⟨ I Know I'll Often Stop and Think About Them ⟩

15-Unfold Naturally

Toumei Kyusu (Clear Teapot) by Green Brewing

Words & Photography / Holun Tang
Translation / Nicole Go

我在東京銀座區的茶葉店「煎茶堂東京」一口氣買了兩個透明急須,打算一個送人,一個自用。回來用了幾次後,我便馬上後悔。送了別人,手上只剩一個,把它留在家,偏偏在加班的晚上我會特別想念這個茶壺。好用的東西嘛,最好是可以順手拈來,離自己不要太遠。

跟日本茶結緣,都是因為剛好遇上一杯適時的茶,像不小心睡去,以為自己錯過了,一睜開眼剛好看見那片烙在心田的風景。

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.

其中一次是一個歲末隆冬的晚上,我總算趕上從成田機場到東京市中心的末班火車,一看手錶,卻已比跟朋友相約的時間晚了許多。換乘幾次車,饑腸轆轆的我花盡僅餘力氣在陌生街頭認路,半夜終於摸上朋友家門。一邊不好意思,心裡仍有餘悸,突然一杯熱騰騰的茶遞到我手中。啊!這真是無比滋味又暖到心脾的茶!

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.

嚐過日本茶的真味,到自己想動手泡一杯,便發現毫不簡單。譬如沖泡時間和熱水溫度都對了,怎麼茶還是太濃或太淡?原來是茶葉和水的比例不對。一連串學問要重頭認識,對於被港式飲茶文化耳濡目染的我們尤其困難。以簡單易用為設計原意的透明急須可謂搔到像我這種不懂茶的人的癢處,最大的賣點是它不用量度水的份量,總之把水倒滿就是120克,只要記住茶葉放4克就好。習慣了會慢慢記得水溫、比例這些瑣碎的事情。看著茶的顏色慢慢染深,讓茶葉舒展它的最佳風味,我想也是對大自然的最大尊敬。

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.

壺身一體成型的雙層設計看上去通透明亮,使用者不會燙手,手柄因此省略,同時有良好的保溫作用,散發著不多不少的現代簡單美,這些都有賴樹脂這種耐高溫又堅固的物料。放下傳統茶具那高深形象的包袱,不懷有太多目的,只是隨時聆聽好自己的身體需要,適時回應,不也是茶道的一種嗎?

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.