When people have trouble deciding whether they want a Shiboridashi vs Hohin, there are a few different factors to consider. Both of these teapots have features that make them perfectly adapted to certain situations, and each can have their own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’re going to break down the features of the Shiboridashi vs Hohin and see how they compare.
What are the shiboridashi vs hohin?
Before we talk about the differences, let’s briefly define these two teapots:
Shiboridashi: The name translates to “squeeze out” and it is used as a way to prepare smaller, denser infusions of premium Japanese green tea.
Hohin: The name translates to “treasure bottle” and it is designed to brew larger cups specialty teas, but can also be used to brew more common, everyday teas.
Similarities of the shiboridashi and hohin
Even though this article is dedicated to exploring the differences between the shiboridashi vs hohin, it is important to note that there are quite a few similarities as well.
First, the teapots serve a similar role. While the Japanese Kyusu Teapot is more of the everyday teapot, the houhin and the shiboridashi are more intended for premium teas. The houhin is meant for premium sencha tea whereas the shiboridashi is really meant to prepare the highest grade gyokuro during truly special occasions. Still, both of these serve as a way to prepare more than just an everyday tea.
Also, the teapots both share a relatively simple design with just a lid and a base. There is no handle on these teapots, meaning that you hold it directly as you pour. We’ll get into this in further detail in a later section.
Upon comparison of the shiboridashi vs hohin, it is difficult to tell which one is truly bigger as they are such different shapes. The water capacity of a shiboridashi is usually between 50-70ml whereas a houhin can easily be 150ml-200ml. This difference alone already tells you that there are teas that are better prepared with a shiboridashi vs hohin teapot.
If you plan on brewing larger cups of tea, you won’t be able to use a shiboridashi because the capacity is just too small to make a full cup of tea. If you really want to create a concentrated infusion of gyokuro or sencha, you can’t get any better than the shiboridashi. This really is the teapot for special occasions.
One of the first things you will notice when you compare the shiboridashi vs hohin is the shape of the teaware. The shiboridashi has a wide, flat design and the hohin is much deeper. This does not necessarily make one better or worse, they are just different design choices between the two pieces of teaware.
The deeper hohin teapot allows more space for the tea to expand vertically. Sometimes when the tea leaves expand, they pile on top of one another and the houhin allows this to happen without needing to add too much water to the pot.
The shiboridashi on the other hand allows more horizontal space for the tea leaves to expand. This works well for very small capacity brewing, as you can submerge the leaves completely without allowing them to move on top of one another. The difference between the shiboridashi vs hohin all comes down to whether or not you want the leaves to have more vertical space or horizontal space.
How to use the shiboridashi vs houhin
There are a few key differences not only with the design of each teapot, but also how you use it. We’re going to briefly compare the brewing technique of the shiboridashi vs hohin teapots.
How to use the shiboridashi
- Lay out a blanket of 5 grams of gyokuro tea leaves at the bottom of the teapot
- Gently drizzle 50ml of 50-60 degree Celsius water on top of the leaves without agitating them
- Allow the leaves to sit undisturbed for 2 minutes
- Position the lid so that you pour out through the clay filter, and grasp the teapot with 4 fingers on the base and your thumb on top
- Let the water gently flow out of the teapot through the spout
How to use the houhin
- Place 5 grams of gyokuro or sencha leaves at the base of the teapot
- Pour in 150ml of 60 degree water
- Let the leaves sit for 1-2 minutes undisturbed
- Grab the teapot with a finger on each side and a third finger on the top
- Tilt your wrist to allow the tea to pour through the filter and into the cup
The filter is a remarkable difference between the shiboridashi vs hohin teapot. Similar to the kyusu, the houhin has a proper clay mesh filter that sifts out the leaves. This is positioned just before the spout so the leaves can be filtered out automatically as you pour. The benefit of having the porcelain or clay filter is that it doesn’t have a negative impact on the flavor of the tea in the same way that a metal filter might.
An understated filter
The shiboridashi technically does have a filter, but it is much more of a minimalist design. When you look at the base of the teapot, you will notice a completely smooth finish with one exception and that is the 3 small notches carved into the clay. These notches allow the water to pour through while still catching the larger leaves. Because the shiboridashi is intended to prepare larger leaf Japanese green teas like gyokuro and kabuse sencha, it doesn’t need to have that much in the way of a filter
Filter inside the lid
While it is unique for a shiboridashi to have a filter in the lid, the shiboridashi we have on our website provide this as an additional option to make the teapot more versatile. If you find that you are getting too many smaller leaf fragments in your cup, you can just position the lid so that this built in clay filter faces the front spout and you pour through it. This gives you an additional filter to increase the pouring speed, but also filter out the smaller leaves.
One major similarity between the shiboridashi vs hohin is actually that they are both handleless teapots. The kyusu teapot is probably the most well known Japanese teapot, and the defining feature of this is the side handle. What makes the houhin and the shiboridashi unique is that they don’t have a side handle, and you actually hold the teapot directly as you pour.
If you are interested in learning the differences between the shiboridashi and the kyusu teapot, you can learn all about it in this article here
The one exception is that some type of Houhin teapots have two small bumps on the side that make it easier to hold the teapot as you pour. These couldn’t technically be considered “handles” but they do make pouring slightly easier and they make it so that you’re less likely to scald your hands as you pour.
The final difference between the shiboridashi vs hohin comes down to the pouring. When you are pouring the hohin teapot, it is important to maintain 3 points of contact. You can place one finger on each side of the teapot and a finger or knuckle on the top of the teapot. This is very similar to the finger position of the gaiwan, a quite similar designed piece of teaware that does not have the spout of the hohin.
The reason you need 3 points of contact is because the base of the hohin teapot is too small to get a proper “sandwich grip” in. With the shiboridashi, you have so much surface area at the base of the teapot that you can comfortably rest four fingers at the bottom of the teapot and use your thumb to hold the top bump. With the shiboridashi, you are using such lower temperature water that you really don’t need to worry about scalding your hands even if they are at the base of the teapot, which tends to be the hottest part.
Shiboridashi vs hohin final verdict
While both of these teapots can be used to prepare premium cups of Japanese green tea, the shiboridashi really excels when it comes to creating tea for special occasions. If you really want to get serious about your gyokuro tea, we recommend you try out the shiboridashi. If you don’t already have a kyusu teapot and are looking for more of a multi-purpose teapot, the hohin is the better choice.
- A Kyusu is a teapot with a side handled, a medium water capacity designed to produce larger cups of gyokuro, sencha, hojicha, Kamairicha, kukicha and more. Do you know what are the differences between the Shiboridashi vs Kyusu?
- The name Gaiwan essentially translates into “lidded bowl” and it is just that, a very simple piece of teaware that includes a lid, a bowl and a base. Are you able to give us all the similarities between the Shiboridashi vs Gaiwan?