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Let's See Your Teaware!


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#61 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 08:36 AM

Only problem with one that large is that for teas that really give you a lot of infusions, multiples of 200mL may be too much to drink at one time. OTOH, I love my 200mL teapot for bulk brewing when speed is the more important.

#62 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 08:55 AM

Yes, smaller gaiwan are generally more useful...and easier to pour. Upwards of 200 ml feels rather awkward to many people. Mine run 55 ml to about 140 ml. Measured to the rim of the lid.

#63 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 08:43 AM

Over the last couple of weeks I've had a useful realization: the little strings that tied the lids of my little yixing pots to the handle may not simply be to keep the lid and pot together while being handled by customers in the store: that neat little string will keep the lid from falling off when pouring out the last drops, even if you forget to keep a fingertip on the lid as you pour. It only took several broken lids before I realized this was a pattern I might be able to fix by leaving those little strings in place.

And on a different note: The gongfu set I posted a picture of here has one other problem besides the stringless lid that is free to fall off and shatter: the tasting cups' unglazed outer surface may be interfering a bit with the flavor of especially delicate infusions.

Yesterday I noticed that the gyokuro kin I brewed at work for the first time, drinking from the lid of my stanley thermos with its plastic rim, was just not as interesting as the same tea brewed a few days before at home, despite best attempts to duplicate brewing conditions and a liquor and aroma that appeared quite similar. I had pretty much finished the batch off but had a little bit left to pour into a porcelain cup and suddenly the subtle vegetal sweetness was more prominent. So I paid attention during the gongfu session last night with the Lao Mansa Puerh, and suspect that the unglazed surface is indeed distracting.

I'll head to Wing Hop Fung again this weekend, and along with replacing some little teapots whose lids are broken (wish I could buy just lids!), and setting those up with little retainer strings, I will get some bowl-shaped porcelain cups for tasting and see how those affect the next brewing of the Lao Mansa Puerh.

I'll also have to figure out some carrier arrangement for a porcelain tea cup to carry with my thermos, because I usually am carrying way too many files and other things when I take it to clinic, and will surely shatter an unprotected cup.

#64 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 08:40 PM

Got the porcelain tasting cups, and as I reported in the Lao Mansa tasting topic, they did distract my tongue less, although I didn't notice any different flavor of the tea. So a good thing overall, but not strictly necessary. The joy of Wing Hop Fung being so easy for me to get to is that even though I picked some of the fancier porcelain cups, they were still only $1.79 apiece, so not a large investment. I also replaced yet another teapot whose lid broke, but before this one was put in the cupboard it and all the rest got restrung to keep their lids from meeting a similar fate. Again, that was a $5.99 mini yixing pot. I figure I need to go at least a few months without breaking anything before I dare consider investing in a higher quality of teapot or drinking cup.

I also bought a bamboo tea tray with a drip drawer, and it worked beautifully. The counter required a lot less cleanup after my session, because the tray did indeed catch the majority of the drips. There were beautiful ones in porcelain and hand carved wood, but again, I need to figure out what I'm doing here before considering anything special or fancy.

Shockingly, no actual tea came home with me, in a most uncharacteristic display of restraint.

And I found a small basket with a handle at another store that I can use to carry a small teacup with me even down to clinic, so I don't have to drink the more delicate teas from the plastic thermos lid.

My teaware shelf is not yet anything like the retail displays at wing hop fung, but some of the missteps along the way will soon head off to goodwill, leaving the rest a bit less crowded. This includes a couple of overly large teapots with glass infuser inserts whose tiny slits are essentially uncleanable, clogging very quickly with even a single batch of tea that has any quantity of fine particles, and are simply hopeless with chamomile; or the deep and thick tasting cups that don't let tea cool quickly when tasting many short infusions of hot-brewed puerh; or the glass gaiwan lets you watch the color of the tea liquor but has a little rim that the lid settles on that makes it awkward to tilt the lid the tiny bit needed to pour the tea out but retain the leaves.

#65 JMGore

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:57 PM

I don't have photos of most of my teaware at the moment; I suppose that's something that I'd better change!

I do have photos of a few of my favorite teapots, though. I own three kyusu teapots, one of them was a cheap mass produced model, another is hand-made earthenware, and finally, there's this one:
Posted Image

I got this one at a small shop in Snohomish, WA, and it was expensive, but I've been very happy with it. It feels great in my hand, and the teapot itself works flawlessly.

Here's one of my antique teapots, which is clay covered in pewter. I didn't know much about it until someone from England saw it on the internet and volunteered some information about it. Needless to say, it's been retired!

Posted Image


I'm new at this forum, and looking forward to being a member here!

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#66 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 07:56 PM

Welcome, Matthew, and what a gorgeous kyusu! What is your favorite thing to enjoy in it?

And does the "one of my antique teapots" imply that you have a collection?

#67 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 08:57 PM

Nice Tokoname kyusu, Matthew. Welcome! What's the story on the antique pot?

#68 JMGore

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 12:47 AM

I use the kyusu whenever I drink green tea, regardless of type... but I don't actually drink green tea very often anymore. I also use it for white teas (silver needle), I guess. My green tea drinking is pretty limited to what I can get in the ID (international district, aka Chinatown) in Seattle, and I usually buy sencha, kuki cha, and in the winter, genmai cha (if that's how it's spelled!). There's also an organic Chinese green tea that I buy on occasion.

I'm a much bigger fan of high mountain oolongs!

In any case, the pewter encased yixing teapot is just one of a pair that I have. This is the other:
Posted Image

After posting a photo of this pot with a stock agency (I'm a photographer), I got an email from a British collector who loved it and wanted more information about it and any others that I might have, and after I replied, I got this bit of information:

The second pot in the shape of a bamboo stem is on a par with the first. I
recognise the signature at once as Shi Mei which is the hao or nickname for
Zhu Jian probably the best known name associated with these pots. I can't
quite see the first character but the crucial two are quite clear.

Both should have a seal on the base of the inside of the pot though in these
they are often made on an applied piece of clay and all too frequently
either come off in the firing or through use. They are a real challenge to
photograph. If they are still present I would love to see what they are as
it should tell you who made the pots, the signature on the outside is
usually the person who inscribed the poem not the maker.

The general design of these has a poem on the left side, ie when viewed with
the handle to the right and spout to the left, and the reverse with a
picture or sometimes another poem frequently in seal script. It is not
uncommon to find one side engraved by a different scholar from the other
since many of these pieces where collaborative works between scholar and
potter and frequently commissioned by a third party who designed the shape.
For this reason it is useful to see both sides of the pot.


We emailed for a few more times about them, and I got a better idea of their value. The poet who wrote the inscription on this teapot is still unknown (to me), but I got this information about the teapot itself:

The seal comes as no surprise as they
are two different variants of the potter Yang Pengnian who is credited with
the best pieces. I say this with care since he was also capable of turning
out some pretty junky ones too but heck we all have to make a living and not
everyone wants to pay over the odds for perfection.

The handle is more of an enigma, not helped by the fact that the two
characters are in archaic oracle bone script which is pretty impenetrable.
If I have any luck I will let you know.


So, of course, I have photos of all of the relevant details, but I've probably already given more detail here than anyone cares about :) It was interesting to me, though, since I didn't know anything about pewter encased yixing pots to begin with, despite having found a couple of very nice ones!

- Matt
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#69 LuckyGirl

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 08:48 AM

JM Gore,

Beautiful pots and great story.

Welcome to the forum from another newbie.

Diane

#70 JMGore

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 06:22 PM

Thanks Diane, and I'll have you know that I went to college in Ohio! It wasn't anywhere near Cleveland (OU in Athens), but my roommate was from Hudson/Aurora.

- Matt
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#71 LuckyGirl

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 09:34 PM

Thanks Diane, and I'll have you know that I went to college in Ohio! It wasn't anywhere near Cleveland (OU in Athens), but my roommate was from Hudson/Aurora.

- Matt


My sister also went to OU. She graduated around '94, '95.

She rented a cabin in the Athens area last month for our whole family to get together. We discovered an Athens tea company. Their tea was being sold at the major grocery store (Kroger?). I don't recall the name of the tea company but she bought lots of their tea to take with her back to Switzerland for gifts. I thought that was funny since I often purchase packets of tea at Palias de The in Paris to bring back to the states as gifts for friends.

#72 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 01:20 PM

An update just FYI: RIP Adagio kettle, time in use, approximately 6 weeks. Cracked it on the porcelain sink divider while washing it out. It was too cute to last. Now will get a simplex, and never buy another.

#73 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 01:25 PM

Never say never. :smile:

#74 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 01:30 PM

Looking at two pots now--the 1.7L chrome beehive pot and the 1L mini chrome pot. I rarely need more than a quart at a time, but the extra capacity might be nice at times, plus help the water hold its heat longer when I get it up to temperature for a longer gongfu session. Also, I remember reading someplace as I was looking these up previously that the beehive pot was faster to the boil because of the shape or something.

Looking at these, the spout of the beehive pot looks different, with the black piece at the tip. What is it? Is that going to be hard to clean/easy to break?

Edited by heidih, 12 November 2009 - 08:39 PM.
edit out copyright image


#75 andiesenji

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 04:17 PM

It's the whistle.
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#76 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 06:52 PM

Is it a separate part that comes off, or permanently attached? I've been trying to figure that out since I first looked at these images.

#77 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 12:34 AM

The simple bamboo tea tray I bought a couple of weeks ago--the top lifts off to clean it up.

Posted Image

and the character on the tea tray, which I presume means 'tea'

Posted Image

And a pretty small cup for drinking, which doesn't show the liquor color, but I'm quite happy with it anyway--the darker glaze sparkles.

Posted Image

#78 JMGore

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 03:06 PM

That's a pretty great tray... where did you get it?
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#79 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 03:27 PM

$12.99 at Wing Hop Fung, aka birdpick.com, similar in size but a lot cheaper than this one they sell online.

#80 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 05:41 PM

The simple bamboo tea tray I bought a couple of weeks ago--the top lifts off to clean it up.

Posted Image

and the character on the tea tray, which I presume means 'tea'

Posted Image


I like the simplicity of your tea table, WmC.

#81 robirdstx

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 07:34 PM

I don't know much about the different teas but I do like teapots. Here are photos of my two Japanese ceramic pots. The little blue one was purchased from Pier 1 over a decade ago, along with 4 matching cups. The other pot, along with matching cups was given to me by my mother several years ago. She knew I always coveted the set but I have no idea where she got it nor how long ago. All I know is that I have found similar tea items on the internet that have described it as somayaki.

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  • GreenCrackleTeaPot.jpg


#82 velveeta

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 08:26 PM

Regarding the chrome pots WMC, they are lovely but won't they possibly get rusty? I had a Chantal and the top was difficult, it got mineral deposits on it and it would stick making it hard to open and clean.

My everyday tea water maker is now an electric stainless steel.

#83 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 10:33 PM

I will have to find out....should be delivered tomorrow. I'd prefer it if there were stainless, definitely. But really, the most important part is that it not be glass, after I just broke another small glass one last week. I've been more careful with the little yixings, but I'm still not probably not ready for a really nice breakable pot.

#84 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 11:23 PM

I don't know much about the different teas but I do like teapots. Here are photos of my two Japanese ceramic pots. The little blue one was purchased from Pier 1 over a decade ago, along with 4 matching cups. The other pot, along with matching cups was given to me by my mother several years ago. She knew I always coveted the set but I have no idea where she got it nor how long ago. All I know is that I have found similar tea items on the internet that have described it as somayaki.


Yes, I would agree that your pot most likely is a somayaki. I have an old Japanese somayaki tea cup that is similar.

#85 robirdstx

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 12:26 PM

Thank you Richard. I spoke with my mother today to see if she could remember when and where she purchased the tea set. We have narrowed it down to the mid-1970s when she was living in Carson City, NV. She says she bought it used from an antique shop. One thing I have noticed is that the cups have the horse motif in the bottom of the bowl and I have not seen that on the new cups I have found on the internet. Does your tea cup have the horse in the bottom of the bowl? Thanks again.

#86 Peter the eater

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 12:57 PM

I have an international teaware question for you all.

Years ago in grad school I had a friend from Brazil who made amazing tea in a hollowed-out gourd. Dry leaves and things went into the vessel, hot water poured on top, and the mug was passed around until all the tea was gone. I vaguely recall the tea being called "shee-ma-hown" or something similar.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?
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#87 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 01:32 PM

mate

#88 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 12:22 PM

Have now had my stainless simplex tea kettle for several weeks. It has a lot of water spots, but a few seconds of rubbing with a clean towel and it is again brilliantly shiny. It whistles gently, and the build of the whistle is slow--gives you a chance to get to it before it goes full bore shriek. It pours much more neatly than my revere pot, which is now officially retired and heading for goodwill.

I'm quite pleased with my little collection of teaware now, and have only a couple of small gaps that I'd still like to fill in. The sencha and gyokuro teas are cut so small that they rapidly clog the built-in strainer holes on the spouts of my little chinese teapots; and my larger japanese teapot with a metal mesh strainer is too large for brewing just a few grams of these teas at a time.

If I could just stop breaking the glass pots....

#89 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 10:16 PM

One tip for pouring Japanese green teas out of your Chinese teapots or even a Japanese kyusu - pour very slowly and you may avoid serious clogging. I have to slow waaay down when going from Chinese teas to Japanese greens.

#90 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 10:25 PM

This is a Yixing teapot from the 1970s with high quality Zi Ni clay. I am playing with different teas right now and it probably will be dedicated to either Aged TGY or high roast Wuyi Oolongs. The capacity is 90 ml. The characters on the side of the pot translate to "Drink Chinese Oolong", these pots being part of a famous marketing campaign in the 70s and 80s.

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