Looking for a minimal yixing...
I’m looking for a minimal yixing pot for oolong. I’ve found various images of these minimal pots online (usually in tea reviews), but I can’t seem to find them via Google. Here’s a picture of one, so any help would be rad.
Life in Teacup always has some nice ones, all (or most) with a capacity of about 4oz.
This is going to sound stupid, but I couldn’t help but notice that there’s not any sort of infuser. Do I have to find a separate infuser for for these or is the spout so small that it filters the steep itself?
Nah, it’s not stupid.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a yixing come with an infuser, though. Usually you use larger, full-leafed teas with yixings. Once the leaves open up, they’re too large to pass through the narrow spout.
If you buy a full gongfu tea set though, I’ve seen some of them come with either a separate strainer (which you pour the tea out of the teapot, through, and then into the cup, much like the British tea strainers), or a small stick used for clearing tea leaves out of the teapot’s spout (as it’s very narrow, so they can get stuck).
Here, found a site with two examples:
Yixing pots usually come with a “built-in” strainer by way of some holes on the interior of the pot near the spout. If that is not the case it is usually noted but you may want to email the seller to make sure. I have purchased some pots from Mary over at www.sensationalteas.com and have been extremely pleased by not only her excellent customer service (email her any questions and she’ll be sure to respond) but also the great quality. She also sells pots from 4-5oz up to 3 cups worth and the price is unbeatable. Right now I believe she is running 50% off sales… speaking of which I should go back to ordering some before they’re all sold out :)
If you are using to brewing oolong or pu-erh which is works best with yixing, this is not a problem since they expand beyond the size of the spout.
Technically most green teas, white teas, yellow teas will also expand but they are not really recommended for yixings.
Black tea is the one you might have a problem but you can solve it with a strainer. It is actually quite useful if you also brew with gaiwans for example.
Single hole pots have no filter – just one hole directly into the spout. With most kinds of whole leaf tea, this will not cause a problem. Even if you have some intentionally or unintentionally broken leaf, by building the layers of tea in the pot correctly, or tapping the pot a lot after adding the tea, you can use a single hole pot. If the spout does get clogged, you can use a digger tool or a toothpick to clear it out (or you can blow into the spout if it’s just you).
Other pots may have a flat filter with some holes in it (usually 7-18 holes), or a “ball” filter. There are also some types of metal filters that can be added to single hole pots, for those who want them －－ some types are just a rectangle of wire screen across the front of the pot, and others are an insert type filter with metal wires that hold it in the spout.
You can check out http://jingteashop.com/ — they tend to have decent modern pots, and they have many in simple and / or geometric shapes.
Thanks so far everyone, I still haven’t decided on one yet, and am considering all of these links so far. I can’t help but notice the different color of clay which is apparently zisha, zhusha, and duan ni…. obviously this is from different mineral content. Is there a certain color I should go after for oolong- like brown, red…etc?
Zisha (purple sand) is kind of an umbrella category, which can be used to refer to most types of Yixing clay, though it also can refer to the classic purple-brown color.
My advice in terms of clay type is to choose what looks good to you, though the type of tea you’ll be brewing in a particular pot may influence your selection of clay type and firing temperature (or vice-versa, i.e., let the pot choose the tea). My other advice is to avoid (for the most part) really artificial looking colors. There are natural clays which appear blue, yellow / orange, etc. when fired, but if you see a blue or yellow that is too vibrant, it’s more likely that something has been added.
Most of the classic plain / geometric shapes have names, so once you find the name for the style you like, you can search around and compare.
Duo qiu (ball drop), shui ping (water level) / biao zhun (standard), shi piao (stone dipper), fang gu (ancient style), ba le (guava) / xian piao, li xing (pear), jun de, wen dan, xi shi, are just some of the common classic Yixing shapes.
Thanks a bunch! It seems like I was having an issue with the names, but after looking up what you posted one by one… I found a 4oz Xi Shi within my price-range. Thanks everyone!