Japanese tea is usually enjoyed at a lower temperature, between 50 to 70 degrees Celcius (depending on the type) compared to Western or Chinese tea, which is commonly brewed at a higher temperature. Therefore, a handle-less teapot called “Houhin,” which is comfortable to hold in the palm of your hand, is the perfect teaware to have to cherish the authentic flavor and aroma of Japanese tea deeply.
Getting the right temperature is crucial when making Japanese tea. If the water is too hot, it will result in an astringent and bitter taste. However, when you get the right temperature, the tea’s natural umami flavor will infuse beautifully, and you can enjoy a smooth, almost velvety, delicious savory taste.
To get the right temperature, you can use a thermometer. However, the traditional practice of pouring the hot water back and forth between the houhin and the “yuzamashi” (water cooler) a few times is practical and pleasing to the senses. It is said that each time you pour out the water into another vessel, it will decrease the temperature by about 10 degrees Celcius. Therefore, use this technique to get the ideal water temperature for your chosen tea leaves. Enjoy the sound of water and calm your mind during this process of preparing for tea.
Adding Tea Leaves:
Add your preferred amount of tea leaves into the houhin. As a general guideline, add 2 teaspoons to serve 2 cups of tea. Using a houhin allows you to enjoy tea at its most concentrated flavor and aroma in “shots”.
Brewing the tea:
Gently pour the hot water into the houhin, close the lid and brew. The brewing time is subjective to each type of tea, therefore please adjust accordingly. Generally, for 2 small cups of tea, pour just a little more than the 2 cups portion as the leaves will absorb some of the water.
Pouring the tea:
When it is ready, pour the tea into 2 cups alternately few small drips at a time to even out the taste and consistency of each portion. It is recommended that you pour the tea till the last drop, as it contains the most savored umami flavor. Houhin is easy to hold with one hand, therefore it is one of our most recommended teaware for this purpose.
Enjoy the tea:
Good quality tea may be brewed up to 2 to 3 times. For the second serving, brew for a shorter period of time and for the last serving, brew using a higher water temperature for a longer period of time.