starting from scratch with a $450 tea budget?

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Posts: 608
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:35 am
Location: Chicago

Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:29 am

someone new to tea asked me for advice on what to get with an arbitrary budget of $450. the person already has an electric kettle, and the budget is for tea and teaware.

for me it was kind of a fun thought experiment.

imagine that your tea hut burnt down 🔥. you lost everything except for your trusty kettle. you wish to continue drinking tea, and you have $450 to get you through a year. what would you get?

it's ok if you go over a little. don't spend too much time thinking about it. try not to plan into the following year either.

the idea is to have some fun and maybe give newbs an idea of what you think the essentials really are.

here's my answer:

for $25:
i'd get a cheap ~100mL porcelain gaiwan and cup (maybe 90-130mL). i drink tea alone 99% of the time.

for $150:
then i'd get a japanese kyusu of some sort about 140mL. i like japanese teas, and somehow they seem to demand japanese teaware. but i wouldn't hesitate to use it for other teas too. i think it adds a nice aesthetic to the drinking experience as well.
i'd probably get one from hojo. maybe a piece by maekawa junzo (you can read about him here and here). probably shigaraki or iga clay.
perhaps a side-handle kyusu like this:

or even a hohin (a personal favorite):

and that leaves me with a $275 tea shopping spree.

$50: i'd get like 200g sencha from

then some taiwanese oolongs:
$20 60g ... nter-2018/
$30 60g ... nter-2018/
$30 120g ... nter-2018/
$24 60g
$23 60g ... nter-2018/

~$150, 350g:
finally, i'd spend the rest on a cake of puerh. maybe one of these two: ... tion-7542/ ... e-forever/

ok, so i overshot the budget by about $50. :oops:
but that's about 910g of tea which gives about 180 5g sessions. i could have a session every other day. i could live with that.

also, please don't read too much into which vendors i came up with. this is just one of many possible examples.
other possibilities could involve yancha, way more puerh, and maybe doing without the kyusu.
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:47 am
Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:23 am

I would buy a gaiwan and taiwan oolongs from taiwanteacrafts - for 60usd to cover free shipping.
If into japanese, old banko teapot from ebay auction cca 40 shipped.
Sencha from yunomi mystery teas 3*15 - free shipping - 45
so you have 300 usd left.
Would spend them on puerh and wuyi and other from kingteamall, maybe would throw in another mini gaiwan for 5 usd.
This will give you enough tea for a year and more and you are sorted
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:23 am
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:59 am

This might help everyone because the person is me. I posted a few days ago about being brand new and knowing nothing and wanting to get into tea. The 450$ tea budget is really just some Christmas money so it isn't necessarily my budget for the year but just some extra money I have to put to tea if I wanted.

I have a strong feeling I will get deep into the weeds of tea. I am just that type of person. I have been reading and scouring forums trying to get as much info since I first posted. As a caveat, my coffee set up cost around 4,000$. I am not saying I will be breaking the bank this year but I could see myself acquire stuff along the way that totals a significant amount of money. I enjoy art. I love supporting artists. My desire is to have a few tea pots for each specific tea. I REALLY loved the tree bark tea pot that was on this forum somewhere by Petr. Especially when someone said it reminded them of Hobbits. I love Lord of the Rings.

Right now, I need a tray. I don't want any sort of tray though I want some artistic, maybe made out of some quality wood or something that just looks super cool. I don't think I will be spending 400+ on a single tea pot yet but I would just like to know where I can get them at. What are some websites or artists that do that type of work.

The issue I had with coffee was constant acquisition and reselling because it wasn't what I really wanted. I finally landed on stuff I wanted and will keep. One is a lever espresso machine made by a man in the Netherlands(?) ( I would like to not "waste" (although it is part of the journey) money with tea. So I guess another question to throw into the mix is:

If you had unlimited funds...What would you be buying?

P.S. I appreciate everyone's information on this forum. My first stuff comes tomorrow: I got everything on the same website for free shipping and 10$ plus something about plain white looked great. ... iwan-130ml ... a-set-of-2

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Location: Portugal

Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:40 am

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Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:44 pm

Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:56 am

I would get the following teaware:
25 USD Porcelain gaiwan (aprox. 120 ml)
150 USD Yixing teapot (approx. 180 m)
30 USD on 4-6 porcelain cups, flat (50ml each)

Then I would invest in some pu erh for long term:
70 USD Sheng pu erh
50 USD Ripe pu erh
40 USD aged white tea cake (bai mu dan)

The rest goes to:
Green (less of this one, because it's harder to keep fresh)
Posts: 295
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:19 am
Location: Seattle, USA

Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:29 am

I'd get:
20 porcelain gaiwan
150 yixing pot
For the tea I'd absolutely have to have:
36 yuchi wild mountain oolong from Taiwan tea crafts 100g
15 Laoshan black tea old mountain from Miro Tea 50g
20 Wild Tree Purple Moonlight White Tea from Jinggu Yunnan Sourcing 100g
50 Kenyan oolong from Phoenix tea in Burien (they've been out for a while though :cry: )
75 Taiwan black tea from Seattle Best tea shop 100g (again, if they have it in. I don't know the provenance of the tea, only that it's one of the best black teas I've ever had, if any of you guys ever go to seattle, try this).
30 Lishan from floating leaves 50g
17 house oolong floating leaves 100g

That's $413 total, I'd spend the rest on trying tea I've never had before.

Edit: Funny thing, I just realized that, out of the $413 total, $243 of that is tea, $187 of that would be spent at local tea shops. Wow! :D
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:55 am
Location: Taiwan

Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:54 am

Because I live in Taiwan, other parameters are at work. I would probably spend 300 and try to get the most vintage Hongni Yixing I can find for that money. For 150 I would get a years supply of a variety of Taiwan Oolongs. Enough to drink every day at least once. :mrgreen:
Posts: 210
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:26 pm
Location: Brno / Montreal

Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:57 am

There is a difference between somebody starting to get into tea and somebody who has been drinking for a long time. In the former case the person should figure out first what teas s/he like and how does s/he like to brew them (and that takes years :) ). I'd say to get a bunch of biggish samples (25-50g) of various types of teas form various localities from 2 or 3 vendors:
Japan: ocha, yuukicha, thes de japon,...
Taiwan: taiwan sourcing, taiwan tea crafts, tillerman tea, ...
China: essence of tea, chawangshop, yunnan sourcing, tea hong, ...
and just start discovering. There is no rush. Comparing the same teas in different quality/price categories form the same vendor might be an interesting thing to do.
If a yixing teapot is desired go here: 2088taiwan, essence of tea. 100ml might be a good middle ground to start with.
If a japanese kyusu is desired: artistic nippon, tokonamejp on ebay, hojo,, buyjp4u, …
Some central European woodfired ceramics: klasek tea,
Aside of a gaiwan, i'd get nice artisanal or antique cups, bowl, teapot.

On the side note: to get through year on $450 budget, means that if 5g of tea per day was consumed and no teaware bought the average price should be around $25/100g. This seems quite reasonable if one buys directly and does not spend too much on shipping. But it's really tight. :lol:
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:23 am
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:48 am

I stumbled across this: ... kyusu.html

I really like it. I know someone mentioned around 100mL...Is 250mL too much? I know the littlest thing effects coffee I assume it is the same with tea. There is another one on from tokonamejp on Ebay but it is also 250mL...Any issues with that?

Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:01 pm
Location: Brooklyn / Manhattan

Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:20 am

I would get a gaiwan to start with instead of a pot. More versitale and you can get so much more tea to try out.
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:23 am
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:25 am

I already bought a gaiwan and two tea cups. I am just looking / itching to spend my Christmas money on some tea stuff.

Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:01 pm
Location: Brooklyn / Manhattan

Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:34 am

I know the tea bug will get you going down the rabbit hole. I dedicate most of my pots to a certain style of tea so it takes me a long time to deliberate and think about the pot before I purchase. This is after I understand the tea that I want to use in it after many sessions with it. That’s why in my opinion that $450 would be best spent buying 25gram samples of a vast varieties of tea and figuring out your taste and what you really enjoy. Then get pots that compliment that.
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Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:20 pm

@bradenl123 before embarking on extensive purchases for the year, I would take up @Baisao’s offer and visit him for a few tea sessions. There is nothing like learning from a pro. Baisao can teach you about tea and teaware. He’s just an hour away from you too. He was lucky to have had a teacher himself, so I’m sure would like to share this knowledge. Here in Los Angeles, one of our tea club members studied with a tea master in Malasia, his knowledge base is something we all soak up every time we are together. The difference between having studied with a teacher and not is clear.
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:23 am
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:27 pm


Solid advice! I plan on meeting him ASAP. My plan is to buy tea and see what initial flavors I like and go from there I just want something to reference when I finally figure out what I want. My stuff arrives tomorrow. I have some green tea and white tea. I think I will take pedant's recommendation above and get some of those teas.

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Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:33 pm
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Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:01 pm

Yes, pedant’s recommendations are very good :) . I’m so happy to hear you will share tea with Baisao. We each have our own journey, full of twists and turns, meeting a guide along the way can help clarify your own path 🍃 so confucius say...
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