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Aug 30th 17 3:22 pm
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What a difference a teapot makes, even a handicapped one

by victoria3 » Aug 30th 17 3:22 pm

Teapot shapes and sizes has been peripherally on my mind lately, so here are a few reflections. A few days ago after traveling all day, I woke up the next morning too tired to unpack my traveling Hokujo 250ml stoneware teapot, so I used a Hario Chamaru 450ml glass teapot that was in front of me instead. I had purchased the Hario pot as a stand-in for my visits to Annapolis, because of the versatility (or neutrality) of glass with different teas. Fiji water also happened to be here from my last visit, so I used that with HY Chen's roasted High Mountain oolong. Same proportions as always; 12gr/220ml/under boil water/60sec. just different teapot shapes and materials. The results were really sub-par using the Hario, as compared to using filtered tap water in Santa Monica and Hokujo's pot. Unfortunately the Hario's stainless filter holds loose tea in a smaller area than the pot, restricting rolled leaves to the center of the pot, while the glass pot is somewhat horizontal, leaving a lot of water outside the scope of tea leaves. I could remove the stainless filter for rolled oolong leaves to float freely but that would leave a large surface area of hot water exposed on top (that would cool faster) as I would only fill half the pot.

The next morning with no time to enjoy a roasted oolong, I grabbed some Rosamonte Mate that I've had here for years, and did a fast steep in the Hario glass pot. Perfect glass pot for Mate's very strong flavored small straight stems, the steeps were good.

Today I'm happily back to enjoying aromatic roasted oolongs in Hokujo's pot, ideal because the rolled leaves slowly unfurl in this rounded pot over several steeps. It seems most rolled oolongs like to be hugged by the pot, allowing aromatics and flavor to be released slowly over the first few steeps.

Here is the Hario glass pot with Rosamonte Mate (great results), and Hokujo's pot with borrowed lid from Shimizu Ken's pot. I'm slowly repairing the broken Hokujo lid with JB-weld, luckily the borrowed lid fits.
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Hario Chamaru 450ml glass teapot, notice stainless filter is much smaller than walls of pot, leaving a lot of water away from actual leaves.
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Sep 22nd 17 4:24 pm
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Re: What a difference a teapot makes, even a handicapped one

by Steve@Adagio » Sep 22nd 17 4:24 pm

Excellent post. My preference is always been Yokode Kyusu pots for Japanese teas. I feel the ease of use through design and the compact pot makes for a great experience!

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Sep 22nd 17 8:22 pm
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Location: santa monica, california, usa

Re: What a difference a teapot makes, even a handicapped one

by victoria3 » Sep 22nd 17 8:22 pm

Steve@Adagio wrote: Excellent post. My preference is always been Yokode Kyusu pots for Japanese teas. I feel the ease of use through design and the compact pot makes for a great experience!
Yes, Yokode (side handle) kyusu handle really nicely, although I like to switch it up with Ushirode (back handle) kyusu and Dobin / Uwade (top handle) pots too. Lately, I've been stacking the first two infusions in the morning and using a Dobin as a pitcher with a really textural vine handle. Very wabi sabi

After posting the reflections above on stoneware vs glass pots, I realized I didn't mention that glass does not retain heat very well so is not ideal for oolongs in general, since they enjoy very hot water. Hokujo's stoneware brings out aromatics and body really really well.