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Recent Tasting Notes
I am so glad I had this written in advance, because I can barely type at the moment. Yesterday there was no blog because headache, and the headache is better but still really annoying…no the problem today is my piece of garbage electronics. Both my computer and my phone have decided to simultaneously act like fails. It has taken me half an hour to just write this paragraph. NECROMANCER RAGE!!! Tomorrow I will be back with tea, or an announcement that my computer has been smashed into a million pieces. Sigh, I so wanted this to be for teaware Wednesday.
It was love at first sight when I spied this shiboridashi on the Teaware.house website, seriously, with a motif of the dragon and phoenix (a common motif used in wedding art, along with the double happiness) and flowers made for a beautiful piece of teaware that borders on the gaudy. And I love things that are gaudy and audacious. I love the color, that shade of green is retro, seriously I had a road-side arm chair from the 60s that had that same color, it is classic. Though in person it is a bit more of a lime green than an asparagus green, very subtle but these things matter.
One this that I really like about this piece is the inside of the shiboridashi, a lot of my favorite pieces have designs on the interior as well as exterior, and this one is no exception. A peony in full bloom is embossed on the interior giving a bit of texture as well as a ghostly appearance, plus it matches the peony lid knob.
At 85ml, it is on the small side, which I like, perfect for a tea that requires a ton of steeps and you are the only one drinking. Using this shibo took a bit of getting used to, the pour is great for larger leaf Chinese teas, I found that the grooves and space between spout and lid did not work for Japanese teas as I was hoping, but it works perfectly fine for other teas. The one little finicky bit I found is that the lid does not fit perfectly flush, when I go to pour I have to wobble around to make sure it is lined up perfectly or it makes a mess. Using it enough times I can eyeball it by matching up the pattern to the spout, but at first it was a bit frustrating.
Now the real important part that sent me on a night of research, what exactly is Huoci? 活瓷 It means ‘Living Porcelain’ and is a modern style of porcelain created in 1986, fusing art and science for what seems like one of the silliest gimmicky things I have heard in a while. Combining over 20 minerals with high heat, this porcelain is supposed to remove bitterness, release healthy ions, dechlorinate water, increase skin beauty, and boil water faster….suuuuure it does. I can see why this is not listed on the website and required me to search elsewhere, that seems far-fetched at best. Apparently this glaze has tourmaline in it as one of the ingredients and I wonder if that is what causes its lovely green? I did not notice any magical taste changing effects, it is a beautiful piece of teaware that is quite happy in my collection. I especially love using it for darker colored teas to contrast the bright green.
Weather in the Midwest is weird, this should be the subtitle of my blog, ‘tea, geekery, and weather in the Midwest is weird.’ Yesterday was awesome, really epic thunderstorm and warm weather, had my windows open all day, and then when night fell I went to sleep with my windows open because it was still fairly warm. My sleep was awful, I kept feeling more and more cold, but my half asleep brain registered it as not enough blankets rather than anything else. At 8 AM I woke up for some reason and realized that no, the reason I was cold was because the temperature had dropped to freezing and it was snowing. I promptly closed the windows and dove back to the blanket pile and slept til the early afternoon. Sadly the damage was done, I felt kinda garbage when I woke up, turns out sleeping in frigid air is not healthy, note to self check the prospected temperature before bed!
Long time passing since I last looked at one of the pieces of teaware in my far to large for its own good collection, so today I am looking at Teaware.house’s Azure Ruyao Pancake Teapot a delightfully teal colored 145ml teapot with a large webwork of crackles just waiting for a good staining. First off the pros of this pot, it is pretty!! I love the coloring, so very much, it matches my hair which pleases me. The shape also pleases me, the squashed appearance is like someone took a Xishi pot and stepped on it, and there is something immensely entertaining about teapots that look squashed.
It is thick-walled so it holds the heat well and the built in strainer keeps out the leaves. Well mostly, the holes are a bit on the large side so it lets out the smaller leaves and particles, so either you need a strainer or need to just eat the leaves like I tend to. Free fiber! With it being rounded and wide of mouth it means it is a lot easier to clean out than some of my other pots, wide mouth pots are sooooo easy to clean, they are a boon to all teaware hoarders.
My only complaints with this pot is the size and the lid. Ok size, it is a perfectly excellent size for my large leaf oolongs and fluffy white, though I never use it for reds and shou, meaning it is barely showing the staining. This is really not a complaint on the side of the teapot, more on me for not chugging the darker teas as often as I should with this pot, though the slow staining that is developing is lovely and I cannot wait to really see the dark wide channels splitting this pot like a river delta. The legit complaint is it is a bit of a dribbler, but only when the pot is totally full. So at first pour it dribbles and then by the time it is half empty no dribbling, this is not a problem really if pouring on a tea tray or over a large cha hai (I tend to just tip mine in and balance the lid knob on the spot) but I tend to make a bit of a mess with this pot once in a awhile. Other than the dribbling this pot is excellent, I am quite pleased with it.
I was going to take the weekend off, but decided holidays or no, I have been far to lazy the last week…I blame the new update for Minecraft coming out. Of course since I will be ordering an Xbone on Monday, well, let’s just say I need to get my affairs in order because when that thing arrives I am not going to be doing much other than playing on my new MASSIVE world. It was a good Christmas, I surprisingly got everything I wanted (even things I didn’t talk about wanting, Santa is a mind reader) everyone really like their presents, and I was surprisingly relaxed. Usually I am not a huge holiday person because my stress level goes bonkers, but this year I wanted to give myself the gift of ‘chill’ and I think spending the entire month (ok several months) tea drunk really helped.
So last week I talked about a beautiful cup from Teaware.house and why not continue the series with another beautiful cup, the Silver Threaded Red Hat Teacup or as I call it, the hyperdrive cup! The really astoundingly gorgeous glaze looks like falling through stars, you know, like in Star Wars when the ship (iconically in my mind the Millennium Falcon) goes into hyperspace and the stars become lines and you look like you are falling through light. See, perpetual tea drunk makes me see fun things in my tea cup, science fiction hallucinations aside, this cup is gorgeous, I really do find myself getting lost in it.
I love the shape of it most of all I think, hat shaped cups are possibly one of my favorite shapes for a cup, though really I am a sucker for any wide cup that allows the tea to cool off to a not melting my tongue temperature quickly. Also this shape just feels very elegant to hold, especially with its little pedestal foot, whenever I drink out of it I feel the urge to lounge and recite poetry…conveniently for anyone around I rarely give in to temptation.
For Christmas my awesome grandparents essentially bankrolled an order for more tea gear (because I have an addiction) meaning I have more tea themed loot on the way, including the blue version of this cup, which I am very excited to match to the red. Other than me absolutely loving it, Ben (the Tea Barbarian) also really loves it and keeps insisting on using it…Ben…who usually gets annoyed with my ‘thimble cups’ and wants to drink large mugs wants to use this cup because it is that pretty. That is my reasoning for getting the blue one to match, I swear!
I am half tempted to start a new series on my blog called confessions of a teaware hoarder, because wow, I have a lot of stuff. Really though, this will just be a continuation of my long lagging teaware review, but it really could be a tale of how Amanda spends all her money on tea gear and eventually runs out of room to keep it all. Honestly it was running out of shelf space that finally made me realize that I might have a bit of a problem, of course this problem was made worse today by the grand opening of teaware.house, created by TwoDog of White2Tea.
Yours truly was lucky enough to get a little sneak peak at some of the goodies that are being offered at the new shop, like all good drug pushers, the first hit is free…my cart is already filling up with things I don’t need but can’t say no to. And yes, I know I said no more tea shopping until I get my new Xbone, but well…I have a problem. Plus this means I have the opportunity to talk about teaware again, yay! And first up I am going to showcase the Geyao Fish Cup, oh my one greatest weakness, teaware with fishes!
This cup fascinates me with its beauty! I have seen (and own for that matter) cups with raised fishies swimming around giving the illusion of the fish swimming around in tea, even without tea in the cups they are usually celadon so it resembles water. This cup goes the extra mile, I feel, with the combination of celadon coloring and earthenware unglazed clay, it really reminds me of water lapping against the edge of a pond, the surface gently disturbed as a koi noticing you are close to the edge pops up expecting food.
Plus the texture of the cup is wonderful, it is slightly rough (as one expects from clay) meaning I am less likely to drop it, which is always a serious win!! Also it feels good in my hand, against my mouth when I am drinking, and it holds the heat like a boss, all of these make for an enjoyable sipping experience, especially when you have a friendly fish sharing your cup with you! Now, with any luck my teaware hoarder friends will leave a few pieces of awesome for me to procure with Christmas money, until then I will sit and stare at my full cart with crossed fingers for an early Christmas!