Tea Pets

54 Replies

This is tempting…

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Uniquity said

Wow, I really feel badly about neglecting mine now. Perhaps I can get some gongfu in this weekend and give mine some love. It is a pair of small feet with an even smaller spider on each one. I got them from Verdant a year or two ago when they still had tea pets. Mine are really dark though, I wonder what they are made of, I always assumed clay. There is a symbol on them but I have no idea what it indicates.

They look this this (minus the gold symbols): http://tinypic.com/r/2zr451v/6

I’ve noticed that mine ‘drink up’ the water really quickly now, probably because I don’t ‘water’ them enough.

Is one supposed to tend to them in the same way as yixing teapots?

The feet look very cute (even though they have spiders on them /shudder/). Why did Verdant stop selling them?

Dinosara said

Yes, I have neglected mine as well because I don’t have a draining tea tray, but I guess I could put them on my non-draining one too.

Uniquity said

@Kiwi, yes I think I am supposed to treat it much like a yixing. Whoops. I don’t have any sort of a tea tray, I just use a large dinner saucer and pour some of the liquid over them, but it gets messy. Sometimes I want to cheat and leave them in a glass of tea, heh.

Verdant used to sell other teaware as well, I am not sure if they still do on occasion or not.

Emily M said

Dinosara – I, like Uniquity, have just been using a nice saucer since I don’t have a draining tea tray. It works pretty well for now, but I do want to find a nice tea tray one day. Right now they are just out of my budget for what I want.

Dinosara said

Yeah, I have a flat, non-draining tray that I use but I dislike my tea pot and such sitting in pools of tea, which is why I haven’t used my tea mascots.

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I’m so excited!!!! I was at a Chinese restaurant today and in their display case they had "Tea Pets ". I got a golden toad with the colored beads on its back and a lion laying on his back with a red ball in its palls, the ball spins as you pore tea on him. When I got home I looked them up on the net. They cost $50. and $42. plus I would have had to pay shipping, I got then both for $37. WooHoo! I’m so happy when I find a deal. I’ve been wanting one ever since this tread was started last month.

Wow, lucky!! The lion one sounds neat. Would you mind posting pictures?

I don’t know how to post a pictures, I’ll see if one of my nephews can help me tonight.

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I love the idea of having an adorable protective tea pet. I want a cat one, thinking about this one below. Pouring tea over it to smooth and colour them sounds so very personal and sweet.


Awww! They make good companions if you’re having tea by yourself. I have yet to get one for myself. Waiting a little…

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Bee said

I saw a few at one of my local tea shops. They were male and they spit water from their, uhm, “nether regions”.

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Are these “tea pets” rooted in any sort of real ancient Chinese tea custom? Or are they just a recent innovation, the clay doodles made with the unused bits of clay by underpaid “yixing” tea pot makers hoping to show their skill?

For the record, I’d be willing to become the personal tea pet of anyone who’d promise to pour delicious gong fu brewed oolong into my mouth every morning. After four or five cups I too tend to spray. I also change colors and make sounds if hot water is poured on to me, but having tried it once, am not really fond of the practice. I’m small and cute, at least compared to a frog.

haha. thats great

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Wendy3 said

I found this discussion online and just had to show you my collection. Spent 18 months in Shanghai and me and my friend who I met there started collecting these trying our best to visit every tea shop in the city.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157636652555225/

Those are beautiful! I’m so jealous of your stay in Shanghai. Nice collection.

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I have a teapet that squirts water when you pour hot tea on it. Couldn’t resist making a video :)


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Roughage said

I have two of this one (his and hers tortoises):
They are great fun to use when friends or family ask for my clumsy version of a tea ceremony. I particularly enjoy setting them up and not telling those present that they squirt. Unfortunately, almost everyone knows they do now. Still, I had fun helping them to find out. :)

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Please forgive my ignorance, but what’s the point of these things? Is it just to have something to do? Or after seasoning it for a while, can you put the tea pet in a cup of water and it will flavor it like that tea?

They’re kind of like pet rocks, but not really? I talked about them with Shunan from T-Drunk at the Coffee and Tea Festival the year before, so much of what I know comes from her. You take care of them like yixing tea pots, pouring excess tea over them during a gongfu session to season them. You can indeed also soak them. They change color and become more fragrant over time. Also, they also keep you company as you appreciate the tea. Tea pets that are specifically pixiu – mythical dragon-like creatures – are said to attract luck and money.

When making tea in a traditional Chinese style, it’s a common practice to rinse the tea leaves prior to drinking. That rinse is then used to pre-heat the teaware. It feels a bit unceremonious to just dump that water so it is then poured over the tea pet. We’ll usually use a tea table with a drain in it so that we don’t make a mess. I’m the manager of Tea Drunk and tea pets are something that our customers have really responded to. When we opened in October we had about 40 or so and now we are down to just 4.

It’s mostly just a fun little addition to your tea drinking experience. There are also traditional beliefs that certain materials have souls and certain materials do not. The tea pet (usually made out of yixing clay) does not have a soul but tea does. Therefore whenever you share tea with your tea pet you are imparting a soul that them. I always found that idea a bit heartwarming :)

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