HOHRYU Kyusu (handcrafted: 360ml)


Author Karen Kletter   (United States)
Review My Hohryu was part of my first order from Hibiki-an; I can guarantee that it won't be my last. I'm new to tea (< 1 year, my love of which isn't restricted to Japanese greens, or greens at all, for that matter) and quickly learned that different teas from different countries do best in brewing vessels designed with particular teas in mind. After some rather disastrous attempts at brewing Japanese green teas with a Bodum De Chine glass pot, I realized that I needed a kyusu and so began researching for a good one.
I was lucky enough to stumble upon the Hibiki-an Web site and was very impressed by their evident sincerity and love of what they do (sometimes you can just tell these things). My attention was caught by this little pot not so much because of its looks, but because it was described as being very thin and lightweight . I'd read that lighter Taiwanese oolongs are enhanced by being brewed in thin-walled Yi-xing pots (Reviewer #8, Mrs. Glancy, who seems to haunt the same tea sites that I do, knows to what I'm referring!) and hence thought that perhaps the same logic applied to delicate Japanese greens brewed in similarly thin-walled Tokonome pots. On that basis, I decided to order this pot; it was more than I wanted to spend but seemed reasonable for something that was described as being very special and which had received so many customer raves.
My order arrived a mere five days after it was placed. It was beautifully wrapped and packaged and the Hohryu, which is presented in a lovely wooden box, is even more beautiful than pictured, with astonishing attention to detail. Since this was my first experience with both a kyusu and Hibiki-an tea, I have no basis for comparison; however, I can report that my tea (Gyokuro Karigane Premium) was sublime and that brewing with the right equipment was a snap.
I conditioned my pot (this might not have been necessary) the way I would an Yi-xing pot: I filled it with alternating hot (not terribly hot the first time) and room-temperature water three times and then let it drain and dry. The only thing I find a little disorienting is the screen: it seems that a removable basket might make life easier, especially since I like to reheat my pots before each infusion (a sasame-type filter might also have been nice if one is committed to a non-removable filter). However, this filter does a superior job of straining out tiny leaf fragments, which is nice, as it has been my experience that these continue to brew and make my tea bitter unless they're removed. The screen didn't clog either (cleaning was easy--just a rinse or two), which was a plus. The plastic drip extension might look a bit odd, but it really does a nice job of keeping the right things dry and besides, it's removable. I also like that I can brew either one or two cups; it's a very practical size for a couple or someone like me who likes to brew two simultaneous cups for herself. (BTW, I realize that this is VERY un-Japanese, but I pour my tea into a pouring pitcher after it's brewed; I like to ensure that each cup is of exactly the same strength.) In fact, the only problem I have with this pot is that it's so fine that I'm somewhat intimidated by it. I expect, however, that I'll get over it!
This lovely little pot has my highest recommendation. I can't imagine anyone's not being thrilled with it or with Hibiki-an's stellar service--highest marks.
Very bad...Bad...Very bad...Ordinary...Good... 5 of 5 Stars!
Date May 01, 2007

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Reviews Posted by this Author: 21