Everyday Tea Ware
What’s your everyday tea setup? What teapots, cups and other equipment do you use? What do you recommend?
I used to use my favorite gaiwan all the time almost never using anything else. Now when I make shou anyway I use one of the solid silver teapots I got from Yunnan Sourcing. It is turning out to have been worth the price because I use it at least three to four times a week. I tend to use the gaiwan still for sheng. When I brew Western style I tend to use the 16oz Glass Perfect Tea Maker I bought from Teavana.
I uses my cheap little 110ml gaiwan for most things, except some greens I use a little 250ml glass teapot.
I have a beginner dragon egg yixing that I havent decided what Im going to use for yet. And I have a tiny little 30ml Yixing on its way from TealifeHK that will be for ripe and aged pu’erh.
When I’m gongfu brewing, I continually rotate all of my teaware because I get bored of using the same gaiwans, cups, etc. all the time.
My glass tea tumbler is my most heavily used piece of teaware. I use it to brew tea every morning for work and whenever I’m on the go.
Here’s the one I use: http://www.worldmarket.com/product/tessie+floral+glass+tea+infuser+carafe.do
I like this because it’s cheap and functional. You can sometimes find it for $6 when they have a sale. Glass is prone to slipping and breaking…I’ve shattered a couple myself. A foam sleeve helps with that and keeps your tea warm longer too.
I rotate nearly everything largely because I have different materials for certain teas and occasions. Gongfu ware, Japanese wares, even mugs. The only ware I use most consistently is my 2-cup ceramic Western tea pot, which is for steeping herbal teas in the evening.
A couple of large mugs that I enjoy the presence of. A cup kind of sieve that holds tea and goes on top of the cup while brewing, and then is removed until resteeping.
Perhaps some empty tea bags for extra fine tea.
For matcha: A sieve, flatter kind of mug (think soup mug) and a whisk.
On the go a travel mug with filter on top that keeps the tea from being drunk.
Mason jars and tea caddies for storage. Smaller metal caddies for matcha.
An electric kettle for safety. (They autoshut off)
A shot glass. Spoons for measuring out tea.
A scale, if needed.
I use my Teavana cast iron teapot (hot) and Teavana 16oz Glass Perfect Tea Maker (iced) most of the time at home with one of a few dozen mugs (I use mugs as a cup 90% of the time, I rarely use glasses).
For some oolongs, puerh (and occasionally other types) I use a clay dragon pot for gongfu method. It is my only smaller pot.
My clear teapot is mostly for oolong or blooming teas.
I have 5 other teapots I sometimes use but they are a bit too big for everyday use. When I’m not at home, I use disposable DIY teabags + looseleaf and one of my travel mugs.
Depending on what kind of tea I’m making I tend to cycle through my teaware on a weekly basis.
For teas I prefer to brew western-style I have a collection of bottom-dispensing tea makers, beat up teapots with strainers. I get the most use out of my samadayo lazy gongfu steeper and my beehouse 12 oz. I have mugs up the wazoo, so I always use a different one.
I’ve got a small tea tray which I store a gaiwan, a sharing pitcher, and a cup or two for quick sessions. I do have a bigger tray, but that’s more for company :P I also have a cheap Kyusu from Den’s Tea that I use for any Japanese tea.
I also drink a lot of cold brewed tea, so my hario cold brew bottle is very rarely never in use. In the summer I use a glass gallon jug for mugicha.
I always have a mini scale if I’m feeling precise, a tea scoop if I can find it, and my beloved bonavita gooseneck kettle.
My setup shifts a bit from week to week depending on what I"m in the mood for, but more or less is as follows:
During the work week, I leave the following in the office: electric kettle, scale, gravity steeper for wastewater, two gaiwans, a shiboridashi, an assortment of small cups and a couple of small saucers to pour over or set strainers on. I rotate out tea towels to serve as the prep surface, and since I make some of my own teaware, I rotate things out to make sure I spend time to enjoy all of it. Also keep a matcha setup (chawan, chasen, small measuring spoon) there. After breaking things a couple of times taking them home I mostly leave this stuff and wash them at the office as needed, just taking the kettle and scale home during the weekend. As for the tea itself, I have a small container I load up with teas to drink during the week and bring it home to refill or rotate things out of over the weekend.
At home I pretty much use the same, but I prep on a tea tray instead of a tea towel and don’t need the gravity steeper. Plus, my tea pets and entire stash are there, of course!
My current routine is to do a western brew in the mornings and have a gong fu session after noon.
Ceramic Infuser Mug
Hongcha Tea Leaves
Clay Tea Pets
Tea Tray (Cha Pan_)
Tea Holder (Cha He_)
Mats / Coaster (Bei Dian_)
Bamboo Brush (Yang Hu Bi_)
Tea Scoop (Cha Daoju_)
Pu-Erh Tea Pick / Knife (Pu’er Dao_)
Strainer (Lvwang) & Strainer Holder (Lvwang Jia)
Tea Cloth (Cha Jin)
Waste Bucket (Fei Cha Tong)
Ceramic or Clay Gai Wan/Teapot
RO Water + Mountain Spring Water
Tea Mug / Cup
Heicha / Oolong Tea Leaves
Gaiwans all the way for me. I have two main gaiwans along with a tray and an electric kettle. I enjoy the simplicity.
The only exception is adding a fairness pitcher, some coasters, more cups when I’m drinking with others or practicing gong fu (Never hurts to constantly trying to improve! :D)