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The real value of what you buy

Is there really a correlation between price and “value” of the tea and, more specifically, teaware that we buy?

I was in a large Chinese convenience, with lots of odds and ends in it – $3 candy bars shelved under $300 pieces of art – and I had to admit that, though their teaware selection looked… cheap, it seemed like things I could really use. I ended up buying a large 4-cup glass and plastic teapot for $4, (a ripped off design – http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/255542788/Glass_tea_pot/showimage.html except plastic and cheap looking) because if it didn’t work out, that was only a couple bucks down the drain.

And, gods damn it, it works fantastic. Handles fine, pours perfectly, strains well… Completely functional! Four dollars!

And then, I have more than one teapot on my windowsill collecting dust and I don’t brew with them because they are miserable to use. They are extremely awkward to pour, and in the case of this gorgeous $70 tea set made of “fishstone”, the pot doesn’t empty out completely into the cups and the draining tray doesn’t work very well.

How much do we really focus on decorative quality of our tea pots, while ignoring the sensible functionality that should be the core idea behind any teapot? A tetsubin, though it can be made “pretty”, is an investment because of its sturdiness and ability to last through the years, and an Yixing can be very rewarding if properly cared for, but for the rest of the time…
Unless we’re making tea for company, is it better just to brew tea in an infuser mug than to use any one from the selection of gorgeous teapots out there? – Mind you, this is coming from a guy whose teaware’s net value is in the thousands.

9 Replies
Cofftea said

I’ve been wondering that about yi xings.

At the very least, they’re therapeutic to take care of :)

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i use my pretty teapots as decoration, i figured as much when purchased, i have a $300+ dragon kettle, we’ve used it a few times but it’s a pain to clean etc.

then i have the not so pretty daily use ones

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Just finished a Quotefalls puzzle, and the message seemed relevant…

“It is better to appreciate things you cannot have than to have things you cannot appreciate”

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Since I began my tea journey, I have spent $$$ Mostly I do not regret my purchases, but my last two pieces of teaware, I do not use much. I do love my houhin, I like my gaiwan, but they don’t see the usage that my Chatsford sees. Good ole faithful $12 Chatsford is still my BEST purchase. I do continue to look at teapots, why I don’t know…just always seem to be on the look out for that perfect pot when in actuality that perfect teapot is already sitting on my window sill just waiting for tea….
I put this quote on my home page to remind me that I don’t need a lot of things:
If you have one pot
And can make your tea in it
That will do quite well.
How much does he lack himself
Who must have a lot of things.
—Sen Rikyu

I can totally connect with your quote:
“It is better to appreciate things you cannot have than to have things you cannot appreciate”
This reminds me of why I should have waited to buy those last two pieces of teaware…sigh…

In response to your original post, I don’t think you have to spend a lot of money to have serviceable pieces of teaware. I often wonder what my children are going to do with all my teaware…estate sell, give it away, throw it away or what I hope for is that they will keep it, use it and remember me.

I never even thought about all my teaware dispersing in an estate sale…
The thought of a woman picking up a well-seasoned, well-loved yixing pot, pays $5, and displays it on an end table… Then her kid knocks it off, it breaks, and they throw away the pieces.
I could cringe.
It reminds me of a poem by Gary Soto, “Ode to the Yard Sale”.

that is the saddest thing i’ve read tonight, JMKauftheil. I would “roll” over in my grave if that happened. :(

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Today I purchased a teapot that was marked $5 for $1 (Still can not believe my luck).
I am new to the family of tea lovers. The teapot has no chips and keeps my tea very warm and cozy. The sales lady saw that I was in love with the teapot and she just wanted make my day. I look forward to adding to my collection of teas and teapots (Thank God tomorrow is payday) LoL!

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katers said

I haven’t spent a whole lot of money on teaware. I don’t have any nice tea cups. I drink everything out of mugs. I have a regular tea kettle to boil water, one of those metal ones with the shiny surface that has a whistler. My parents bought me an inexpensive glass pot that makes about five cups that has a built in strainer with a sort of push top thing going on, but it isn’t a button. It’s neat. Anyway, aside from that, we just have tea balls. I really enjoy my tea. For me, it’s not about the preparation. It’s about the taste.

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