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Monday, September 16, 2013

Japanese Teapot - Kyusu

A kyusu is the traditional Japanese teapot for preparation of green tea. It exists as a side handle can (yokode kyusu), with handle or with handle.

Japanese teapot made of clay - kyusu

The kyusu (Japanese:急须for earthen teapot) is the traditional Japanese  and specially teapot for green tea designed for this preparation. It is usually made ​​from clay for a volume of 150 to 400 ml, and often comes from the Tokoname region. Kyusus exist in three variants:
  • Side handle pitchers:  yokode kyusu  (横手急须)
  • with rear grip:  ushirode kyusu  (后手急须)
  • with handle:  uwade kyusu  (上手急须).
Noble Kyusus be from natural clay , manufactured, which is particularly rich in certain minerals and are usually handmade. This Kyusus have for the most beneficial properties of tea flavor . Tea connoisseurs for the purchase of a "real" kyusu, which also becomes more beautiful over time is worth.Unfortunately, almost 99% of teapots made ​​of cheap, artificially mixed audio are now produced, which provide flavorful no advantage.

History of the pot side handle

The development of the side handle cans for tea infusion was already Ending the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). Held in China. For the preparation of powdered a particular teapot was used with a side handle.Interestingly, these side handle cans are used for the preparation of medicinal herbs in China today. The Chinese model has been clearly adapted over time in the Japanese tea culture and developed. So finally emerged from the Yi Xing Teapot (Cha Hu, 茶壶) and the so-called 汤 瓶 today kyusu (急 须). The side handle is mounted on most teapots at an angle of 90 degrees, but is manufactured individually according to different designer.

Built-in strainer

A special feature is a kyusu its integrated filter. The filter size is specifically designed for green tea. If too coarse pores not only small but also large floating and small leaf parts would arrive when poured into the teacup. If the pores are too small to get a little flavor and too little substance in the form of suspended particles in the healthy teacup. In addition, the screen can be easily clogged when pouring.

Especially suitable for multiple infusions

Another special feature is its large opening at the top that allows the infused tea light and easy to dispose of. However, the striking feature at first glance is a kyusu her side handle. This has several advantages over a conventional Henkel. First, the tea leaves much easier artful and controlled pour into cups and without the mess. On the other side of the handle is easier on the wrist while pouring. Even with very heavy cans. A kyusu is especially important for friends of the traditional preparation with multiple infusions, so almost a must.

Correct pouring with kyusu

When pouring from the kyusu in several teacups should be noted that the tea is poured into different rounds. This means that initially all the cups are filled only a small part but same steady pace. Without interruption then it continues with the pouring in reverse order and refilled about an equal amount in all cups. Yet another round again in alternate order and the total amount of content Kyusus should be in the cups. In the kyusu no more water should be available now. Subject the tea leaves for a few more time in the water, no further infusion would be more successful. The uniform pouring in several steps to ensure a similar composition as the tea cups in all. For example, between the first and fifth cup from a kyusu time flies when you pour in the tea moves on and changes its composition. 

Nature and quality of the sound affect the taste 

The Japanese tea connoisseurs quickly realized that the quality and type of clay exert an important influence on the taste of green tea prepared in the Tonkanne. The highly mineralized material chemically reacts with the minerals of the water taken for the preparation. Each key leg holds different amounts of iron, zinc, copper, chromium, manganese, etc. But not only the composition of the different keys, but also the processing method of the sound each lead to a different composition of the ingredients and thus to a different flavor influence. For example, including black clay holds much manganese, but the only emerges through the burning of oxygen supply. A particularly important factor is the amount of iron, the firing temperature and the degree of saturation with oxygen. One speaks of the activation of the iron. So also look the same clay pots can have different effects. But most Tonkannen (99% estimated) today are produced from artificially mixed sound, the taste in any way come close to Kyusus of artisanal distilleries use natural sound. Natural tone has a significantly greater porosity (almost twice as high melting point of the natural iron) and a particular crystal structure. Particularly good distilleries create from a wide variety of tones to Kyusus true works of art that are very conducive to the taste of green tea. Are particularly famous master of this particular production forms Banko Yaki, Tokoname Yaki Yaki and Mumyoi. 

The production of natural clay

(; City in the southwest of Gifu Pref, Chubu region 大 垣) under the name onco Yaki (温故 焼) produced the first Kyusus from the green tea so important for the preparation material of clay were in Japan in 1859 in Ogaki. Yaki (焼) is Japanese for burning. They were first made in Japan using a potter's wheel, but the basics of the quality and characteristics of the keys come from China. High quality red clay has even been used in China for its mineral content to stop bleeding.To date, the Kyusus are produced in the same traditional way. Particularly good qualities are still made by hand. It quickly established themselves four important centers of production of teapots made of clay, namely along in the middle of Japan running along tectonic lines JMTL and ISTL in their surroundings clay is found in particularly high mineral composition:
  • Banko Yaki (万古焼, Mie Prefecture): purple clay (yellow in the original form), high firing temperature and unsaturated fire lead to the activation of the iron content, great material surface (porous), the tea is much milder and gentler, the scent is slightly reduced and the taste richer and lasting. Especially suitable for mild teas. Highest quality and most respected in Japan.
  • Onco (温故焼, Gifu)
  • Tokoname Yaki (常滑焼, Aichi Prefecture),
  • Mumyoi Yaki (无名异焼, Niigata Prefecture): strong mineral- red clay (the more iron the redder), mixed with one part yellow tone for the sake of flexibility. The clay, after firing hardened in a special procedure by pressing by hand (Namamigaki). The tea flavor is extremely soft and creamy texture. Another by a special firing process loses the sound of iron and isblack . Black clay teapots produce a somewhat nobler taste than red clay.