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Richard Kilgore

Let's See Your Teaware!

175 posts in this topic

Finally saw some really small gaiwans yesterday at Wing Hop Fung. The smaller standard ones like those I already have hold between 2 and 3 ounces; these smaller ones came with travel tea kits including a small padded zippered case, 4 impossibly tiny teacups holding maybe 15-20 mL, and the gaiwans looked to hold about 40mL. They didn't have separate bases for the gaiwans.

These are the size I was looking for for comparative tastings of oolongs or puerhs where I want to sample many infusions of 2-4 teas at a time, but it feels very wasteful to buy the whole travel kit (admittedly cheap enough at $10.99) when I just want the little gaiwans. In time, if I don't find another source, I'll probably cave in and buy a couple of sets of them. Maybe I'd be able to give the cups to someone whose doll could use them....

That's an interesting option, but since you have some that hold 2 ounces, they aren't that great an advantage. Plus some leaf styles are going to be too big to fit when dry without breaking in a 40 ml gaiwan. But do take pics if you get a set or two.

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My smallest gaiwans actually hold between 75 and 80 mL filled to where the lid sits.

These small travel gaiwans looked about half their size. But I didn't bring a bottle of water and my pocket scale to verify....

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I've seen those travel kits in China, too. I've always wondered what kind of tea emergency would require a mini-gaiwan travel set.

Here are my daily pieces:2010 01 24 001.JPG

On the left is my stainless steel tea caddy, which I use for genmaicha. Just behind that is a porcelain caddy with a rubber seal that I use for my tie guan yin. In the middle is my favourite cup, a rough pottery piece I got at a local art shop. Next to that is my white porcelain yunomi that matches my dishes. On the far right is another yunomi that a Japanese friend gave me - it's smaller, and lightly glazed with a lavender wash. In the front are two traditional Vietnamese cups, which hold a lot less. I use them for during lessons - when out Mandarin tutor comes to the house, we always set out tea.

Here's my teapot:

2010 01 24 003.JPG

Nothing much fancy about it, which I like for daily use. The mesh insert will probably have to be replaced eventually, but other than that it works fine - no drips. I also use it brew my coffee in the morning (without the infuser). I just fit a coffee filter to the top and pour hot water in. It multi-tasks.

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I'm not sure how it stands up to other tea caddies, Richard, but it does the job for me. My tea turns over pretty quick, though. The inside has an inset lid under the top that is machined to fit snugly inside. When you fit it in, there's a nice amount of air resistance that you can feel, so I suspect there's a pretty good seal.

I love my Vietnamese cups, too - the one with leaves on it has a crackle glaze and unusual maroon flowers that I particularly enjoy. I often make lemongrass tea for these cups.

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Your stainless caddy sounds better than most. I have never seen one here. Some teas can tolerate a tea caddy that is not well-sealed, but some deteriorate much, much faster in them. Your's would be perfect for Chinese or Japanese green teas. Or for many teas that one wanted to age for a few years.

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I'm ashamed to say that I store most of my tea in the cello bag it comes in, butterfly-clipped shut, and shoved in my top drawer at work. In the morning I dump out the wet leaves out of the mug from the night before, rinse the cup, sprinkle in new leaves, and pour hot water on them, grand-pa style. So I'm not particularly fussy when it comes to tea storage.

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Air, light and moisture being three of the four primary enemies of tea leaves, more of mine are stored in the dark zip bags they came in, than they are loose in tins. My wet leaves also often sit overnight, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not.

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Bought a couple of prettier tea pieces at the Korean tea shop today, and a couple of small things at the Wing Hop Fung too.

4394423586_77c009d9e6.jpg

Celadon cup/infuser insert/lid set: the cup is big enough for my chasen, to use for matcha, if I can find one that I like.

4394424032_1a04aacd3d.jpg

Green gaiwan and drinking cup set

4393657789_891d654610.jpg

Mini-gong fu travel set--bought this because of the tiny gaiwan, holding just 45-50 mL apiece. I wanted the smaller gaiwans to be able to do gong fu tasting sessions comparing several different teas without drinking inordinate quantities of tea.

4393657949_39b18816c6_m.jpg

Mini-aroma cup set--the cup holds about one ounce.


Edited by Wholemeal Crank (log)

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I really like your Korean celadon set, WmC. Attractive and practical. That may work well for gyokuro, as well as sencha, depending on the size. What's the capacity? The cup, though looks much too small for matcha. What are the dimensions?

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I checked and my chasen does fit into the celadon mug set. It holds 6 ounces, so big enough for a 3 ounce matcha session, which was the volume suggested by the Dens tea site, and will also serve for a general tea session. I like it enough that I'm tempted to get another one for work too, so I can have the pretty cup for drinking from my thermos in clinic, instead of the lid of my thermos, which is practical but not at all elegant.

The travel set is much smaller; per their web site it holds 3.5 oz. I expect to use it at work for my evening gong fu sessions while doing paperwork, when I don't have so many to share the tea with.

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Yes, it is the travel set I was referring to...very nice.

I'll be interested to hear about how the celadon mug works out as a substitute chawan. My hunch is it may be awkward to use due to the small capacity and the shape that curves inward from the side to the rim. I just measured my smallest chawan and it holds 13+ ounces to the rim, and I have not seen one smaller. But you may find a way to make it work.

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A student gave me this teapot as a thank-you gift for helping her with college applications. Since I didn't open the gift in front of her, I lost the opportunity to ask any her questions about it. It's clay, I think - it has a rough inside that holds 60 ml. There's an artist's stamp on the bottom; the inside is a light blonde colour clay that seems rather sandy. A google image search didn't turn up much else that looks like it. I haven't used it yet, but I have some oolong I could try in it.

Pot:

2010 03 20 004.JPG

Stamp:

2010 03 20 005.JPG

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That's an interesting looking tea pot, Erin. It may be better for display than brewing, however, since someone has smeared something (shoe polish is often used) to make it look old. It's not a Yixing, so no telling what is in the clay. May be fine, but I would not drink anything brewed in one like this. Still a kind gift and an interesting display piece. I once bought a fake Yixing knowingly; it had a similar treatment and have since used it as a model for the "how to avoid fakes" section of a talk on Yixing teapots.

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Thanks Richard. I knew it wasn't a Yixing, but had no idea what else it might be. I'll put it on my "objets" shelf for now, and read your section on Yixing pots. I'm thinking of getting another (smaller) gaiwan and a pot this month to up my game, so to speak.

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I just de-scaled my simplex kettle for the first time, after having it for about five months now. It got a short boil with a vinegar solution, some thorough rinsing, and a quick wipe with a clean dishtowel, and again it is brilliant and shiny and gorgeous. I am very happy with it.

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Got 2 new kyusus from tokoname.jp, and am currently enjoying my first morning sencha in the leaf pot:

4540508063_8b34a784ea.jpg

It holds 5 oz water, stands on one handle, has a nice sasame screen, is shapely and pretty, and pours well.

And BTW, my simplex is so pretty that even the water drops that condensed on the edge of it form a beautiful pattern

4540549877_91eca257da.jpg

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The 2nd tokoname kyusu from the same order got baptized today with some sencha from denstea. Here's the pot itself:

4543526435_79f38349a7.jpg

I was a bit confused, thought it was plainer from from the picture in the catalog, and would prefer less frilly decoration. Still, it brews a sweet cup of sencha, stands on the handle, pours briskly and neatly. And both this one and the one I posted yesterday catch less of the leaf between the lid and the rim of the pot, probably some neater fitting there.

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Got 2 new kyusus from tokoname.jp, and am currently enjoying my first morning sencha in the leaf pot:

4540508063_8b34a784ea.jpg

It holds 5 oz water, stands on one handle, has a nice sasame screen, is shapely and pretty, and pours well.

And BTW, my simplex is so pretty that even the water drops that condensed on the edge of it form a beautiful pattern

4540549877_91eca257da.jpg

Funny how pretty those water marks are.

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I enjoyed the pattern of those water marks for about a week before a swipe! with the dishtowel and the kettle was shiny as new.

Today I am celebrating the arrival of my first Yunomis, two pieces made by a Swiss potter whose work I discovered in another forum. So far just a cellphone snap to give the general picture of the first one, already hard at work in the office, holding the An Ji white tea:

4560896555_95d27a6a93.jpg

It is small, about 5 cm x 7 cm with a little raised foot, feels solid with comfortable heft in the hand, yet looks delicate and sparkling. I will have to work with the lighting a lot to capture the true beauty of this one.

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I've been looking and looking, checking out local shops and online catalogs and forums, seeing many lovely things, and waiting for some to 'speak' to me. I can't actually say I dreamed about these, but it was close.

It was 2nd cup in this blog post that finally got me hooked, but this less dramatic little blue/green and white said, "I'd like to be a soothing presence in your office, buy me too." So I did.

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This was the first Yunomi of Ginkgo's that reached out and said "you need me."

I love hiking in California's Sierra Nevada mountains: the granite itself is beautiful, shiny, a sparkling kaleidoscope of color that merges to gray at the scale of a landscape photo. This cup reminds me of granite up close, sparkly with colorful inclusions and fine crystalline appearance, but unlike granite, it is softly rounded and feels wonderfully gentle in my hand. Today it was baptized with Den's Sencha Shin-ryoku and then helped with a tasting of Lao Ban Zhang this evening.

I did gain some new insight today into the value of handles, when I filled the green/white yunomi at work with freshly infused Tie Guan Yin brewed at about 185 degrees. I had better results iwth the Lao Ban Zhang puerh, despite infusing it hotter, by the simple expedient of not filling the cup. No more burning fingers!

4565210714_02b560a346.jpg

different side, different lighting, still beautiful

4565211792_5d992529c6.jpg

It is a bit larger than the blue/green/white yunomi, probably large enough to serve as chawan for matcha, if and when I'm ready to try that again.

I will continue to enjoy some teas in my glass cups especially to enjoy the color of the tea, and the small matched cups for comparative tasting sessions, but expect these to be my best companions on many tea drinking adventures from now on.


Edited by Wholemeal Crank (log)

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