So here it is
My brazier with one of my tetsubins on top. Ideally, I’d use a kama, but kamas are a pain, because then you need all the right tools to use it with — from the rings you need to lift the kama up, to the ladle, etc, and using a tetsubin is just so much easier.
Last time I tried boiling water with charcoal it took a long time — almost an hour. One of the problems was that the charcoal was not hot enough. I bought myself a charcoal starter chimney, and it worked like magic — the charcoal was red hot after a few minutes and was ready to go. The water still took almost half an hour to boil, but not nearly as long as last time. I could’ve probably made it even faster if I used more charcoal today, and next time I might do just that.
The largest constraint today was the number of chasen available — one. I only brought four bowls with me today, because I decided that with one chasen, it doesn’t really matter how many bowls there are out there. With fourteen students, it turns out four bowls was plenty — by the time the first person was done drinking, the fourth person isn’t even starting to whisk yet. Some students are quite good at the whisking, while others are learning the difficulties — creating foam, getting rid of lumps, etc. With usucha, it’s not so hard to get rid of lumps, and I’d imagine with koicha it could be much more of a problem. We’re not even going there.
Obviously, it is quite impossible to follow any protocol or rules when you have a group of students making matcha for the very first time (except one or two with previous experience). Then again, they do experience the one thing that definitely happens when you drink tea in a group — you start talking, excitedly. The caffeine, especially in the powdered form of matcha, can do wonders.