What is a Japanese Kyusu Teapot
The Japanese kyusu teapot is the perfect tool for brewing loose leaf green tea. It has a wide base, built in filter and a hollow side handle for pouring. The wide base allows the leaves plenty of space to open up and release their flavor into the water. The filter automatically sifts out the leaves and the side handle makes it easy to pour the tea with just a simple turn of the wrist, without burning your hands.
History of the Kyusu
The Japanese kyusu teapot actually originated in China but like many other things related to tea, it eventually made its way to Japan. The most common way to consume tea in medieval Japan was in powder form. This early form of matcha was made by breaking tea leaves off of a brick, grinding them into a powder and mixing them into water. This time period in Japan was the golden age of the Japanese tea ceremony, where matcha was prepared with a variety of tools and according to a strict set of rules.
Eventually, people grew tired of all the steps needed to prepare matcha, and wanted a simpler way to consume tea. In 1738, a man known as Nagatani Soen came along and discovered that by steaming, rolling and drying the tea leaves, they could lock in their flavor until they were infused into hot water. The japanese kyusu teapot then became the most logical accessory to use for brewing this new “sencha” tea.
Overtime, different designs of the kyusu have been perfected, and now there are a few different types. Later on, we will discuss the different clay kyusu teapot types and we’ll also discuss the best kyusu teapot for each occasion.
Which Teas can you brew with a Kyusu teapot
The clay kyusu is the best tool for preparing most types of Japanese green tea, but we will briefly cover a few of them here. All of these teas are just waiting to be prepared in your new Japanese kyusu teapot.
SenchaShop our Sencha
Sencha is the most common type of tea in Japan, made from tea leaves that have been steamed, rolled and dried.
GyokuroShop our Gyokuro
The so-called “Emperor’s tea” made from tea leaves that have been shaded for 3 weeks in order to maximize their sweet and savory flavor.
Roasted TeasShop our Roasted Teas
These teas have been roasted during the production process to give them warmer notes of coffee, caramel and chocolate.
Stem TeasShop our Stem Teas
These teas are made with a combination of tea leaves and stems, giving them a mild straw flavor and a lower caffeine content.
Oolong TeasShop our Oolong teas
These partially oxidized teas are quite rare in Japan, but they produce a beautiful sweet and floral flavor.
BanchaShop our Bancha
Bancha is made from the older leaves of the tea harvest, while most premium Japanese green teas are made from the younger tea sprouts
Explaining the different types of tokoname kyusu
We have 2 main types of tokoname kyusu to choose from, and they are broken down by color. The color doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the performance of each teapot, but it is interesting how each is produced.
The red kyusu teapot is made out of unoxidized clay. It only needs to be fired twice, so it will be less expensive compared to the black tokoname kyusu, all else being equal. Our red Japanese kyusu is a great teapot for beginners because it has a solid glaze to it. This means it can be used to prepare multiple different types of teas, without the flavors interfering with one another.
The black kyusu teapot is made from oxidized clay that has been fired 3 times, making it more of a premium teapot. This kyusu has a much lighter glaze to it, making it more suitable for preparing one tea type like gyokuro. If you prepare one type of tea over and over, the teapot will become seasoned and enhance a lot of the tasting notes of that tea, almost like a skillet.
Kyusu teapot filters
Another way to find the best kyusu teapot for a particular type of tea is to break it down by the type of filter. The two main types of filters in the kyusu are metal and clay, and each comes with its own benefit which we will dive into in a moment.
Metal Filter in a Kyusu Teapot
The metal filter is more common in clay teapots intended for beginners like the red tokoname kyusu. With certain teas, especially fukamushi or deep steamed tea, which can have smaller leaf particles. The only downside is that some seasoned tea drinkers claim that the metal can alter the flavor of the tea itself.
Clay Filter in a Kyusu Teapot
This is the best kyusu teapot if you are more of a Japanese tea connoisseur. This clay filter was carved directly into the teapot as it is being made and as a result, the tea is only in contact with clay, no metal. Some serious tea drinkers claim this makes a big difference, but if you are new to the world of Japanese green tea, you may not notice it as much.
How to brew tea with the Japanese kyusu teapot?
The Japanese teapot kyusu is quite easy to use. All you need to do is add 5 grams of leaves to the teapot, pour in 150ml of water and let it sit undisturbed for 1-2 minutes. If you need more specific brewing guidelines in terms of time and temperature, you can find that on the product page of each tea type.
Benefits of Kyusu
There are quite a few advantages the Japanese kyusu teapot has over something like a tea strainer . For example, when you brew tea inside a strainer, the tea leaves are cramped inside, and they really aren’t able to open up and fully release their flavor into the water. This problem is even worse when it comes to teabags, as they have even less space to move around when they are brewing. The wide base of the kyusu teapot gives the leaves the space they need to create richer, more flavorful infusions. In addition to the shape of the kyusu, the clay itself can have a big impact on the overall flavor of the tea you brew. When you brew the tea in a clay kyusu, the tea is interacting with the clay, which can actually soften the taste profile. It can even add a little extra minerality to the taste of the tea. If you like the sound of this, we recommend to go for a less glazed tokoname kyusu like the black kyusu.
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