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Ie no Yoshikuri
Making Koicha

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Ceremonial making of koicha, thick tea

By Yoshikuri Nagayori

  1. With the bowl on the left palm (tea whisk and chakin inside and tea scoop on top) and steadied by the right hand, stand and carry the bowl into the tearoom. Take your seat and with the right hand place the bowl near the wall at the left. Move the tea container slightly to the right, in front of the water jar.
  2. Pick up the tea bowl in your right hand, shift it to you left hand and place it next to the tea container, in front of the water jar so the three make a triangle. Go get the waste water receptacle (with ladle rest inside and ladle on top) holding it in your left hand.
  3. With waste water receptacle in you left hand, take you seat and place it at your side. Remove the ladle with your left hand and hold it up in front of you, with your right hand touching the tip. Take the ladle rest out with your right hand and place it near the lower right-hand corner of the firepit.
  4. Put the ladle on the rest and bow to your guests who will bow with you. Move the waste water receptacle forward and compose yourself for picking up the bowl. Pick it up with your left hand, transfer it to your right hand and put it in front of your knees, leaving room for the container. In one motion, place the container between your knees and the bowl, with the left hand.
  5. Untie the pouch, turn the container 90 degrees counterclockwise and spread the drawstring gathers by the far side first.
  6. Pick up the container with your right hand and cup it with the left. Spread the sides of the pouch out further, right side then left. With your right hand, remove the container and place it between your knees. Take the pouch in both hands and straighten the material. Lay it on the palm of your left hand and slide it to your right hand. Pick up the pouch again with the left and place it near the wastewater receptacle.
  7. Take the fukusa from your belt. Put your forefinger into the fold and allow the cloth to fall open. Holding it on you left knee, examine the sides in turn. Refold in preparation for wiping the container. Pick up the container with the left hand and wipe the lid in two parallel strokes, far side first. Touch the fukusa to the side and rotate the container to clean. Set container between water jar and lower left hand corner of fire pit. Pick up the tea scoop with the right hand and wipe three times. The second wipe should only be for the sides of the scoop. Place it on the tea container on the side closest to the fire.
  8. With the fukusa still in the left hand, take the whisk from the bowl and place it next to the container. Pick up the bowl with the right hand and move it slightly closer to you. Remove the chakin and put it on the water jar. Grip the fukusa with the left index and middle fingers. Pick up the ladle with your right hand and grip it with the thumb and index of your left. Slide the fukusa out with the right hand and use the cloth to remove the hot lid of the kettle and place it on the ladle rest.
  9. Still holding the ladle, put the fukusa down near your right knee.
  10. Shift the ladle to your right hand, gripping it like a pencil, and take a half scoop of hot water and pour it in the bowl.
  11. Take the ladle back with your left hand and replace the lid of the kettle with the right, using the fukusa. Put the fukusa beside your knee again and set the ladle back on the rest. Pick up the whisk with the right hand and perform the chasen toji (draw the hiragana character ) then wipe the bowl with the chakin. (wipe it twice, drawing and ) Set the chakin in the base of the bowl and put the bowl in front of you using the right hand. Remove the chakin and put it on the water jar.
  12. Pick up the tea scoop with the right hand and the container with the left. Gripping the scoop with the ring finger and little finger of the right, remove the lid of the container and set it next to the tea bowl. Hold the scoop as you would a pencil and take three scoops of tea from the container. Lay the scoop on the rim of the bowl and pour the rest of the tea (pre-measured to 3 scoops per person) into the bowl, turning it counterclockwise as you pour. Replace the lid and return the container to its position with the left hand. Pick up the scoop and smooth out the tea with the tip. Tap the scoop on the edge of the bowl and replace it on the container.
  13. Pick up the ladle with the right hand, transfer to the left and remove the kettle lid with the right, using the fukusa. Put the lid on the ladle rest and the fukusa on your left knee.
  14. Shift the ladle to your right hand and hold it like a pencil. Take a scoop of water and pour enough into the bowl to blend the tea into a thick paste. Return the excess water to the kettle and lay the ladle, cup down on the rim of the kettle. With the right hand, whisk the tea slowly until smooth. Transfer the whisk to the left hand and take the ladle with the right and pour enough water over the whisk and into the bowl to make enough tea for all the guests. Replace the ladle on the rim and whisk the tea slowly until smooth. Return the whisk to its position.
  15. Pick up the bowl with your right hand and place it on your left. Turn it clockwise so that it faces the guest when served. With your right hand, place the bowl beside the kettle lid. Take out your kobukusa and place it to the right of the bowl.
  16. After the main guest has taken a sip, bow and ask how the tea tastes. Acknowledge the response with a bow.

Drinking Kiocha>>