This time, the contest was between two other teapots: a Banko by Tachi Masaki 舘正規, and a Tokoname by the famous Yûsen 友仙. (You can admire it here.)
The tea I chose was a notch higher: the excellent traditional-steamed sencha from Tawaramine in Hon.yama, made using the Kanaya-Midori cultivar.
Aside from how they look, a major difference between these two kyûsus is their thickness. Like most Banko-yaki teapots, the one by Masaki is robust, with thick walls, whereas the work by Yûsen is almost frighteningly thin, less than a millimetre I think. When empty in the hand, one has the impression of carrying nothing; it is so light.
Here are a few more photos:
One of the main qualities of the Kanaya-Midori cultivar is its creamy fragrance. How was it affected by these two splendid teapots?
I had the impression that the painstaking work by Yûsen brought the fragrance out in a lighter fashion: the buttery scents were clear, but the floral and vegetal fragrances also. In contrast, the work by Masaki released something more head on and full, with sweeter, vanilla aromas, very toothsome.
In the mouth, the liquor from the green teapot was fine and subtle, and the buttery flavour characteristic of this cultivar was more distinct. (I did not specify it, but did everyone understand which was which? The green teapot is obviously the Tokoname-yaki by Yûsen.)
The Banko-yaki teapot delivered something very generous and mellow in the mouth.
However, in both cases a delicious, sweet aftertaste remained in the mouth, a sort of signature of this excellent Kanaya-Midori by Mr. Mochizuki.
It is not surprising that after the second infusion the liquor was very mellow but also lighter with the Banko-yaki teapot by Masaki. There was a little astringent note, but also a stronger taste with the Tokoname-yaki by Yûsen.
It seems I can draw conclusions very similar to those of the first test: Banko-yaki unifies the flavours and makes them rounder, gives them greater body. In this case, the Tokoname-yaki brought out more flavours with greater precision, like a magnifying glass, which is positive when the tea is of good quality. In this case also it was impossible to say which one is better. They provided two excellent, but different, experiences of the same tea.
It seemed to me that there were more differences between these two teapots than between the two preceding ones, but I think this was mainly owing to the strong personality of the tea I used.
I’ll be back soon with the third and final test!