How to Pour Water/お湯のさし方

Japanese Coffee Japanese Food

Shukan Flavor No. 48 is about how to pour water.
週間フレーバーNo. 48は、お湯のさし方についてです。

Shukan Flavor No. 48/週間フレーバーNo. 48

In this post, the Japanese version is omitted to save time.

Nakagawa-san starts by saying how important water control is with the Matsuya method, then he declares that he will make Sae-chan, the female assistant, into a professional who could run a coffee house. She admits not having tried it (the Matsuya method).

Nakagawa-san makes all the preparations necessary before pouring water.
At 9:30, Sae-chan starts pouring water for murashi (steaming), as guided by Nakagawa-san only verbally.
At 13:40, she starts pouring for brewing. Nakagawa-san tells her to try not to cause bubbles to form as much as possible. She says that it looks like the coffee grounds are moving about considerably.
At 15:10, he dilutes the coffee, and at 15:50, she tastes it.

Nakagawa-san then explains what it means to pour water.
At 15:15, he starts pouring water into a wine bottle. He artistically does so. The amount of water flow must be constant. This is the first technique Sae-chan has to master.
First, he explains how to hold a drip pot.
At 18:52, he tells her to hold a pot in a usual way, and she holds it firmly. With this way of holding a pot, you have no other way but to use your wrist to control water. He takes out two sheets of tissue paper to show her a proper way. See how he holds a pot at around 19:30. One advantage of this way is that when you put strength to your thumb and little finger, the pot starts to tilt to let the water flow out and when you release the strength, the flow stops. Thus, you can control water with your fingers only, without using your wrist. He says that human fingers are tireless.

He then starts explaining a proper attitude when holding a pot.
At 20:28, he tells her to stand at ease first and then raise her arm to form a right angle. Then he tells her to raise the elbow so that the pot becomes parallel (to her body?). At 20:49, he says that the legs should be shoulder-width apart.
At 21:02, Nakagawa-san suddenly pushes her by the shoulder, and she almost falls backward. He tells her to put her hand on her hip to lower the center of gravity. At 21:13, he pushes her again, but now she is more resistant.
At 21:27, he tells her to pour water, without watching the spout. She has to watch the top of the bottle instead. He tells her not to use her wrist.
At 22:09, he indicates the point where the water flow changes into drops, and explains that if the position remains constant, that means that the amount of water flow is constant.
At 22:36, he says the she can already pour water in a stable manner, and Sae-chan replies that her arm is shaking.

Usually, trainees have to do this exercise for a much longer period of time, but Nakagawa-san moves on to the next exercise because he has to make Sae-chan into a professional in an hour.

At 23:30, Nakagawa-san starts explaining the second technique: moving the drip pot in a circular motion.
At 23:40, he shows one of the easiest ways to do so: moving it with your wrist. With this way, however, the amount of water flow is not constant. With the Matsuya method, water control is important, so this way should be avoided. At 24:00, he demonstrates a proper way. At 24:30, he pours water along the rim of a Japanese teacup.
At 26:24, he explains that you may think that to move a pot in small circles, you only need to move your arm, but with this way, you can’t move it smoothly. At 26:45, he says that you must imagine yourself moving a large pestle, a bat, or something similar, in large circles first, by moving your shoulders. Make the circles smaller and smaller, but make sure your shoulders still move.
In summary, you have to use your armwrist and shoulders, without using your wrist, when moving the pot in a circular motion.
At 28:39, Sae-chan starts the exercise. At 28:56, Nakagawa-san points out that she is moving the pot with her arm only, and her left shoulder is not moving.
At 29:20, he takes the pot away from her and tells her to form large circles. At 29:30, he points out that her left shoulder is now moving.

At 33:06, Nakagawa-san points out that the point at which the water flow turns into drops goes upward when Sae-chan moves the pot near her, and explains why. When she moves the pot near her, her wrists goes upward, decreasing the amount of water flow. To keep the amount constant, she has to put (extra) strength to her thumb when moving the pot near her.
(I wonder if this problem happens to everyone.)
At 34:32, Nakagawa-san tells her to stop the exercise.
Sae-chan says her shoulder aches.

At 38:40, Nakagawa-san starts demonstrating how to pour water.
Start pouring at the center. The flow must be thin. Don’t rush. Do it slow.
At 44:32, he starts pouring for brewing.
Start pouring at a midpoint between the center and the circumference. The flow must be thick and you have to move the dripper quickly until the coffee starts dropping into the server. Then move to the center and start moving the dripper in a circular motion. Always stop pouring at the center.

At 53:40, Sae-chan starts pouring.
At 54:28, Nakagawa-san says that the coffee grounds have bloomed fine, just like a bun.
At 58:24, she starts pouring for brewing.
At 59:07, he says that no bubbles are formed this time.

At 1:01:30, Sae-chan compares the two brews, and confirms the latter one is better. Nakagawa-san explains why. For the first brew, the coffee grounds moved about, and in particular, the water flow was thick in the murashi process, so large bubbles were formed. For the second brew, she took care so that the coffee grounds did not move about in the murashi process, and in brewing, she raised the water level to such a level at which bubbles were not formed. This difference resulted in such a difference in flavor.

At 1:04:30, Nakagawa-san says that to become a professional, you only need to improve little by little. Keep in mind the sure way to make flavorful coffee, and keep on exercising.

Now you know how important water flow is with the Matsuya method. I can’t say that I have mastered the two techniques described above, and I’m still learning.

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