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Hugo’s Pick’s for 2015

25 September 2015

at 16:49 by Seb

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As a taster I specialize in two countries so I get to indulge in a double selection of my highlights, one trio for Taiwan another for Japan!

TAIWAN

Jin Shuan

A much appreciated Taiwanese cultivar.  This ‘everyday’ tea is very generous and appealing to any fan of teas with full floral bouquets.

Bai Hao Mr. Xu – Limited Edition

I sometimes wonder which is my single favourite tea? Too difficult to choose just one, but Bai Hao is definitely in my top 5! I especially like the balance on the palate and pleasant stimulating effect the body without the cardio excitement. It is increasingly difficult to buy with so many Chinese enthusiasts in the market for it.  Fortunately our relationship of over 10 years with Mr. Xu gives us access to this small exceptional lot.

Dong Ding from the Luku competition

Our access to these teas is unique in North America. An unmissable opportunity!  A little prior knowledge of the world of Competition Wulongs helps us appreciate the depths of the ‘Dong Ding # 9 Special Mention’ and the ‘Dong Ding 1st Class’. Both offer excellent examples of ‘completeness’, harmony and enrich the body with an enveloping glow.

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JAPAN

Sencha Koshun Organic

The Koshun cultivar is currently very popular in Japan on infusion it offers a floral finish of cherry blossoms. This tea is from our friends at the Isagawa cooperative, providing us, for the first time in several years, with a very commendable Sencha Koshun!

Kukicha

Undoubtedly of great value for ‘throat refreshment’. A “thirst quenching” tea, which, in its 2015 version, offers a generous liquor. Often less known than sencha, kukicha is never to be underestimate.

Gyokuro Okabe

Most gyokuros from the Shizuoka plantations have a profile that tends towards sencha … For the simple reason that they use the Yabukita cultivar and its shade is not always that thorough. But not this time! This gyokuro – Okabe – is a pure delight, 100% Saemidori cultivar, well shaded and treated with care.

Hugo

PURION

15 September 2015

at 10:59 by Seb

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Ceramic is a material that is available in many varieties and rendered into unique implements used in the preparation of tea. Analogous to optical filters which modify the rendering desired by a photographer, ceramics can greatly affect the liquor. From  warm and robust stoneware to  immaculate and translucent porcelain, each form of ceramic  material will have a different effect on the tea and the drinker.

Purion ceramics, created by Lin’s Ceramic Studio, have a particularly tactile warmth. The regular and slightly rough sandy texture evokes the feel of granite. Unlike glass this material is not neutral, but more comparable to a Yixing teapot. For instance, leave boiling water in a Purion ceramic teapot for several minutes and the resulting water will generally have improved.

Denser water with more sediment (such as from the tap) seems much lighter, the heavy and  harsh effects being largely dissipated. With softer water (such as a springwater with low mineral content) a moderated astringency and a lighter mineral texture is noticeable, bringing liveliness and character.

The effect of this type of ceramic will vary greatly depending on the tea infused. For example, with a wulong like Chi Ye with accents of toasted wood, fruit and honey, Purion ceramics  accentuate the meatier flavors of roasting and wood, while modifying the texture with a light astringency. In comparison, a wulong with a rounder mouthfeel revealing strong notes of roasting such as Ali Shan 1999 (charcoal cooked), will soften and round out this, sometimes exuberant, tea when infused in Purion ceramic.

With its energising and mineralising effect this material can re-balance some more heady and robust teas including some very earthy and very dense Pu Er. Conversely, with younger aged teas, lively and fresh, their woody, camphor and woodland notes , which are usually in the background will be noticeable particularly in the sheng Pu Er Banzhang 2009 and Menghai 2004. This effect can be noticed on the majority of the more delicate and aromatic teas. The structure of these infusions is highlighted while their bouquets and volatile aspects are more in the background. For fans of bold and robust teas it is a great opportunity to rediscover, from another point of view, these more ethereal teas.

Purion ceramic is an addition to the “arsenal” of the informed  taster seeking to expand the possibilities of ceramic materials, and for lovers of beautiful pottery of all kinds.

François Napoléon Mercier

THE ART OF MR. KAMADA

2 September 2015

at 9:27 by Seb

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Here’s a text from our new book ’Green Tea: The Quest for Fresh Leaf and Timeless Craft freshly translated into English and now on sale.

Mr. Kamada has been practicing the art of pottery for over forty years. He has ded- icated the better part of his work to developing a modern and original vision of the Tenmoku style, which goes back to the Chinese Song dynasty [960-1279] and was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks in the eighteenth century.

Mr. Kamada is one of the rare modern Japanese ceramists who have dedicated their life to creating pottery in the Tenmoku style and to researching its history. The fascinating glaze effects and the overall quality of his works have made him one of the most respected potters in Kyoto. His works are exhibited in many of Japan’s most prestigious galleries. Since 2005, his most recent creations have also been part of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

Upon meeting Mr. Kamada, we took the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his work, his methods, and the art of pottery.

M. Kamada et ses oeuvres

AN INTERVIEW WITH MR. KAMADA,
 A POTTER FROM KYOTO

Mr. Kamada, after over forty years of practicing the craft, ou have certainly developed a personal approach to pottery. What do you need to work?

I only need concentration and a suitable workspace.

What influences and motiva es you in your work?

Before, I was inspired and influenced by the great tradition of ancient ceramic arts.
 I studied this subject, but reproducing this type of pottery is no longer a goal for me. Nowadays, I am more inspired by other forms of art or by nature. My main interest is to produce original works in the Tenmoku style. I get excited when a museum or the Japan Crafts Association invites me to exhibit my works. It is very stimulating to have this opportunity to show new works.

What does it take to be a good potter?

In my opinion, to always keep exploring is the best attitude. I learn a lot from my mistakes. For example, no matter how much I try to control the glazing, the effects are always different.

What is your view of the art of pottery in present-day Japan, in com- parison with when you started?


When I began my career, there were many young potters and this art was very much alive. Since then, pottery has become quite diverse. Today, it is increasingly about design. It seems that the original character of a piece of pottery no longer has the same value. Consumers from all over the world can buy pottery without even touching the pieces. In an ideal world, I believe that people should have the opportunity to touch and hold the pieces before buying them. 

Other works by Mr Kamada are available in our stores on Emery Street in Montreal and in Quebec.

Ask our experts to show them to you when you next visit. An unforgettable experience guaranteed!

 
 

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