Teaware has come to play an important role in my tea drinking experience. With all of the tea ware I’ve amassed so far, I figured it’s high time I reviewed some on Steepster so here goes.
I had coveted this Sawa Houzan Shiboridashi ever since it began popping up on Instagram. It looked so elegant with its graceful shape, webwork of crackles, gemstone-like knob, and unique “rake” filter. Online reviews convinced me to get it and I finally picked one up during a sale at Yunomi. Having owned this for well over a year and half now, I have quite a few thoughts to share about its positives as well as its downsides.
When I first received it, I was disappointed that it looked different from what was pictured online. In pictures, its cream colored with faint pink streaks. However the one I received was all cream which looked rather plain and not as exquisite. I ended up keeping it though since it would have been too costly to ship it back to Japan. Another feature not as advertised was the capacity. It’s supposed to be 150ml but mine is closer to 120ml which actually works out better for me. The interior is glazed allowing you to brew any kind of tea in it. This teapot is designed for steeping Japanese green tea, but ironically I’ve found Japanese greens to be the worst suited tea for this vessel. The fine leaves clog the filter creating a huge mess and leading to longer steeping time and bitterness. And it’s a chore to scrape the small tea leaves off the lid, filter, and walls of the teapot. It’s the same story whether you use a full leaf tea like gyokuro or a fine sencha. But all is not lost because it works fabulously with Chinese greens, blacks, and oolongs. There are 20 or so fine grooves near the spout that effectively catch the leaves and minimize the amount of sediment in the cup. No need for an external filter when using this teapot. The pour is a little longer than a gaiwan though so it may not be ideal for puerh or other flash steeped teas. I find that Chinese greens and kamairicha taste better in my shibo than gaiwan which I attribute in part to the better heat retention from its thicker walls. In fact it’s my preferred teapot for steeping all greens but sencha which still works best in a kyusu.