It is at once for beginners and not for beginners. Every tea drinker should have one. Maybe it’s an alluring rite of passage that we so eagerly seek it as tea people. It is the quintessential vessel of “the artless art.” Compared to collectors’ tea bowls and unglazed clay teapots, the gaiwan is a pedestrian and everyman implement. It relies neither on rarefied clays, nor a venerable kiln—it is, simply and strikingly, itself.
There's something extra special about Master Kobayashi's Kakuun matcha. Is it because it's organic? Whispered sweet nothings as it grows in the shade with nutritionally-dense natural fertilizer? Master Kobayashi's Nikes? Perhaps it's all of the above.
Popular to produce in China and Taiwan, and emerging in Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam, there are endless variations to explore, with each producer leaving a unique signature on the teas they bake and roast. Here's a quick guide on gongfucha and re-steeping oolongs.
Matcha is notoriously a polarizing taste. Sometimes, it’s deservedly so when it’s served without keeping in mind how delicate it is. A burnt/strong matcha can taste like curly kale, old vegetables, and other unpleasant adjectives that precede its reputation. Though matcha lattes have become increasingly popular, and help temper the bitterness through milkfat or nutty creaminess, we suggest the traditional way it’s served in Japan to contextualize and complement its flavors: azuki, sweet red bean, served in tiny tea cakes, buns, jellies, and candies change the experience of drinking matcha (and other Japanese greens) entirely. "The World's Most Dangerous Flavor," Bitter...