Monday, August 2, 2010

Brno and its tea

As some of you may remember from my previous post, I am currently staying in a charming village near Brno, the second largest city of Czech republic. Apart from large and really interesting city center, castle and cathedral, Brno has much more to offer - especially to tea-lover, as it hosts more high-quality teahouses than any other city around.
I visited three of them in last few days. Each had completely different, unique atmosphere, different tea menu and different selection of teaware - thing I'm interested the most every time I visit this city, as I thing there are many great ceramists in Czech republic, blending traditional Czech and Moravian pottery with strong inspiration from Japan and Korea - the results are unbelievably pleasant to watch, touch and, in most cases, use.
Today, I was in mood for some really special experience, so I visited teahouse called Probuzený Slon, which is well-known by local tea-lovers and offers mostly teas from Martin Špimr's Teamountain and Zdeněk Prachař's Longfeng, which are, in my opinion, possibly two of best tea-distributors in Europe - or Central Europe, at least.
I am sorry for bad quality of photos, but they were taken with mobile phone in quite dark room.

I ordered really special tea - Kuradashi Kirara Kabuse Yabukita 1998. They serve higher grade teas like this in this teahouse, with small kuysu and thermos of hot water, which is, in my opinion, ideal serving and should inspire many other teahouses to do so as well. You may also notice the small teacup in lower right corner, which seemed to be Petr Novák's work.

This unique aged tea comes from farm of Mr. Katahira, from whom I remember drinking this year's Shincha - wonderful tea as well.
This Kabuse was left to age for 12 years. Now it's the right time to try it.

The first infusion. I used 65 degrees hot water and brewed this infusion for one minute. This method gave me very light-yellow infusion with intensive smell. Then, I tasted it - unbelievably complex, milky, rich and heavy taste, with vivid tone of quince fruit. This tea is like no other Japanese tea I've ever experienced; it was completely different than any Kabuse, Gyokuro or anything else, from infusion collor to smell and taste.

The second infusion is being brewed. I made four infusions overall, though I enjoyed the first and second one the most.

After savouring this special tea and relaxing a bit in teahouse's nice atmosphere, I made a small purchase before leaving - buying this Shiboridashi and teacup made by Petr Novák and two fresh 2010 Japanese green teas - one Sencha from Yame and Kabuse Okuyutaka Kari from Shizuoka.
Will post more about these teas and teaware in near future.
Until then.


  1. William,
    this is called Kuradashi techique. This kind of aging actually has very long tradition mostly in Uji, as the whole production of Gyokuro should traditionally have been aged for at least half a year before drinking long time ago.
    Nowadays, Kuradashi teas are quite hard to find, as this whole process is difficult and therefore, the resulting price is very high and the older the Kuradashi tea, the higher the price, similar to Puerh - with that difference, that while you can buy Puerh to age at your home, you have to drink Kuradashi tea when you buy it, because its aging conditions are different.
    Only a few western vendors offer Kuradashi teas, as far as I know - I remember Hibiki-an had some one year-aged Gyokuro some time ago and Yuuki-cha offers 2 years aged Kabusecha.
    I really recommend you trying some, if you will get the chance.

  2. Hi Michal,

    Thank you for nice post. The "Probuzený Slon" tearoom have incredible teas, haven't it? I am big fan of them- it is not easy to keep in stock such high quality teas even in Czech Rep. with its strong tea culture.

    Thank you for choosing my pots- I am realy honoured and I hope to meet you in person one day.


  3. Petr,
    in my eyes, Probuzený Slon's teas represent the best of offering of best Czech tea vendors. In addition, the teahouse is a really nice place as well and its employers are very skilled and really do know what they sell, which is a very important thing, lack of which is unfortunately present in many other teahouses.
    I therefore always enjoy visiting it and am a big fan as well.

    It's me who should thank you for creating such wonderful teaware. Have a nice weekend!