Ichi Go Ichi E
A Japanese Tea Gathering

The Susumuya range of teaware

To celebrate the arrival of our new teaware from Susumuya in Kagoshima, we wanted to devote a few hours to exploring the living traditions of Japanese tea making, serving and ritual that continue to inspire a new generation of tea craftsmen across Japan. Given the handcrafted nature of these beautiful vessels, we thought it would only be appropriate to match them with artisanal leaves of the same superior quality by holding a modern tea gathering in collaboration with Oxford’s own Chayou Tea House.

James and Yurika of Chayou Tea

Chosen by The Guardian as the number one place in the UK to experience the new tea revolution, Chayou aims to promote the art of sharing tea as a means of fostering good relationships, inspiring creativity and deepening friendships. And since we took the name for our event from a timeless Japanese phrase meaning ‘one time, one gathering,’ Chayou’s ethos seemed the perfect pairing to remind us to enjoy the company of others in each fleeting moment.

Cynthia of Uber Dandy Kimono Yurika by Uber Dandy Kimono

Bringing some much-admired style and flair to the proceedings was Cynthia from the legendary Uber Dandy Kimono, who brings to life experimental looks and imagery through contemporary interpretations of the traditional Japanese garment. Drawing from her extensive collection, Cynthia added a fascinating new dimension to our evening by dressing a few lucky guests in dramatic, seasonally-inspired creations.

Pouring hot water into the Susumuya teapot Yurika serving tea Sharing tea

During the evening we tried several teas: a lively and supple sencha (Asanaka); a mild, smooth sencha (Kokumaro); a gently-roasted green tea; an oolong (Satsuma); and a Sencha with roasted brown rice (Genmai). All of these teas originate from the wonderful Susumu Chaya in Kagoshima city, in the southern Japanese prefecture of Kyushu. The teas are all grown and processed in this beautiful volcanic region, with provenance and quality taking top priority.

Sharing tea Sharing tea Sharing tea

We'd like to thank those of you who came along to make Ichi Go Ichi E the unique gathering it was. We were delighted to welcome such an interesting mix of people - those who were familiar with tea and tea ceremonies and those who weren't; those with a new interest in Japan or a long-held fascination, those from nearby and those from afar. All came together to help create a wonderfully intimate evening during which we discovered some new things about tea, Japan and each other!

Sharing tea Sharing tea

Thanks, too, to Chayou’s James and Yurika, for a fascinating and taste-inspiring tour of the teas we tried and the traditions involved in the Japanese tea ceremony, and of course to Cynthia of Uber Dandy Kimono for her invaluable contribution to the evening.

Sharing tea

We have a small amount of the Kagoshima teas in store, for anyone who would like to recreate the experience at home. Postage can be arranged - please contact us for details.

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