Shiboridashi can’t be beat when it comes to brewing super flavorful cups of Gyokuro and sencha tea. The first thing you will notice when you look at this teapot is it’s much flatter shape, and it’s minimalist design. The tokoname shibooridashi is hand sculpted out of clay, and instead of a clay filter carved into the base, it has a few small notches towards the spout.
Each of these shiboridashi teapots is handmade by a Japanese teaware craftsman. As they are made individual, there will be slight variations in the final colors of the teaware.
Benefits of the tokoname shibooridashi
There are a few distinct design characteristics of the tokoname shiboridashi that set it apart from other clay teapots. The first is the flat design. When it comes to brewing tea, you want to provide the tea leaves with a wide base so that they can move vertically as they expand. If you do not provide the tea leaves enough space, they will become cramped, unable to unfurl and fully release their flavor into the water. The tokoname shibooridashi takes this principle to the extreme with its flat, low profile design.
Brew highly concentrated green tea
The total volume or carrying capacity of the tokoname shiboridashi is quite small. This is a deliberate choice, as the purpose of the shiboridashi is to create a small volume of very concentrated green tea. These are the types of teas you might drink on a special occasion, like gyokuro and premium sencha.
One way to prepare gyokuro is with 5 grams of tea leaves and only 50 milliliter of water. This concentrates the flavor into a smaller space, so instead of getting a large cup of more watered down tea, you get a small quantity of super concentrated tea. When you are drinking gyokuro, you are mean to enjoy not only the taste of the tea, but also the texture as it glides over the top of your tongue, drop by drop. The texture should be almost oily, coating your palate with its sweet and savory flavor. The tokoname shibooridashi is the perfect tool for creating this effect.
Lid of the tokoname shiboridashi
Just as the body of the tokoname shiboridashi is extremely wide and flat, so too is the lid of the shiboridashi. This allows it to lock perfectly into place with the base, and form a tight seal as you pour
Finger rest on top of the lid
Another key feature of the tokoname shiboridashi lid is the button on top. This is the perfect resting spot for your fingers as you pour the tea. Unlike the gaiwan or the houhin, the finger position for the shiboridashi involves only 2 points of contact. You almost hold the shiboridashi as you would hold a sandwich, with 4 flat fingers on one side and the thumb on the other side. The thumb should be positioned on top of the lid, right on the small button. This button is also better insulated so it won’t burn your fingers as you pour the hot liquid.
Built in clay filter
The last key design feature of the shiboridashi is the built in clay filter. This may come as a surprise to a lot of people, because these shiboridashi teapots usually do not have a clay filter to them, and if they do it is usually not in the lid. This gives an added functionality to the teapot, allowing you to prepare smaller leaf teas without the leaf particles ending up in your cup. You can turn the lid to pour without it, or you can turn it to face the spout if you want to use it as you pour
Benefits of using less water to prepare tea
For special occasions, you might see a tea being prepared with even less water. At certain high end tea shops in Japan, you will see the tea master preparing a large bed of tea leaves with only a small drizzle of water. There are a few benefits to this
I’m sure at some point or another you have experienced a tea that has been a bit too weak in flavor. One of the reasons for this could be that it was prepared with too much water and not enough leaves. In Japan, it is more common to prepare a tea with more leaves and less water. This really concentrates the flavor, so instead of getting a large glass of diluted tea water, you get these dense, flavorful cups of tea. Once you get a taste for these richer tasting teas, it’s very difficult to go back
The taste characteristics are amplified. Not only do you get a more intense savory or umami flavor from the gyokuro, but you also tap into a larger spectrum of flavors that you may not have noticed before. You may find that the gyokuro takes on more of a fruity flavor in addition to being sweet and savory.
There is also a benefit to a thicker texture as well. This concentrated shot of gyokuro weighs on the palate, which creates a longer lasting finish and more physicality to the tea. When you have such a small quantity of tea like this, it’s best to drink even more slowly and enjoy every drop of the tea. When you drink tea in such a small quantity like this, you should only sip enough to coat your tongue with this thick, rich infusion. This really forces you to slow down, and appreciate more aspects of the tea that weren’t as visible before.
Health benefits of the tea will be enhanced
Finally, the health benefits of the tea will be enhanced, drop for drop. You may get the same amount as with a normal cup of gyokuro, but you will get it condensed into a smaller space. There is something powerful about this, as the theanine, caffeine and antioxidants in the tea hit you quickly, and give you a burst of energy early in the morning
Elevate your tea routine with our Tokoname Shiboridash
There are many reasons to love the tokoname shiboridashi. From its minimalist, handmade design, to its ease of use. If you are a fan of premium teas like sencha and gyokuro, and you really want to take your tea journey to the next level, this is a must have. Whatever your reason for choosing the handmade tokoname shiboridashi, we’re confident you will soon fall in love with the teapot and the rice flavorful cups of tea it produces.