Brew Set-up at Home
Loose leaf tea preparation can be as simple or as complex as you like. If you are just getting started, we recommend a simple reusable tea bag made of unbleached cotton/muslin, which you can steep in your tea cup as you would a usual teabag. If you want to add a bit of finesse to your tea drinking, there are a variety of brewing vessels to choose from — we hope this introduction to tea brewing set-ups is helpful.
For your brew set-up, you’ll need the following:
Kettle, preferably temperature-controlled*
Teapot with built-in strainer or cup with teabag
Water cooling pourer / serving pourer, optional
* If you do not have a temperature-controlled kettle, you can approximate the temperature of water by touch. The water temperature is in the right range if it feels hot but does not scald your hand.
** Filtered water removes the mineral deposits that are left in drinking water. Filtering the water results in cleaner, more vibrant flavors.
Choosing a teapot
Selecting your teapot is largely a personal preference. We suggest using price as a first delimiter: teapots made in the <$50 price range are most likely to be commercially produced, but you will still find some lovely everyday teapots in this realm. Above >$100 will more likely be handmade by professional ceramicists, even if you are purchasing directly in Japan / at origin. A good way to gauge the veracity of a ceramics purveyor is how much the seller knows about where it came from and who made it.
What to look for
When it comes to performance, we suggest that you look for a teapot that:
Brews just the right amount — choose a smaller teapot (<300ml) for single servings or bigger (>700ml) if you plan to brew for large parties
Strains the tea — Japanese green tea leaves are intentionally broken to fit into small teapots. You will need a teapot with a strainer to avoid leaves falling into your cup. As well, we recommend a teapot that leaves plenty of room for the tea to expand into. This improves the aroma and extraction.
A few of our favorites
Our favorite starter teapot is the Hario Maru Kyusu 300 ml. It is just the right size, attractive, and the removable strainer makes for easy clean-up.
For something more upscale, our kyusu offering is a sophisticated everyday teapot made in Tokoname, Japan. It brews a single serving perfectly and makes an everyday ritual feel luxurious.
Caring for your brew set-up
If your set-up is made from unfinished clay in Tokoname, Japan, we recommend treating it carefully. Over time, the ceramics will become glossy from your teas’ oils, similar to cast-iron cookware.
Unfinished clay is porous; we recommend only brewing one type of tea (for example, only green teas) in any unfinished ceramics.
When cleaning your ceramics, use warm water to rinse. Always hand wash and do not use soap.
Let your ceramics dry completely to prevent mildew from growing.
See our brew guide for how to prepare a delicious cup of tea at home.