Recent Tasting Notes

I bought this from Teavivre and got an extra one for a friend for Christmas. I was torn about what size to buy, as different websites show the larger pot having different shapes. There were two reasons I bought the middle size instead of the large. First of all, the large one at Teavivre has a long spout instead of the cute little pouring lip, and I didn’t want to risk that since it was glass. Also, hubby pointed out that the infuser cup part appeared to be the same size no matter what size your pitcher is, so I might as well buy this since I will need the same number of steeps. Mandala sells these as well, so perhaps if Garrett sees this note he can clear that up for us. Other sites show the large pot having the small lip, but I don’t know if the photo is accurate. One site indicated that the infuser is larger for the larger pots, and the number of ounces they list isn’t the same even when the pictures appear to match. This made it harder to choose where to order from and what size!

I used it for my puerh sample tonight and it was wonderful. I made one steep and immediately refilled the infuser section. The second steep comes to the bottom of the infuser, so if you don’t start pouring right away your tea could oversteep and become bitter. As it was, we were pouring pretty quickly and made a total of two liters of tea with our sample and had no trouble. Two steeps at a time were being mixed together.

Why did I want this with all the pots I already own? I don’t like the morning multi-tasking and delays. I make the dog an omelette and then start my omelette, toast, and tea. When the food is ready, I am still in the kitchen waiting for the timer to go off and I don’t want to carry the pot to the dining table and have to take a bowl or dish to put the infuser basket in while listening for the time, which I will have to get up to turn off anyway. Call me OCD but I don’t want a messy bowl of leaves on the table if I can help it. I wanted a pot I could carry with me before the leaves are done steeping and then have it mess free. See? Lazy!

The most I can see making easily with this size pot is about 14 ounces. Otherwise your leaves are in the water. Of course, you could remove the infuser, but my whole point was that I wanted to be able to make and drink tea with moving the leaves and making a drippy mess and I didn’t want to have to get up from the table. This is my lazy pot! But it will also save money because it is going to be super easy to make tea for one by resteeping a single teaspoon of leaf. One could also easily make a tea concentrate with this and add water to dilute if you wanted larger amounts at a time.

The bottom line is that it is going to do exactly what I wanted it to do. It was easy to use, it is really cool to watch, and my son’s girlfriend immediately wanted to know where I got it because she wants one. There was no mess from dripping or leaves.

A few reviews here and there said that in time the infuser cup gets dirty and stained. One person remarked in the comments that they use a denture cleaning tablet to clean the infuser portion. I will give that a try if I have a problem with unsightly staining in the future.

I am pretty excited about using this. I think it has solved my morning breakfast conundrum.


I’ve used denture tablets before, with some improvement afterward, but usually, I let my baskets get so scaly before I tend to them, they’re pretty hopeless to begin with. (Creative minds are rarely tidy. I read that quote on the Internet so it must be true :)


Were you cleaning a plastic basket like this one or a stainless steel one? I wonder if that tea stain remover Mandala sells could be used on this. So far I have no staying or gunk and we have made three liters of puerh and a few batches of oolong. The stains wouldn’t freak me out, though. It’s only tea!

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reviewed Kati loose tea system by Teaware
268 tasting notes

I liked my first Kati system thing….whatever it is….so much that I decided to buy another. See, the first one was supposed to live at work, but I liked it too much so I ended up carrying it back and forth every day. Anyway, I ordered the “poppy fields” one this time (the one with the red and orange flowers). I thought the background was going to be purple, but it was brown. A tiny bit of a bummer, but nbd. Unfortunately, it also arrived with a chip in the rim. I was extremely (pleasantly) surprised when I called customer service and they sent another one to me right away, no questions asked. I didn’t even have to send the damaged one back. Huge props to Tea Forte for that!


That is great customer service! I have looked at some of their mugs, but looked at Davids Perfect Mugs too.. not sure what I want next. The poppy fields one was one that I had my eye on, red is a favorite color of mine :)


I didn’t realize the background was brown. Don’t they have one with a white background? Oh, maybe that was cherry blossoms.

Terri HarpLady

I’ve been admiring Kati cups for awhile. They are so beautiful, & it’s awesome to hear that they have excellent customer service!


I’ve been looking at this as well, but I worry the little infuser basket is too small. It seems small in the pictures I’ve seen, anyway. How’s the actual size?


Yep, Suziqzer, the cherry blossoms one has a white background.

Cheri, the inner diameter of the basket is about 7cm or 2.75in and the depth at the center point (it’s rounded) is about 3.5cm or 1.38in. The measurements are approximate but should give you an idea of how big it is. If you’re worried that the infuser wouldn’t reach deep enough into the mug, there’s an inner rim aprroximately 1cm down from the top of the mug where the infuser basket sits.

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reviewed Libre Tea Travel Glass by Teaware
260 tasting notes

Love this! I have the 9 oz and 14 oz sizes. These glasses are so beautiful! I’m really happy with mine. These can be used as shown in the company video to make tea two ways, but I have a couple other suggestions.

First: I use this to brew tea at work. I like letting the leaves float around in the glass, then pouring the tea into a mug. I get the lovely floating leaf aesthetic, but without the leaves sitting in water for too long. It’s easy to re-steep this way, too.

Second (and best): Cold Brew. Some teas are amazing if you put the leaves in your libre glass with cool water, then put in the fridge overnight. In the AM, you have a lovely cold tea with low bitterness. Note – This does take a little experimentation. I find most black and white teas to be good like this, but sometimes greens taste odd. Also, sometimes you need to use a little extra tea. The cold brew method produces a mild tea and I just drink it through the strainer with the leaves in the glass. Yummy and pretty!

Libre tea customer service is great. My smaller glass was getting condensation inside the hologram. I emailed and a replacement was promptly sent. All is well now!!!

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Ut oh, an update to my earlier raving:

The plastic inside parts of the tops absorb scents/flavors and so far I’m having a hard time getting the last out. I’d hope/assumed they were made of plastic that was as limited as possible in this, but it was actually quite easy. I have made two fruited/scented teas in it and each time I had to scrub and soak the lids to get the neutrality back.

The first one wasn’t an intensely flavored tea so a day of scrub and soak practice got it back to normal.

This second one is the admittedly one with a very strong cinnamon component. They’ve been soaked and scrubbed a few times today and are currently soaking again.

100% neutrality isn’t necessary in such things, but these were both strong enough that I’d be smelling them while sipping something else out of the bottle so I need/ed to get them out or at least gone to just a trace.

Will update on success.

Otherwise, though, still an awesome product that I highly recommend. Just be more careful than I in using flavored and scented teas in it.

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I’ve had other smaller versions of this type of cup was curious but wary due to the negative points of the ones I owned. After handling and speaking with the vendor at the Coffee & Tea Festival NYC I went ahead and got the 14oz.

It is sturdy, holds heat really well, doesn’t leak, and the brew space between the two lids is quite good for a travel container. I’ve used it a good number of times already this week and am very, very pleased. It is awesome.

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I like this tea thing. It is well-made and it is pretty. It drains the tea and the lid never falls off the tea thing.

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reviewed Hario Chacha Glass Teapot by Teaware
11 tasting notes

I have a 400 ml pot so that is the size I am reviewing. I love my pot. The glass is sturdy , pours well anbd the big infuser basket naerly fills the pot so there is lots of room even for big leafy teas.
The lid, if one pours slowly, stays in place.
The only con I can think of is. the there isnt an easy way to remove the basket when your tea is ready. It gets hot to the touch and does. not have a handle. Tweezers or tea tongs make that a non-issue.
Reasonably priced, well made.
My only real complaint is that I should have bought a smaller size. The smallest size is 300 ml.

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drank Timolino 16 oz. Ingeni by Teaware
563 tasting notes

This works fine. You can pop out the bottom strainer to clean it if needed and get any stuck leaves loose, which was touted to me as a selling point. I think the filter in my Ingenuitea popped out as well, but I never knew that until it fell off of the counter and the handle shattered off! The filter popped out at that time as well, but went right back in. Wasn’t a problem for me that it didn’t come out, I don’t really worry much about tea stains and leaves never got stuck along the sides or under the filter. The Timolino does get leaves caught at the sides of the strainer from time to time, which doesn’t please me terribly but I can live with it. :) You can also put this whole thing in the microwave, unlike the metal mesh strainer in the Ingenuitea, but I use a kettle for my water, not the microwave, so again, not a big selling point for me over any other gravity infuser. I do think I prefer the metal mesh from the Ingenuitea – it just seemed sturdier. :)

So, I went to a local tea place where I bought my Ingenuitea hoping to replace it. All she had were these Timolinos. I figured it would cost about the same as the Ingenuitea and holy cow was I wrong. I should have just walked away – I could have replaced from Adagio online and cost less even with shipping. This is also about half the price on Amazon that I paid for it locally. But I hate to have someone ring something up and then change my mind, so I paid for taking the path of least resistance and not looking at the tag before putting it on the counter. Ah, well. Supporting the local economy counts for something. And I didn’t have to go back to filter basket in the cup for my tea until a replacement arrived. So hooray for local instant gratification. :)

UPDATE: Lowering rating because this leaks if you leave liquid in it for more than a couple of hours. I normally don’t, but I had just a little bit that wouldn’t fit in the cup a couple of times in the past weeks and each time, when I went back to pick it up, empty it, etc., it had leaked all over the counter. If you are just worried about drips, the coaster with the little lip on it that comes with the Timolino takes care of them but don’t let more than a couple of tablespoons sit in this for long or things will get… wet. I now have some paperwork that looks like authentically aged parchment…

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I received this teapot for Christmas and have used it many times since. Though I was apprehensive about using this teapot (due to the negative review on Teapigs website) I can happily say I’ve not had any problems with this. I can steep a litre (35oz) of tea for a good long session, or steep enough to fill my flask for iced tea.

The steeping egg can fit up to roughly 15g of black or blended tea (without much room to expand) and for my taste it’s a nice strength. A little on the light side for some teas so not suitable for everything but for your generic blends and the odd Oolong or unflavoured black it’s great. Plus once it’s steeped for however long needed I can just pull the egg steeper up and remove it from the water, making sure I don’t oversteep. Oversteeping is a problem with my Adagio PersonaliTEA pot so at least now I have something more suitable.

I would recommend this teapot, especially for flavoured tea blends, it’s a welcomed edition to my tea family.


I now need a flask for tea, just so I can mess with people.

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reviewed Steep & Go by Teaware
1 tasting notes

I bought the steep & go before Christmas and am finally trying it out. But for the life of me I can’t get it screwed on. I bought a bottle of Dasani (16.9 oz) to try this out and every way I’ve tried I can’t get it threaded. Is there some magic trick to it?

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This broad work well when picking Pu’ Er tea cake.

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Well, the lid is definitely picking up smells from flavored teas. My plan is to deodorize it and continue to use it only for unflavored teas. I will buy an infuser made of a non-porous material (still looking to find the right one) for when I brew flavored teas in the future. I still love this teapot, though!


You might consider buying separate tetsubin for the preparation of different genres of tea… I only prepare straight teas in mine and use glass carafes for flavored blends.,,

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I’m pretty sure I messed up adding this. Most other teaware items have a different format, but I couldn’t find a place where anyone explained how to do this…

Anyhow, this is the best teapot I’ve owned. It’s the perfect size for two people to have two cups of tea each or four people to have one cup each. I love glass teapots in general. I think they’re beautiful and I enjoy seeing the color of the tea. But what really makes this teapot stand out is that there is so much space in the infuser for the leaf to expand. The infuser compared to the overall volume of the teapot is huge, and it’s also very easy to clean. The teapot itself is also easy to clean because it doesn’t have a traditional spout. The only thing I worry about are the rubbery components absorbing smells from flavored tea, but so far so good. Also, it comes it many colors, but I opted for a more neutral black.

25 OZ / 739 ML

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reviewed Kati loose tea system by Teaware
1 tasting notes

I bought this cup for work and love it so much that I had to buy another one for at home!

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I have this mug…if you’re a doctor who fan…it’s awesome!!! Now I know it’s just a picture but any whovian would say otherwise. It’s my daily tea mug…just awesome. Only a couple downfalls, after you hand wash it (not dishwasher safe…oh well) don’t leave it wet, the plastic costing that show the disappearing tardis will bubble and eventually come off. But aside from that, it’s just so cool…now to get my doctor who TARDIS teapot:)

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I don’t own this teapot myself, but the folks over at thesweethome.com gave it very high marks in a review of their preferred tea steepers: http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-tea-steeper/

Here’s the amazon link:http://www.amazon.com/Hario-Chacha-Glass-Teapot-23oz-700ml/dp/B0007WTBQ0/

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I’ve been meaning to review this as I know some Steepsters are waiting on bated breath to hear what I think—such pressure, har—but I’ve dragged my feet some because it’s a little complicated (at least to me). Let’s see if I can break this down coherently.

Decent capacity (~12oz), probably just right for 2 servings of the kinds of teas it seems most meant for, ie, resteep champs (think East Asian greens and oolongs). May seem a little small if you’re used to running around with 16oz of piping hot Western-y legacy-style or flavored blacks. What I like about this size is it’s sort of a concession between those two poles—it makes sense the more well-known glass version was relatively small (8oz or less IIRC) given it seems intended for those Chinese and Japanese-style teas, but this gives you a litle more room in case you want more options.

The mesh in the filter is rather fine. I don’t know yet if it’s rooibos-fine (I pretty much never go out with anything lacking caffeine, ha), but it’s teaball-fine for sure at least.

Easy to clean. The sleak uniform design of it means there’s no fragile or fiddly bits for gunk to get stuck in. The drinking chamber is narrow as with most tumblers so you wouldn’t be able to fit your hand down to the bottom to handwash, but a bottle brush is an obvious solution, and (I’m skeptical and haven’t done this myself but) Dragon Tea House claimed it’s dishwasher safe when I asked them about it.

It doesn’t seem like it retains heat especially well. This is sort of a plus given that, again, it seems geared towards people who drink more delicate teas like greens and oolongs. And it’s not horrible at retaining heat, just not as good as Western thermoses designed expressly for that purpose. (I put this under cons but for me it isn’t one really; I actually have a problem with most tumblers keeping tea undrinkably hot for too long. YMMV depending on your on-the-go tea-drinking schedule!) Preheating the drinking chamber with hot water would help if this was an issue, of course.

The rim where you drink from is, while not like deadly sharp or anything, a bit unpleasant to drink from given it’s just cold steel and pretty finely edged. It is like drinking out of a tin cup while camping. I understand why it is—the “interchangeable screw top and bottom and removable infusing chamber” design relies on all of the pieces screwing together easily and not breaking down over time, and being leakproof, and in order to do that with soft parts all four components would have to be rimmed in gasket-tight material and would make for a much more complicated design. So it makes sense to me it’s as simple as it is. But if the lip of where you drink being comfy is a big issue, I don’t know what to tell you (IIRC the Copco I tried had similar issues with so-sharp-you-can-cut-yourself steel parts, seems almost inevitable when you decide to focus on a steel body).

As for leakproofness, this one’s tricky. It IS leakproof as long as you’re careful and good about screwing everything just right (making sure the threading is lined up right when you start). However, there’s this thing—and I have a feeling I might need more practice and then it won’t be a problem—where when you unscrew the infusing chamber, residual water the leaves are holding onto leaks onto you, the tumbler, etc. because there’s that moment when you’re unscrewing it and there’s nothing below the infuser basket to catch that water (and obviously you can’t turn it upside down so the top lid catches it, as then all your tea would fall out!). And I don’t mean like the drops when you lift an infuser basket from a mug normally, that you can put your hand under—I’m talking as soon as you start unscrewing the infusing chamber but it’s still connected to the drinking chamber, there’s that vacuum sucking sound and water immediately starts dribbling down the sides of the tumbler. Still figuring that out (maybe if I “burp” it by unscrewing just slightly then pausing to let air in before continuing it’ll help).

I am sorry but I honestly can’t remember right now if it’s uncomfortable to touch while there’s hot water in it (this was an issue with the hourglass flip tumbler). I’m pretty sure it wasn’t an issue—maybe a little uncomfortably warm but nothing that burns or actually hurts—but if I’m remembering wrong I’ll edit this later.

The weight/heft is interesting. I am impressed because it seems like they made sure to strike a balance here, especially with how moving the infuser chamber from top to bottom affects the tumbler’s stability. It’s heavy enough to act a bit as a weight at the bottom while infusing and once you’re ready to drink your tea, but not so heavy that when on top when you have yet to infuse (say, you’ve packed it up with your leaves and water so when you get wherever you’re going you can infuse, or for whatever reason you’ve got the infuser on the top for a while) it’s unstable. I wouldn’t say the thermos is light or heavy overall; it’s in between. It feels a smidge thick in the hand (especially compared to stuff like the hourglass flip tumbler, with its slender “waist” in the center) but it’s slimmer and more comfortable overall than the Copco was, and it fits in standard car cup holders.

You don’t need my review to tell you this, it’s inherent to the design described on the website, but this is the kind of tumbler you need to unscrew a lid to drink from, where it becomes like an open-mouthed cup when unscrewed. There’s no sliding/tabbed sipping holes or anything like that. Some people require that, some people don’t like them (I don’t, as I don’t like slurping hot beverages up into my mouth; I’m the sort who always altogether removes disposable coffee cup lids as soon as I can). So, just noting which category in falls in.

All in all, it is the best tumbler I’ve tried for when you want to infuse on the go and don’t want to deal with disposing of the spent leaves and infuser basket afterward. But it’s not a perfect dream come true home run exactly. And it is more suited, at least I think, to the kind of tea drinker who has a more Eastern approach—likes unflavored greens and oolongs, say, and tends to like gongfu brewing or at least “resteep a lot” type straight teas.

All of that said, I am glad I own it! I don’t know if most Steepsters would think it worth the price tag though. Just a heads up.


Oh wow, that’s an elegant flask. One thing I wish the Timolino had was a sharper lip. That seems so hard to find.


Thank you so much for reviewing this! It still sounds wonderful, and I feel very similarly to you in terms of my preferences (tea not too hot, take the lid off disposable cups immediately, etc.). I think I’d find the edge a bit annoying, and the dripping water might feel like a bit of a dealbreaker, because the heat of the dripping water would probably terrify me a bit. But again, if this were only slightly cheaper (or heck, even if it wasn’t) I might still want it!


yeah, sorry it took me a while to get to it! it would’ve been faster to do if it was completely a hit or completely a miss, but it’s more like, i like it best of all of them so far, with a couple caveats. when/if i figure out the “unscrewing the infusing chamber makes it dribble out” issue i’ll update!

Abby Noelle

Thanks for the good and thorough review!! Goodness, I still want it…lol

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reviewed Matcha Sifter by Teaware
93 tasting notes

woohoo teaware!


And I get to review it, not drink it!

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reviewed Matcha Sifter by Teaware
93 tasting notes

It does what it’s supposed to well, and is easy to clean. A must for serious matcha drinkers.

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I adore this! I got this at the Adagio store on State street in Chicago. I was a tad worried because I found it hard to open. But while making tea, I found it not too hard to open. I got it in a blue color, which I adore.

This is so convenient for me! I love that I am able to stop steeping tea by just pulling up the lever. The lever is very secure and holds the basket in place. This keeps the tea hot for a long time (and thanks to the double layer, the cup is very easy to hold, just hot enough to keep my sensitive hands warm). I steeped my tea in here then drove 20 minutes, ate lunch while this was in my car in the cold Chicago weather (about 1 degree outside), and came back to a pleasantly warm cup of Earl Grey. the mouthpiece it super tight so I don’t see it leaking easily. Plus, It is so pretty to watch the tea steep in this. I steeped a herbal tea in here and the red swirls were so nice to look at!

The only downside to this is that the strainer that holds the tea is a bit small. There isn’t much room for the tea to move around. When I opened it to clean it, the tea leaves completely filled the small basket. They could barely fit. I wouldn’t use tea that expands a lot. That’s okay for me though, because I mainly drink black teas. Also, this isn’t too much of a downside, but I have found one of the only ways to get the basket to drop when there is water in the cup is to open the part where you drink out of. Maybe its too hot in there and the pressure build up doesn’t allow the displacement of the water? I’ve only used boiling water in this, so I don’t know what would happen while steeping at lower temperatures. It isn’t that big of a deal, but a tad inconvenient. That will not stop me from using this.

Overall, I love this and this is most likely the only tea travel mug that I will be using. Such a good idea and works really well. Not many cons to this, and the cons are not even that big of a deal!


I have one of these in green and I love it. The basket is small but it works well enough.

Abby Noelle

That’s interesting, I saw it at Teavana the other day, and the employees there told me not to get it!


really? Thats weird. This thing rocks. It keeps my drink hot for so long! (sometimes thats a bad thing because I cant drink stuff that is too hot and it takes 20 minutes with the mouthpiece open to be able to get it cool enough for me haha). Only 20 bucks too, so it is pretty inexpensive considering the quality :)

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Got this in the family Christmas grab bag. It works pretty well! I’ve been sitting with a cup (thin bone china) of hot tea in a cold (67F) room for about 2 hours now and the tea is still hot. Not as hot as when originally brought downstairs of course, but hot enough to call it more than warm. :) Short of a cup cozy plus a lid, this is a good and inexpensive alternative.

Plus, it is sunny!

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Hello all, it is time for another Tea Gear Review! excited cheering from the audience yes yes, I know these are exciting because we tea drinkers tend to ogle and hoard gear as much as we do tea. Possibly even much so since the tea gear is what brings us our delicious cups of liquid happiness. Today we are looking at the Shudei Kyusu from Den’s Tea, yes the one that I babble about periodically.

Backstory time! I first ran into the concept of the Kyusu (or Kyuusu) when I was in high school and going through that ‘obsessed with Japan and Anime’ phase (not that I have left that phase, it just has been nerfed a bit) and studying Chado and their tea culture. I was able to find a Tetsubin pretty easily but I never saw a Kyusu outside of books and online. Of course the prices online were intensely high and I am in the mindset of ‘when I buy a new piece of equipment, don’t spend too much money on it because chances are you will break it.’ I wanted a practice piece, and while browsing I found this beauty and its lovely price.

This Kyusu is made from Shudei, or red clay which has a higher level of iron oxide (and reminds me of the clay I would play with growing up in Georgia) which gives it a lovely color. There is a mostly convenient built in metal sieve for filtering out the leaves that try to escape. I say mostly convenient because being built in means it can be a real pain to clean.

I have used it quite a few times since I bought it back in late September and each time has been a treat. The size is optimal for two cups, but since I am the only one in the house that likes Japanese Green tea I usually only fill it up halfway. I like having the option of more servings should the opportunity arise. My favorite aspect of the kyusu is holding it, the handle is the perfect size for my grip and it just feels good pouring the tea.

I have noticed that it is not retaining any tea aromas or flavors (unlike Yixing) but judging by the sheen I am pretty sure this teapot has been given a glaze making it safe to use with multiple teas. Not that I am going to use it for anything other than my various Japanese greens. I am very happy with my Kyusu (it needs a name…I like naming my teapots, suggestions?) and I actually feel I do not need a fancy expensive one for my collection.

For blog and photos (and a few helpful links!) http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2013/11/dens-tea-shudei-kyusu-tea-gear-review.html


Very nice photos :) It’s an interesting looking piece!

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