About our Japanese teapots and tea sets
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Types of Japanese teapot
Teapots of every kind are made all over Japan. Specialized pottery shops sell all shapes and sizes, some made of clay, some of porcelain, some earthenware rustic styles, others quite fanciful that will make you smile. Since the varieties are endless, you could easily, in the quest to uncover the ideal one, spend countless pleasant hours. Some tea lovers are said to favor certain styles for certain types of tea, but it really is up to the individual to decide on his or her own preference.
KyusuKyusu (急須 in Japanese) is a traditional Japanese teapot mainly used for brewing green tea. The common misconception is that a kyusu always has a side handle. However, the word "kyusu" merely means "teapot", even though in common usage kyusu usually does refer to a teapot with a side handle.
Yokode Kyusu are teapots with the handles placed on the side of the pot. Thanks to the design of these pots, it is easy to pour out every last single drop of tea. It is the teapot that is the most commonly found in Japan, in a wide range of price, from the collector’s item to the cheap-everyday teapot. The most famous kyusu teapots are Tokoname teapots and Banko teapots.
Ushirode Kyusu have the handle at the back of the pot, just like teapots in other parts of the world. These pots are easy to use whether one is right or left handed and are particularly suited to those who are used to using western style teapots. What will truly differs them with an actual western-style teapot will be the patterns, the design on the tea pots that will be Japanese.
Arita porcelain teapots are also really famous because of the great quality of the porcelain and the traditional Japanese design (contrast of blue and white).
Tetsubin (鉄瓶) or Japanese cast iron teapots (cast-iron tea pots) were originally kitchen items used for boiling water and brewing tea. As infused tea-drinking became popular during the mid-19th century, tetsubin became as status symbols and were no longer viewed as simple kitchen items. The two prefectures best known for tetsubin are Iwate, which is considered to produce the best designs and quality at a reasonable price, and Yamagata, which is best known for the handmade tetsubin and changama that are preferred by the tea ceremony masters. The size varies a lot, and many have unusual shapes, making them popular with collectors. A relatively small tetsubin may hold around 0.5 litres of water; large ones may hold around 5 liters.
As you can imagine, the prices too, varies widely as you have antiques and every day-use. The Japanese cast iron pots have usually a pouring spout and handle crossing over the top, used for boiling and pouring hot water for drinking purposes, such as for making tea. The water is appreciated as a dietary source of iron as it is released into the water. The historical origin of the tetsubin is not certain. At least one authoritative Japanese source states that it developed from the spouted and handled water kettle called tedorigama that was already being used in chanoyu in the era of Sen no Rikyū (1522-91). Cast-iron teapots are traditionally heated over a charcoal fire. In the Japanese art of chanoyu, the special portable brazier for this is the binkake (瓶掛). Tetsubin are often elaborately decorated with relief designs on the outside. There is also a kind of relatively small cast iron pot that resembles a tetsubin but is glazed with enamel on the inside in order to lend itself to making brewed tea, and could be referred to as an iron kyūsu (急須) or teapot. Kyūsu often come with a tea strainer that fits inside. Although not a collector’s item, these ‘tetsubin’ are the most practical for an everyday use.
Cold infusion bottle
Cold infusion bottle or teapot are also very popular in summer for making delicious and healthy cold green tea.
Types of tea strainers on teapots:
Removable tea strainer: These make it easy to clean the pot. When brewed tea still remains in a pot, you can take out the tea leaves and can prevent continued brewing of the tea. There is no chance of pouring problems because of clogged strainers like with fixed tea strainers. However, the brewing space is not as large as fixed strainer teapots. Therefore, it does not brew quite as well as fixed strainer teapots. Some tea connoisseurs feel that the stainless steel mesh affects the taste of the tea and this is why they recommend built-in ceramic strainers, such as those found in high quality teapots (see below) when brewing particularly fine teas. On our website, you will find some teapots with these removable strainers but as large as the teapots in order to increase the brewing space.
Fixed tea strainer: They are in-built strainers which are attached during the manufacturing process. Having the strainer attached to the spout means that there is more space in the pot to enable the tea-leaves to "jump". The size of the holes in the strainer varies according to the age of the pot and the fashion of the time. For example, in the 1940's the dominant trend was for strainers with fairly large perforations. As finer, powdery tea became popular in the 1970's the perforations became markedly smaller, only to return to their original larger size, when larger leaves again became popular at the beginning of this century. These give a larger space for tea leaves to move around and brew better. There are a couple types of fixed tea strainers. There is the metal mesh strainer which you cannot clean behind. Then, there is the ceramic mesh. The mesh is coarser than metal mesh. Therefore, small pieces of leaves can slip through. The dimensions of the strainer are smaller than other types. Therefore, there is a chance of clogged mesh with tea leaves when pouring.