person than they did on ebay photos. I got a real bargain on them and they are a nice size for drinking a larger amount of tea if I want to leave the kitchen to drink... Now, at some point I need to get my macro lens out and my lightbox and take some proper photos of them for you guys. Might have to wait a month until school gets out though.

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Apr 26th 15 3:24 am
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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by HEEGZ » Apr 26th 15 3:24 am

Chip wrote:... down the rabbit hole he goes! :mrgreen:

Beautiful new set! Enjoy for many years and countless cups of tea!
Yeah... I nearly spent about $200 on a hagiyaki set today. I am in a state of strong desire for cups with a pure white interior so I can see the actual color of the teas I'm drinking. I may just buy a single cup, or pair of yunomi. I have a bunch of birthday money and sold some other hobby stuff, but hard to decide at the moment and I try not to rush into decisions.

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Apr 26th 15 3:43 am
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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by Chip » Apr 26th 15 3:43 am

Patience is wise, especially when starting out.

Two things ... the set you bought is often used for gyokuro, thus the very small cups. For sencha I tend to want to use around 3 ounce Hagi cups, but will use a lot of different sizes and types.

You mentioned glass pitchers. I have used a cheap glass pitcher for as long as I have been into Japanese teas. I like to view the tea in the pitcher before pouring into cups. I literally paid 2.99 USD for it.

Ok, a third thing. Especially when using smaller teaware, preheating really helps!

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Apr 26th 15 4:06 am
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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by HEEGZ » Apr 26th 15 4:06 am

Yes, I was aware of the small size, it is just a hard adjustment to drinking only an ounce or two of tea at a time. I actually make three small cups at once per steeping. I don't mind it, but it annoys my wife who doesn't like that I am tied to the kitchen, kettle, and counter while brewing multiple times. This is why I ordered the larger pair.

Certainly the houhin makes excellent sencha and bancha when I brew them similar to how you would make gyo. I am still experimenting with times and temperatures, but for my first week of drinking japanese green tea it tastes phenomenal. Tonight I have tried steeping bancha twice in a row and alternating between both of the larger cups before drinking. This fills both cups 2/3 full, but it was very weak. I should have doubled the tea leaves since I was doubling the quantity made. Will give it another go tomorrow.

I am drinking some genmaicha now. I brewed it really hot, and both steepings back to back with a shorter time for second steeping. I switched to my kyusu so that the houhin wouldn't burn my fingers with the near boiling water. It worked really well, and I am enjoying how the Japanese method of tea making makes it easier for me to control temperature and the variables involved. Not to mention everything looks great.

Apr 26th 15 4:56 am
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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by BW85 » Apr 26th 15 4:56 am

HEEGZ wrote:Yes, I was aware of the small size, it is just a hard adjustment to drinking only an ounce or two of tea at a time. I actually make three small cups at once per steeping. I don't mind it, but it annoys my wife who doesn't like that I am tied to the kitchen, kettle, and counter while brewing multiple times. This is why I ordered the larger pair.

.
You need an electric kettle or a portable burner, then you can make tea anywhere in your house and no longer be tied to the kitchen :wink:

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Apr 26th 15 5:36 am
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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by HEEGZ » Apr 26th 15 5:36 am

I do have an electric kettle. I just tend to spill hot water here and there, so it is easiest to clean up at the kitchen counter. I might try branching out a bit.

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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by debunix » Apr 26th 15 5:15 pm

My office brewstations have a towel or tablecloth under the electric kettle and the tea trays to catch the spills that the tea tray misses.....

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Re: New Tea Set and Yunomi

by HEEGZ » Apr 28th 15 7:02 pm

Quick update. I have been brewing tea at work (a high school) for the past couple of weeks using my new kyusu. It is one of the cheap blue glazed ones from Den's Tea. Well... One of my students offered to clean it for me, while I was helping a different student. Once he was done cleaning the kyusu, he slammed it on the counter, cracking it completely in half. No one was hurt, just the pot. I was expecting it to last longer than a couple weeks, but what can I say? At least it had the chance to brew a variety of teas in its short life before moving on.

I think I'll pick up another cheap pot for work soon, though I may go for another houhin, since I really have enjoyed using my white one so far. Not likely to buy a second blue glazed kyusu, so am trying to decide what to get next. Everything I like really well is pretty expensive, and the odds of them breaking at school are pretty high (obviously). So trying to figure out where to go next.

In other news, my kids really enjoy green tea, and it has been fun watching them participate. I cleaned up my gazebo and I am taking my electric kettle out there now, plus a tea tray and am more mobile now. No more being tied to the kitchen, I just had to break my old habits and it is relaxing drinking tea in some of the more comfortable parts of my house and yard now.