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Tea Monologues

An online repository of tea-related musings, monologues and knowledge.

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Unglazed Teapots from Tokoname

Unglazed flat style kyusu from Tokoname, Japan

My personal collection of teapots includes mostly unglazed styles, and those from the Tokoname region tend to be my favorites to brew in and drink from. Like a cast iron pan, unglazed teapots develop a personality the more you brew with them and it is lovely to experience a teapot patina with time. They become a physical diary of your tea time, wearing stains where you have brewed, poured, or sipped from the most.

Also to be said is the famous clay of Tokoname. Since the Edo period (1603-1867), Tokoname has been a major production region for unglazed Japanese teaware, and today's Tokoname potters uphold longstanding traditions of form, methodology, and function. Tokoname clay is known for its high mineral content, which produces a softer, rounder brew that deepens over time due to the porous nature of the clay.

I am pleased to share a new collection of flat bottomed kyusus from Aichi Prefecture, Tokoname, Japan. They are from the Gyokko Kiln, the same ceramics studio that made my personal flat kyusu, which I frequently use for tea tastings and demonstrations.

Black (Kokudei) hira unglazed kyusu
Red kyusu from Tokoname, Japan

Flat bottomed kyusus (Hira meaning "flat" in Japanese) are typically used for brewing high grade sencha and gyokuro. The large body enables the leaves more room to fully extract and also cools the water more quickly, accentuating sweet and umami notes in the brew.

The wide mouth makes for easy clean up and these kyusus are the right size for a cup of tea (6-8oz) or a tasting for two. Each kyusu is handmade on a pottery wheel, so they will vary slightly in shape or size. The colors are just as striking in person.

Stone-colored unglazed kyusu from Tokoname, Japan

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