Shiboridashi vs Hohin – How These Two Japanese Teapots Compare

shiboridashi vs hohin – how these two japanese teapots compare
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When it comes to preparing tea, there are different teapots one can use. Some of the most popular ones are the Japanese teapots with Shiboridashi and Hohin taking center stage. Many people fail to understand the difference between Shiboridashi and Hohin or how they compare, which is why we created this guide to compare the two to help you make an informed purchase decision.

Shiboridashi and Hohin teapots enable users to steep different varieties of tea within a few minutes and drink it directly from the teapot. These teapots steep tea efficiently and will give you the best flavor of your tea. However, you need to know how to use them since they can easily burn your hands. However, with practice, you can master the art of handling them without fear of getting burned or dropping them.

Before we dwell into their similarities and difference, let’s define the two teapots.

About Shiboridashi and Hohin Teapot

A Shiboridashi can be termed a small, handle-less teapot for brewing high-quality Sencha or Gyokuro. It has slits near the spout which function as a strainer, thereby keeping tea leaves in the pot while pouring out tea.

It is important to mention that the palm-sized, handle-less Shiboridashi is distinct from Kyusu, which is often found with a handle (although not always).

In a nutshell, here are the common features of Shiboridashi;

  • It has a similar design to a Gaiwan, but flatter
  • It has a spout, sometimes fitted with rudimentary ‘rake’ filters that consist of rough lines scrapped into the inner surface
  • It has no defined rim for its lid; hence you must learn how to handle it without letting the lid slid out.

On the other hand, Hohin is among the most popular teapots. In Japan, Hohin is a Japanese word that stands for a magical jar or treasure jar. This means that the teapot is mainly used to brew quality teas such as high-end Sencha and Gyokuro.

Here are the few features of Hohin that distinguish it from Shiboridashi;

  • It has a filtered spout built into its body. This makes it a complete teapot for brewing tea; you can take tea directly from the pot
  • Unlike a Shiboridashi or Gaiwan, the is not part of the canal through which tea exits the pot
  • There is a defined rim on which the lid rest on

The Main Difference between Shiboridashi and Hohin- Pot Design and Purpose

Although both Hohin and Shiboridashi have a minimalistic design and features no hand, you can differentiate Hohin from Shiboridashi because it has increased depth and features a pre-installed strainer.

Its cup-like walls and increased depth creates more room for steeping tea leaves, which makes them better brewers than Shiboridashi. This is the main reason, seasoned tea lovers, brew high-grade teas in Hohin rather than Shiboridashi.

Usually, high-grade teas require lowest temperature levels and a lot of considerations. The care and details needed to start from the handle-less Hohin teapot. However, Shiboridashi is also used to brew high-end tea, but Hohin is the most preferred teapot.

In Japan, it is believed that Gyokuro tea becomes sweeter and mellower in Hohin than in Shiboridashi. The mellowness makes tea quality and tastier. Among the reasons for this is because of the pot design we have described above- increased depth.


Shiboridashi and Hohin have a lot in common. They might be different in terms of features and pot designs, but they share a lot of similarities, which is why people often confuse them.

Here are several areas they interrelate;

1. Material Used to Make Them

Both Shiboridashi and Hohin teapots derive their structural characteristics from the Japanese traditional clay-made pots. However, in the recent past, there has been an emergence of Hohin and Shiboridashi teapots made of porcelain, which offers almost similar levels of functionalities as clay pots.

Of course, ceramic and glass pots with the original clay-made Shiboridashi and Hohin pots have emerged, but it is yet to be proved if they offer the same level of functionalities as the traditional clay pots.

However, the point is, you can find Shiboridashi and Hohin teapots in different materials. Let’s start with two of the most preferred materials- clay and porcelain

Clay Teapots

Clay teapots are mostly preferred by people who only drink one type of tea. This is because they are unglazed and porous, which means that the clay retains the flavor of the tea. When used for some time, it can enhance the flavor of the subsequent brew.

Clay teapots also absorb the astringency of your preferred tea, thereby making tea leaves release their purest flavors. Because clay will eventually absorb the flavor of the tea being brewed, it is recommended that you only use the teapot to brew one type of tea to avoid corrupting the flavors.

In addition, they have a unique, distinctive design and are more durable due to the quality of clay they are made from.

Related Article: The Secret Behind The Making of Chinese Teapots

Porcelain Teapots

Porcelain teapots are more of a modern teaware, and they are a better alternative to people who likes taking different tea varieties since the material does not absorb or retain the flavor of the tea brewed in it.

This not only means that you can brew a variety of teas in it without worrying about corrupting the taste but also it ensures the subtle flavors of teas come out.

Hohin and Shiboridashi teapots made of porcelain are, therefore, the perfect option for avid tea drinkers who enjoy different types of teas but would like to use one teapot. Besides, they have better heat conductivity than their clay counterparts, which means tea will brew faster and better in a porcelain teapot than in a clay teapot.

It is also important to mention that porcelain teapots weigh less than clay teapots.

Related Article: How To Choose The Best Ceramic Teapot to Buy

Glass Teapots

For those who are looking for Shiboridashi and Hohin teapots with first-class antique, glass Shiboridashi and Hohin are the best choices for special occasions. These teapots come handy with clear, transparent surfaces that offer a vivid viewing experience of how the tea is brewing and turning. This will entice your guests, and thus improve the tea-drinking experience.

Related Article: Benefits and and drawbacks of Using a Glass Teapot

Ceramic Shiboridashi and Hohin Teapots

Ceramic teapots are some of the high-class tea wares you will find in the market. They have a glazed interior and thus 100% safe. These teapots come in different sizes, designs, and shapes to suit different needs. They also have a non-stick coating, which means they can be used to brew different types of teas.

Regardless of the material used to make different Shiboridashi and Hohin teapots, one thing is common- they have the unique design and functionalities of the original clay teapot. Hohin teapots have an in-built strainer that is located at the joint between the body and the spout while Shiboridashi teapots feature rake-like lines scrapped on the interior surface of the spout, which acts as the strainer.

This not only makes both Hohin and Shiboridashi teapots all-inclusive teapots but also ensure the original and subtle flavors of teas brewed in them come out. With both teapots, all you need is to put some leaves in them and add warm water. The pots will brew your tea slowly and effectively and what will come out is a tastier, defined drink.

Therefore, you can have Shiboridashi and Hohin teapots in your preferred materials to help you brew your desired tea varieties in the most reliable manner.

2. Similar Brewing Method

As mentioned earlier, both Shiboridashi and Hohin teapots are traditional brewing vessels in Japanese culture and are ideal for brewing high-grade teas such as green teas. Of course, the Hohin is the most preferred by seasoned tea lovers due to its greater depth.

Brewing tea with both Shiboridashi and Hohin is quite straightforward as only minimal amount of water, and a large amount of loose leaves are added to the cup to create a concentrated tea.

And because only warm water is used in the steeping process, you will not burn your hands using this tea. The fine slits near the spout and the in-built strainer ensures optimal pour rate of the concentrated tea flavor.

Related Article: Learn the Difference Between Steeping and Brewing Tea

Method of brewing

Measure the leaf and place it into the center of your teapot and then measure and boil water for brewing purposes. However, you have to lower its temperature before adding it to your teapot. You can do this by transferring it to a bowl several times until you bring it to the desired temperature. Alternatively, you can heat it up using a controlled kettle.

Pour the warm water carefully around the leaves placed in your teapot, slowly and in a circular motion to avoid splashing. While steeping, leave the lid off the teapot. This gives you a chance to see how your tea is steeping and unfurling. Besides, if you are not relying on a timer, you can tell when the tea is ready to serve by looking at how dark it is.

Give your tea time to steep. Keep in mind that the longer the steep time, the stronger your tea will be. This means, longer steep time will make your tea bitter and more astringent.

Pour the tea from Shiboridashi/Hohin teapot into your teacup. If you are serving several people, try to distribute it equally by pouring a little in each cup.

3. Cleaning Process

The cleaning process for both Shiboridashi and Hohin teapot is similar, but many people do it incorrectly. A teapot is a vital part of a kitchen and thus need to be given the attention it deserves. One way of caring for your Hohin or Shiboridashi teapot is to give a deep cleaning after every use.

Tea is the most preferred and healthiest beverage for most people, but unfortunately, it leaves a bad scale on the teapots. Many people clean the teacups after every use, but rarely clean the teapot, which is not fair.

Let’s talk about cleaning different teapots materials.

Cleaning a Ceramic Hohin/ Shiboridashi Teapots

Ceramic teapots retain heat for a lengthier period. A ceramic teapot is made from clay that is heated to very high temperatures and glazed on the inside. We can term it as the generic term for clay teapots. Of course, there are other common names for clay, including porcelain, pottery, and earthenware. They may appear different, but all fall under the ceramic umbrella.

The safer method of shining up a vintage teapot is the best way of cleaning a ceramic teapot. This means using safe household cleaning products such as baking soda and vinegar. If you have domestic cleaning products, take caution as it may affect the glaze of your teapot. To remove tea stains in a ceramic Hohin or Shiboridashi teapot, add hot water and crockery de-staining powder to it and allow it to settle in for a night.

Ceramic pots normally have a glazed interior and thus can be washed in soapy water. Ensure that you rinse with plenty of water to avoid leaving any soapy flavor as this may give your tea an off-flavor.

You may need to use a soft brush to walk its interior if the pot is too small for your hand. If your pot is not glazed on the inside, never wash it with soap as the soap flavor will be absorbed, which means it will take a lot of time to disappear. Instead, just rinse them using hot water.

Related Article: How to Remove Tea Stains From Mugs and Cups?

Cleaning glass teapots

For people who are looking for sophisticated, attractive showpieces, glass teapots are the best teaware for them. Unlike ceramic or clay teapots, glass teaware does not absorb tea flavors. They are also easy to clean. The best glass teapots are made of resilient and tempered glass that is capable of standing up high temperatures without breaking or cracking.

After steeping your tea in a glass teapots, empty the teapot and spout and rinse well. Wipe down the inside of the teapot to avoid leaving watermarks. You can hand-wash with soap and warm water.

You can use a non-abrasive cleaner if there is a stubborn stain on your glass teapot. Lemon or baking soda is also effective at removing water stains.

Clay teapots

These pots absorb the tannins in tea, and thus you should not wash them with soap or detergent. Instead, clean them with hot water. You can use baking soda to remove any smells or stains.

Why Should You Choose Either Hohin Or Shiboridashi Teapot?

Hohin and Shiboridashi are traditional brewing vessels that were used by Japanese people. Both have their way of working, but one thing is common, they brew tea in the best way and result in finest and flavorful tea.

The best thing with both of these types of tea brewing vessels is that they are available in many different types, materials, shapes, and capacities. Therefore, you can choose your desired teapot.

Related Article: Choosing the Right Japanese Teapot

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Mary L

When you discover something you love you want to share it with the world, that’s only natural. My passion had become my way of life, and I am finally able to share a cup of the good stuff with the ones I love. Proof that dreams really do come true when you can share your favorite brew.

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