[JINSHU Flat White Oyster Shell Tokoname Kyusu Teapot]
(Message from US)
This is one of the best teapot I have in my limited collection. Everything about the functionality of Master Jinshu's flat kyusu is excellent.
The teapot disperses heat evenly and feels comfortably warm to the touch when 75C-80C degrees water is poured in over the Chanoyu's Asatsuyu tea.
The pour from this flat kyusu is remarkably smooth. The capacity of the kyusu is shallow allowing for the tea leaves to swim freely yielding a more robust and very smooth brew.
I tested the pour of this kyusu with the lid on and without the lid. I am really impressed with the functionality of this kyusu.
When pouring without the lid, it is best to not have the water level exceed the ledge of the lid. If you keep it under that mark the brew pours well through the spout without spillage from the lidless areas.
The tiny holes of the strainer is precise and consistent in size that forms an excellent sieve for the brewed tea that does not allow for the tea leaves to escape during the pour.
Only the extremely fine particulates of tea dust flows out with the brew and that can easily be strained out with a fine silken mesh for a clearer tea soup.
Master Jinshu's oval dome strainer was engineered unlike most built-in teapot strainers that I have encountered. It allows for the tea soup to be poured out in a continuous full swoop, hence allowing for the brew to have a more consistent and brighter flavor especially on the second and third brews.
When water is poured into the teapot it pools away from the strainer and after the pour you will observe that the tea leaves pool evenly across the dome sieve without clumping - this in my observation allows for a smooth, even, and quick pour. This is especially ideal for Senchas and Gyokuros.
The full volumetric capacity of the kyusu is 4 oz (110 ml) while the functional capacity is approximately 2.50 oz (80 ml) and that is with 3-4 grams of dried tea.
The exterior height of the kyusu is approx. 1 inch (2.54 cm) and the interior measures approx. 1/2 inch (1.27 cm). The width of the vessel is 3 3/4 inches (9.52 cm).
The kyusu is wider than it is taller with a broad open surface hence allowing for the tea leaves to swim in a shallow pool.
This is advantageous on two fronts - one, the tea leaves are allowed to bloom to its full potential and the heat is dispersed evenly over the leaves. This harnesses the full potential of flavors to be extracted.
Secondly, the broad open surface of the kyusu allows the leaves to cool evenly between brews, hence retaining the oils and flavors.
In my observation, residual heat after a pour tends to continue to cook the leaves even when the teapot lid is left open between brews consequently compromising the the second and third extractions; but the wideness of Master Jinshu's flat kyusu will cool the leaves quicker especially when the lid is left open.
This kyusu has a flat lid style which is excellent for the purpose of making Senchas and Gyokuros. However, it is not in my opinion ideal for the Gongfu style of brewing tea. Gongfu tea calls for the bathing of the teapot during the brewing process and because this kyusu lid does not have an inner wall lid, and also there is slight ledge it will cause the water to pool around the ledge when the teapot is bathed. But that does not mean it cannot be used to brew Chinese/Taiwanese oolongs. In fact Shiha Teapot Shop has a blog post of Master Jinshu brewing oolongs in his flat kyusu. I have yet to brew an oolong in this new kyusu. I have only used a Sencha and a Gyokuro. My tea habit is to designate a teapot to a specific type of tea. Brewing an oolong in this flat kyusu is still something I am considering carefully.
Aesthetically, this kyusu is simplicity at its finest, quietly elegant, ergonomically calibrated and a timeless piece. I especially like the speckled design scatterings on the lid, that was achieved by sprinkling crushed powdered oyster shells prior to the firing. It is reminiscent of a Blue Tit bird's egg and in a certain light the speckling looks like gold dust against the off-white clay.
Greatly appreciate the craftsmanship and attention to functionality of this kyusu. Thank you to Master Jinshu for gifting us with his talent.