Posted on 25th Nov 2019
My office is in Yokohama, so I some times go to Yokohama-Chinatown for lunch. The Dong Ding tea I drank at a Chinese tea specialty shop I happened to enter was wonderfully delicious, so I ended up buying the same tea leaves. At this Chinese tea specialty shop, you can enjoy high quality tea leaves being prepared in a high quality teapot. When I got back to the office, I wanted to enjoy tea while I worked, so I boiled some spring water and brewed oolong tea in a small teapot, but the flavor was clearly inferior. The aroma only spread a little, and the flavor also felt weak. Incidentally, the teapot I used at that time was a small clay teapot from Yixing made in the 70s, so it was in no way inferior to the teapots used in the Chinese tea specialty shop. I thought it was odd that I could not get the same flavor with this, so when I went to a teahouse in Chinatown and explained to the shop manager what was going on, I realized that there really was not much difference in the teapot I had used. I had brewed the tea in accordance with what I learned about the amount of tea leaves used in proportion to hot water and also the temperature, so I should have been able to enjoy the same flavor. So then what was different? One day when I was at a restaurant in Chinatown, I was able have a friendly chat with one of the employees who was from Fujian, China, so when I told her about this, she said that it probably had to do with the difference in water. At this sort of shop, the water used to make tea is thoroughly controlled, and the flavor becomes richer if spring water is allowed to rest in a teapot for several days, so the tea ends up being made with exceedingly good water.
Indeed, I had heard that putting sake into a bizen ware sake bottle made it taste better, but I had never actually tried it out myself.
Now that I think about it, soil is just a lump of minerals, and that must be why the water flowing in rivers through mountain forests is so delicious.
I feel like this ended up being a good opportunity for me to become interested in the relationship between pottery and the taste of water.
my favorite Yixing tea pot
All prices are in JPY