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Kyoto in the summer. Hot, muggy, many “tropical nights,” defined as
night-time temperatures that don’t fall below 77° degrees. People
who persist in traditional style have over the centuries devised
many strategies that create an illusion of coolness. Gauzey kimono
with see-through sleeves (never mind all the hot undergarments and
binding sash); sliding screens made of reeds that let a breeze pass
through; paper folding fans, often decorated with autumn
motifs—chrysanthemums, maple leaves, bush clover, autumn grasses—to
turn the mind away from heat; chilled fruit served on a glass plate.
Serving cooling foods and drinks in glass vessels—maybe because of
their resemblance to ice--is a trope of summer in Japan.

like a plunge into the cold waters of northern pond...

Chilled green tea is cooling to the eye, the tongue, the body. In a
glass of hand-blown crystal or cut-glass, the translucent green
liquid is like a plunge into the cold waters of northern pond. 
Tealeaves release their tannin, tea’s naturally astringent element,
only at 140° or above. So infusing green tealeaves with cold water
brings out their innate sweetness, enhanced even further when you
pile your glass or ceramic kyusu (the traditional small Japanese
teapot, made of earthenware, stoneware or porcelain) with ice on top
of the tea leaves. When the ice has melted, drawing flavor from the
leaves, the resulting liquor is the green of peridot, intensely
flavored, grassy and sweet. The process can be accelerated by
pouring cold water over the ice and letting it infuse for as little
as 20 minutes. Pour off the liquor into a beautiful glass. Adding
ice cubes merely dilutes the flavor. Refill the pot with cold water
and wait another 15 minutes or so. As tea strength is a question of
individual preference, steeping time and the amount of tealeaves to
be used should be adjusted to your taste. A good green tea will
yield three infusions: unlike oolongs and other oxidized teas, the
first infusion is usually the best.

Place 1-2 T. of green tealeaves into a 4-8 oz. glass or ceramic
teapot. Fill the pot with ice cubes made from filtered tap water or
low-mineral-content spring water. Let sit until enough of the ice
has melted to produce a couple of ounces of tea liquor. Infusion
time will depend on air temperature. Pour off liquor into
individual cups or glasses. For the second and third infusions,
wait until more of the ice has melted, or fill the pot again with
new ice cubes and cold water. Infuse for 15-20 minutes or longer,
to taste. This technique yields delicious results with both sencha
and gyokuro, as well as Chinese green teas.
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