Tezumi Insights

Obubu - Sencha of the Gushing Brook: Review

  Introduction This asamushi sencha from Obubu boasts a round and vibrant spring taste, with gentle bitterness and astringency providing structure to a refreshing, somewhat fruity body. Saemidori is an incredibly popular early-budding cultivar, derived from a cross between the ubiquitous Yabukita and the umami-rich Asatsuyu, and is known for its excellent taste and aroma, along with the vibrant green hue for which it is named. Background Harvest Date: May 2021 Wazuka, Kyoto Shading: Rouji - unshaded Cultivar: Saemidori Steaming: Asamushi Producer: Obubu First Impressions Unshaded senchas are rather atypical in Kyoto prefecture, where shaded teas such as gyokuro and...

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Natsume - A Guide to the Ceremonial Tea Caddy

If you’ve ever attended or watched a Japanese tea ceremony, you’ll have noticed that the matcha is kept in a small lacquered container. Called natsume (棗) or usuchaki (薄茶器) in Japanese, these tea caddies are an integral part of a host’s toriawase (取り合わせ) - the art of carefully selecting utensils to suit a particular occasion or to invoke the desired atmosphere or balance. Here we’ll take a closer look at these simple yet elegant vessels.   What is a Natsume? Natsume are lacquered wooden containers which are primarily used to store and present the matcha used for making usucha (薄茶...

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A Guide to Chasen - The All-important Matcha Whisk

The chasen (茶筅-tea whisk) is perhaps the most indispensable tool when it comes to making matcha, as none of the alternatives can compete with its ability to evenly mix the tea and create a thick yet fine mousse-like foam. Today, most matcha whisks are mass-produced outside of Japan. However, the highest quality chasen are still painstakingly made from locally grown bamboo in the small village of Takayama (高山) in northwest Nara prefecture, where they have been produced for over 500 years. Today, there are only 18 chasen masters remaining, who are carrying on their families’ traditions.Here, we’ll take a deeper...

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Introductory Guide to Tea Ceremony Utensils

There are many unique and beautiful pieces of equipment used during a Japanese tea ceremony, each with a specific purpose and storied history. Usually called dougu (道具 - utensils/equipment) by practitioners of  tea, this equipment is often used exclusively for chanoyu and as such can be confusing for those not familiar with the intricacies of tea ceremonies. Here, we’ll take a brief introductory look at some of the most important utensils and how they are used. 

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What Makes a Bowl a Chawan?

What elevates a bowl from an everyday object to the lofty heights of a chawan? The answer is simple: the act of preparing and drinking tea from it. In this sense any bowl can become a chawan, as long as one can whisk tea in it and drink from it. The more important question then, is what makes a bowl a good chawan? Why do tea enthusiasts and ceremony practitioners spend dozens, hundreds, even thousands on chawan when a simple soup bowl could suffice? Let’s take a brief look at the design and history of these bowls to find out why they are so treasured.

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