Friday, November 29, 2013

Den's Tea: Shudei Kyusu, A Tea Gear Review

Hello all, it is time for another Tea Gear Review! *excited cheering from the audience* yes yes, I know these are exciting because we tea drinkers tend to ogle and hoard gear as much as we do tea. Possibly even much so since the tea gear is what brings us our delicious cups of liquid happiness. Today we are looking at the Shudei Kyusu from Den's Tea, yes the one that I babble about periodically. 
No, I am not removing this sticker, it looks cool.


Backstory time! I first ran into the concept of the Kyusu (or Kyuusu) when I was in high school and going through that 'obsessed with Japan and Anime' phase (not that I have left that phase, it just has been nerfed a bit) and studying Chado and their tea culture. I was able to find a Tetsubin pretty easily but I never saw a Kyusu outside of books and online. Of course the prices online were intensely high and I am in the mindset of  'when I buy a new piece of equipment, don't spend too much money on it because chances are you will break it.' I wanted a practice piece, and while browsing I found this beauty and its lovely price. 
At one point I would have been able to read this

This Kyusu is made from Shudei, or red clay which has a higher level of iron oxide (and reminds me of the clay I would play with growing up in Georgia) which gives it a lovely color. There is a mostly convenient built in metal sieve for filtering out the leaves that try to escape. I say mostly convenient because being built in means it can be a real pain to clean. 
A moderate pain to clean

I have used it quite a few times since I bought it back in late September and each time has been a treat. The size is optimal for two cups, but since I am the only one in the house that likes Japanese Green tea I usually only fill it up halfway. I like having the option of more servings should the opportunity arise. My favorite aspect of the kyusu is holding it, the handle is the perfect size for my grip and it just feels good pouring the tea. 
It looks like soup!

I have noticed that it is not retaining any tea aromas or flavors (unlike Yixing) but judging by the sheen I am pretty sure this teapot has been given a glaze making it safe to use with multiple teas. Not that I am going to use it for anything other than my various Japanese greens. I am very happy with my Kyusu (it needs a name...I like naming my teapots, suggestions?) and I actually feel I do not need a fancy expensive one for my collection. 

Want more information on Shudei (Zhuni) clay? This link is very helpful and fascinating. What about more information on the history, style and use of Kyusu? I like sharing knowledge.

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