So I found the perfect okiraku (casual and easy) tea cup for lazy tea time
As much as I like to insist on brewing teas with the right method, I do get lazy and want to just have a quick and easy way to make tea... just before going to bed or when you just want to couch potato on lazy melancholy Sunday night....
I have been trying different things.. Tea bag teas are easy, but, once you are hooked on brewing with loose tealeaves, it’s hard to go back..... So I have been looking for good alternative. On this past trip back to Arita, the ceramic producing region, I purchased one interesting teacup. It’s glass teacup, curved at the top, with cover, and ceramic strainer fitted inside. I bought something similar a few years ago here in Canada, and did not quite work well, as it over flow as you pour water over the tea, and did not quite strain the tea well....
I just brewed my fragrant icho tea with this cup, and and.......it works perfectly. Put about 3 g (1 heaping tea spoon) of tea leaves in the tea strainer, pour about 200ml of hot water which comes up to about 9/10 of the way to the tip of the cup. Cover to wait for 1 ½ min. You can see the watercolor gradually changes. Remove the cover, put the cover upside down and use as a strainer folder. Take the strainer slowly out, shake off excess water a bit, then place on the cover you just put upside down on the side. Strainer has a small legs to allow bit of excess water coming from the tealeaves, just enough, and fits perfectly, so it just stands elegantly. You can see the tealeaves, as well to enjoy the aroma from the tealeaves. Tea cup is designed well, the curved tip traps the fragrance of the tea until you bring it to your lips, blow off a bit to cool down, then boom, the nice aroma of icho tea fills the air. I know the traditional Chinese way to wash the tea leaves, and first brew is thrown out, but, we in Kyushu, we treasure every drop and scent of the tea, and aroma from the first brew is most pungent, you must enjoy it. The tealeaves are gently steamed and settled in the strainer while you sip the first brew. Second brew comes out softer with slightly different tone of fragrance and sweetness in the brew. What I brewed today was our Haru Ran Ran, the most fragrant icho kamairi in stock, but with very soft taste. Perfect for the day like today, rainy, muggy, kind of unpleasant, waiting for the sun to come out.... the abundant flowery aroma of this tea helped me relax and soft tasting brew was just perfect for mindless pre lunch tea time!
Name: Haru Ranran
Variety: Icho (bi hakko kamairi)
Origin: Aoi, Shizuoka
Tea maker: Tatsuji Takahashi
Harvest: spring 2014
Plant variety: Harumeguri
Haru has powerful and abundant sweet wild orchid fragrance, with a short finish on the palate, and almost no acidity, tannin, or umami present. This is a tea for someone just wants to enjoy the sweet aroma of tea. This plant was originally adopted from Taiwan, and took over 10 year to adjust to the soil and the enviroronment of Shizuoka. The plant stands like a supermodel shooting out tall bunches of new leaves unlike other slow growing shorter Japanese varieties. Ultimate ephemeral "catch me if you can" beauty! Shake the tea leaves briskly to awaken their wild fragrance.