A Teapot for drinking Taiwanese Oolongs

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archimon
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Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:01 pm

Hey guys! I’ve just returned from Taiwan after a year living there studying Mandarin. While I was studying in Taiwan, I was introduced to Gongfu Tea culture, and had a simple but functional brewing set up in my apartment there (namely a clay teapot, a few cups, a cha hai, and a filter). Unfortunately, I was unable to bring my teaware back to the US with me, and I now need to acquire a new set so that I can drink my way through the small stockpile of tea that I’ve accumulated over the past few years from occasional online purchases and my time traveling in Taiwan.

My current plan is to purchase a teapot from Yunnan Sourcing (I have my eye trained on this one, as it’s attractive and affordable: https://yunnansourcing.com/products/jin ... apot-130ml) as well as a cheap porcelain gaiwan to serve as my primary brewing vessels (I was planning to buy this one: https://yunnansourcing.com/products/whi ... wing-100ml). I am also planning to purchase a cha hai, a filter, and two porcelain tea cups to complement the teapot and the gaiwan. This all will come out to about $90, which is already a bit more than I’d like to spend, but I’d like to continue drinking+purchasing tea even after I’ve made a dent in my current stockpile, so the investment is justifiable to me.

I’ve listed the teas I currently have below, and I was hoping that you guys might be able to critique my current plans in light of what I’m going to be consuming. I’m primarily interested in feedback regarding my choice of teapot, and whether it would be suitable as a dedicated pot for the oolongs I have, which are by far the most substantial part of my little collection(I intend to use the gaiwan as a sort of work horse vessel for brewing anything that might interfere with the seasoning of the teapot), but I also welcome any other advice you guys may offer! Thanks!




Teas:


Oolong:
  • A bit of Oriental Beauty
  • A bit of Baozhong
Black:
  • I have a black tea cake that I purchased from Yunnan Sourcing a long while ago
Pu-er:
  • A half of a cake that I purchased in Taiwan (I can try to upload a picture of the label later - it’s not at hand at the moment)
  • a number of 25/50 gram samples of both ripe and raw pu-er that I’d purchased from Yunnan sourcing a few years back
Here's a picture of a list that includes the name of the black tea and the pu-ers that I have from Yunnan sourcing in case anyone is interested:
Image
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steanze
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Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:17 pm

Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:21 pm

Hi archimon! Welcome to the forum :)

I think the porcelain gaiwan is a great idea. I would stay away from that yixing - it does not really look like yixing clay. It looks like a waste of money to me. Wait a bit longer before considering a yixing purchase, and if you want to go that route try to learn to recognize good quality clay. A good starting point is learning about Factory 1 teapots, this is a good resource: https://www.facebook.com/groups/teapot2/ Factory 1 teapots often have good clay, so you can use them to get a sense of what good clay can look like.

In my view, you don't really need a filter. But different people have different opinions on the matter. Personally, I think that sometimes the filter can detract from the texture of the tea. If there's a little bit of debris at the bottom of the cup it's ok. Anyway, it's cheap enough so you can experiment with and without filter and see what you prefer. For some teas that have a lot of debris it might be worth it.

One more suggestion - for puerh, try to branch out and get teas from places other than Yunnansourcing too ;)
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archimon
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Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:52 pm

steanze wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:21 pm
Hi archimon! Welcome to the forum :)

I think the porcelain gaiwan is a great idea. I would stay away from that yixing - it does not really look like yixing clay. It looks like a waste of money to me. Wait a bit longer before considering a yixing purchase, and if you want to go that route try to learn to recognize good quality clay. A good starting point is learning about Factory 1 teapots, this is a good resource: https://www.facebook.com/groups/teapot2/ Factory 1 teapots often have good clay, so you can use them to get a sense of what good clay can look like.

In my view, you don't really need a filter. But different people have different opinions on the matter. Personally, I think that sometimes the filter can detract from the texture of the tea. If there's a little bit of debris at the bottom of the cup it's ok. Anyway, it's cheap enough so you can experiment with and without filter and see what you prefer. For some teas that have a lot of debris it might be worth it.

One more suggestion - for puerh, try to branch out and get teas from places other than Yunnansourcing too ;)
Thank you for taking the time to write such a thorough reply - I'm very grateful to have such a lucid take on my plans. I'll almost certainly end up doing as you recommend - I'll buy a gaiwan and just focus on the tea for now (though I may grab a cheap clay teapot in Chinatown or something at some point). I'll definitely be reading this forum actively and I'll be sure to look through that facebook group in order to keep learning about tea/teapots and the like - I realize how little I know, and having such great resources is a wonderful help. I'll definitely look beyond Yunnansourcing! If there're any vendors you're especially happy with, I'll take any recommendations I can get, but I also certainly intend to lurk here and just try to learn what I can about purchasing and appreciating tea from prior and ongoing discussions. Thanks again for being so helpful and welcoming!
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Brent D
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Location: Wisconsin

Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:50 pm

Youll probably hear a lot of people trying to steer you away from getting a cheap clay pot. A lot of those pots are just meant to attract buyers by looking nice, but may actually have materials that could be harmful.
I suggest people stay with porcelain and read about yixing until they can afford and know what they want.
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pedant
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Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:46 am

Brent D wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:50 pm
Youll probably hear a lot of people trying to steer you away from getting a cheap clay pot. A lot of those pots are just meant to attract buyers by looking nice, but may actually have materials that could be harmful.
I suggest people stay with porcelain and read about yixing until they can afford and know what they want.
this is good advice, and i'll just add that for the YS pot you linked to, i don't think that it's made of dangerous material. that said, it also doesn't look like typical Yixing clay, and idk if i can recommend it.
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