I bought two Toumei Kyusu (clear teapots) from the Ginza branch of Senchado – one for a friend and one for myself. I regretted it after a few uses; now that I only have one Toumei Kyusu left at home, I think about it all the time, especially on the long nights when I’m working overtime. That’s one thing I’ve learned: a handy tool should be kept readily at hand.
My love of sencha emanates from encounters with a perfect cup of tea at the right time – like dozing off on a train and opening my eyes, first to the haze and slight fear of missing the view, then to the gradual realisation of a landscape blooming in front of me.
One such encounter happened on a cold winter day. I had just caught the last train from Narita Airport to Tokyo city centre, but I was already late for a friend. Several interchanges later, I found myself navigating the neon streets of a foreign city, hungry and desperate to find my way to the friend. I got there, half sorry and half anxious, but immediately rescued by a cup of hot tea from my host.
If you have tried sencha, you’d want to make a brew at home – that’s when you realise what a sophisticated art it is. It’s not enough to master the brewing time and temperature; depending on the ratio of tea leaves to water, your brew could still turn out either too strong or too weak. All of this is especially challenging to those of us brought up in Hong Kong’s “Yum Cha” culture – but not with the intuitive design of the Toumei Kyusu. The best thing about Toumei Kyusu is that it takes water measurement out of the equation; all you have to do is fill up the teapot – that’s 120g of water – and put in 4g of tea leaves to make one person’s cup of tea. Once this process becomes a habit, you’ll gradually internalise the finer details such as temperature and ratio. To watch as the brew turns darker and unlocks its flavour, I think, is our great tribute to mother nature.
Toumei Kyusu is a transparent, one-person brewing vessel fitted with a stainless steel fine mesh strainer. Made of unbreakable polyester resin, it maintains the tea’s warmth while remaining cool to the touch, so there is no need for a traditional side handle. Manifested in this practical yet minimalist, modern twist of Kyusu teapots is the spirit championed in tea ceremonies: to listen to one’s body and respond with spontaneity.