Unless you prepare matcha, you’ll need a teapot to brew all the various kinds of green tea (sencha, gyokuro, tamaryokucha, etc.). Teapots for Japanese green tea are quite different from what most people use for black tea, whether in loose leaves or bags. So let’s give them a closer look!
In Japan, teapots for green tea are called kyusu (not to be confused with Kyushu!), are usually made in clay and have a long side handle perfect for serving your precious beverage.
Because you should use the exact quantity of water needed, nothing more, nothing less, kyusu come in different sizes depending on the number of cups you prepare on average… and the type of tea.
Remember that gyokuro and sencha don’t use the same quantity of water! So many green tea lovers will have several kyusu. The smallest are made for two cups (160cc) and the largest can contain up to 380cc of water.
As they are made for loose leaves, a fine mesh is also integrated inside the pot. Some feature a ceramic mesh, directly built into the pot, others will use a stainless-steel one that can be replaced. But no tea strainers! Green tea leaves need room to expand, otherwise the tea turns bitter.
That’s for the general design of Japanese kyusu. Let’s talk now about design, craftsmanship and the amazing kyusu tradition coming from Tokoname city, in the Aichi prefecture, not far from Nagoya.
Being one of the oldest kiln in Japan, Tokoname has a millennia-long history of pottery making, even before tea was introduced to Japan. The first Tokoname kyusu were produced in the early 19th century. Today, « Tokoname yaki » (Tokoname pottery) is famous all around the world, in particular for its teapots. At IKKYU, like nearly all tea producers and professionals in Japan, we use Tokoname kyusu to brew our daily green tea cups.
The variety of designs and shapes is simply amazing. From the most simple ones, with their trademark red color (about 30 USD), to the most intricate, complex, hand-made designs (up to 350 USD), there is something for everyone, for every need. Round, oval, flat — black, brown, red — plain or with engraved patterns or hand-painted decorations: you name it.
The color differences come from the minerals in the clay: iron is sensitive to baking temperature and oxygen levels. Change them and you will get red or black from the same clay.
When it comes to kyusu, you will find only Tokoname teapots on our IKKYU online shop. We plan to offer a new selection in 2019, so stay tuned. And as always, if you are looking something in particular or have a special request, contact us by email or via our online chat box.
Thanks to our partner Yamakiikai in Tokoname, we will be delighted to help you find the perfect kyusu for your favorite green tea from Kyushu!