Tea Talk: Finding A Special Ceremonial Matcha Chanoyu Set

I am deeply interested in hosting Chanoyu, a proper Japanese Tea Ceremony, and the Koicha preparation of ceremonial Matcha tea.  Matcha is the stone ground, shade grown tencha green tea leaf, used to prepare Koicha (“thick tea”) or Usucha, which I believe many green tea enthusiasts are exposed to with the abundance of bottled Matcha drinks.

To experience Koicha matcha is a very different experience, one I believe many do not get exposure to in the US. As a huge green tea fan and an even bigger matcha fan, I am looking to collect elegant sets of ceremonial matcha ceramics and tools. I am looking to practice and get this unique tea consistency down.

To me, koicha matcha is divinity in a cup, especially with the right matcha powder.  The delicate nature of the growth of the Japanese tencha leaves gives it a slightly sweet kelp flavor that is distinct, yet some matcha powders, if not properly grown tend to be bitter.  Since it is something I enjoy I want to prepare the full experience for guests, which is what leads me to my quest to host as close to a proper Japanese Tea Ceremony or chanoyu, as I can.

Now I find myself on the search for the right ceremonial set.  The set usually consists of a ceramic tea bowl, a bamboo whisk, a bamboo scoop and scoop holder, which sometimes is also ceramic.  Beautiful new sets exist, but being the vintage lover that I am, I’d like to reuse something that someone might not want anymore. The trouble I am having is finding a vintage chawan, or traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony ceramic tea bowl, that speaks to me.  There are beautiful creations coming from specialty ceramic makers in Japan however there are collections of antique ceramics that are, while gorgeous, they also cost a pretty penny.

A vintage set worth $395

Searches online from Amazon to Pearl River Mart yielded no results of major significance, so alas I set out on foot to find something that strikes me. Stay tuned as I continue my quest for the perfect chawan, and I will share my discoveries soon!

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