New here and really need help!


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

New here and really need help!

Postby Tea4Todd » Sep 5th, '10, 01:49

First of all I'd like to say "Hello" to everyone here.

I am reasonably new to tea. I had a good taste for it when I lived in Portland, Oregon and used to go to a few really quaint and amazing tea bars. I've been back in my hometown now for some time and have found it very difficult to find anything like that here. The closest we have is Teavana which seems to be a huge conglomerate corporation and where as they have interesting signature blends and some good tea, they seem too mass produced for me and I feel as if they aren't truly for the whole ambience that tea provides.

Anyhow, I really need some help choosing teaware, I have seen a ton of stuff some incredibly expensive, some, dirt cheap, my real question is, what should I use?

I love chinese green, oolong, and chinese black teas. However, my girlfriend and I enjoy tea-time together as well, and she is more partial to white teas, and japanese green teas. I was originally interested in handcrafted Tokoname pots, until I saw how ungodly expensive they were....I saw some that were 500+ dollars!! I am on a budget, but I want to do things right!

I like the gaiwan and yixing idea a lot. I understand that dedicating a specific type of tea to a yixing is necessary, and that's fine, since I am the primary oolong drinker, I wouldn't mind dedicating a yixing to that. I also do a lot of single serve tea on my own...not many of my friends are into it, other than my gf.

Anyhow, I have found it incredibly difficult to find exactly what I am looking for I have a pretty archaic way of brewing tea right now, it's tedious, but does that job, it just looks...odd...lol.

Yixing? Gaiwan? Tokoname? Cast Iron Japanese? Glass Tea Pot? Also...what cups should I use? small 1oz? 2oz? more? Gaiwan size?!? Amount of loose leaf to put into Gaiwan and Yixing?!? Do I need a serving pitcher? Tea Table (I kind of want one...they are really cool looking)

Anyhow, any help here would be great..I really want to make sure I do things right. Also, I think taking time out of the day, to do a proper setup and really get things right kind of centers your energy and allows you to de-stress.
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby Chip » Sep 5th, '10, 02:30

Hi Todd, welcome!

How about all of the above? :mrgreen:

OK, based on what you have said, I would start with a HQ Kyusu which does not have to cost a fortune. Since you are brewing some sencha or similar anyway, this will brew it the best. And for now you can brew virtually anything in it except maybe scented or roasted teas.

I would suggest this site, they have some really nice Kyusu and the owner is extremely helpful.

http://www.artisticnippon.com/product/tokoname/tokonameindex.htm
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby Tea4Todd » Sep 5th, '10, 02:36

Haha, I eventually want to get all of them, but I am on a budget right now :/

Lately I've been brewing a lot of Oolong, Black, and this one specific Bi Lo Chun green tea. I'm really on an Oolong kick right now and currently have Black Dragon Oolong, Monkey Picked, and a few others of which I don't know the name as the packaging is all in Chinese.

I have a few Sencha but haven't brewed them in a while. I have one that a friend got for me directly from Kyoto. The entire package was very, very fancy and it cost her around 75.00 for the package..I have no idea what it is...the leaves are dark Emerald Green not very large in size, and the taste is very vegetal and earthy, with a light grassy sweetness to it..almost like a fresh sweetened wheatgrass....the brew is a semi cloudy green...not matcha cloudy, but just, not perfectly clear. I have no clue what it is, but like I said, I haven't brewed it in a while.

I'm going to check out those Kyusu do I need specific cups as well?
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby Chip » Sep 5th, '10, 02:42

At that price, maybe a gyokuro, maybe even a fukamushi gyokuro. If you take a photo and post it, maybe someone can read the package. Post the leaves too!

And use your sencha while it is fresh. Once open, it begins to fade immediately.

A gaiwan will pretty much work too, but can get tricky when brewing Japanese greens.
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby Tea4Todd » Sep 5th, '10, 02:47

Oh, it's a bit old :/ I've kept it wrapped pretty tightly though....do you think it's bad? I'll try to get a picture of it. It tastes great, although the last time I brewed it, tasted a bit flat, and a little astringent :/

Tell me what you think of these Tokoname's

http://www.artisticnippon.com/product/tokoname/houryu/kokudei_pinebarkteapot.html

http://www.artisticnippon.com/product/tokoname/shoryu/yohen.html

http://www.artisticnippon.com/product/tokoname/koshinishifuku.html

I seem to like the darker colors lol
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby Chip » Sep 5th, '10, 02:53

Those are all quite nice, I have looked at them several times. The last two are definitely "wants." :mrgreen:
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby MadeForTeaVea » Sep 5th, '10, 04:21

I have mixed feelings about TeaVana too. They are a very big company and I think they are really overpriced. But I have bought/had several different teas from there and I will say they do have some pretty good everyday tea there. I absolutely despise the workers there though, no offense to anyone if they work there.

The biggest problem is their price. Yea, the tea I have had from there is good, not great. There tea seems like it's good for everyday drinking but it cost so much, you might as well go out and buy some high end tea.

I don't mind going there every now and then and picking up a little bit of tea but I am very selective on how much money I will spend there.
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby Tea4Todd » Sep 5th, '10, 04:28

MadeForTeaVea wrote:I have mixed feelings about TeaVana too. They are a very big company and I think they are really overpriced. But I have bought/had several different teas from there and I will say they do have some pretty good everyday tea there. I absolutely despise the workers there though, no offense to anyone if they work there.

The biggest problem is their price. Yea, the tea I have had from there is good, not great. There tea seems like it's good for everyday drinking but it cost so much, you might as well go out and buy some high end tea.

I don't mind going there every now and then and picking up a little bit of tea but I am very selective on how much money I will spend there.



I agree, although I am quite fond of some of their signature blends, and taking some of their traditional teas and blending them with their lightly flavored, or scented teas. HOWEVER, I do think their prices are way too high...25.00 for 2oz of Monkey Picked Oolong? I dunno if I can muster that. I do like their Pi Lo Chun (Bi Lo Chun) although that's pricey too, at 14.00 per 2 oz, which actually, now that I think about it, is pretty moderate in the tea world.

Some of their Baristas here are actually pretty good...others, well...lol :shock:
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby MadeForTeaVea » Sep 5th, '10, 06:10

I've had several good teas from there. The Himalayan Majestic is great. And I know about the Monkey Picked Oolong, jeepers! Every once in a while you can get some tea on sale and it's reasonably price.

But whats worse than there prices on their tea is the prices on their teaware. Forget about it. I don't mind paying a few bucks too much for some decent tea but I'm not paying there insane prices on their teaware.

Speaking of which, does anyone use any Bee House pots? I see them there and I always want to buy one because of the aesthetics but then I look and the price and shudder. I mean at the end of the day it's just a neat looking plain tea pot in my mind, nothing special. Unless I'm missing something?
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby Tea4Todd » Sep 5th, '10, 06:39

Well, the purpose of this post was to kind of find out about what I should be using. In response to your comment on Teavana's teapot pricing...I'm starting to find out, that really good quality Teapots, especially Yixing and Tokoname are REALLY expensive! I've seen some for 500+ that being said, I doubt that Teavana's Yixings are very high quality though.
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby Tea4Todd » Sep 5th, '10, 06:44

MadeForTeaVea wrote:I've had several good teas from there. The Himalayan Majestic is great. And I know about the Monkey Picked Oolong, jeepers! Every once in a while you can get some tea on sale and it's reasonably price.

But whats worse than there prices on their tea is the prices on their teaware. Forget about it. I don't mind paying a few bucks too much for some decent tea but I'm not paying there insane prices on their teaware.

Speaking of which, does anyone use any Bee House pots? I see them there and I always want to buy one because of the aesthetics but then I look and the price and shudder. I mean at the end of the day it's just a neat looking plain tea pot in my mind, nothing special. Unless I'm missing something?



Oh, and have you ever tried their Utopian Jewel? I really like it. It's a good breakfast tea in my opinion. I was upset to find out that they periodically discontinue teas (for reasons unknown) and they will be discontinuing the Utopian Jewel along with a few others :/
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby laura99 » Sep 5th, '10, 08:15

MadeForTeaVea wrote:Speaking of which, does anyone use any Bee House pots? I see them there and I always want to buy one because of the aesthetics but then I look and the price and shudder. I mean at the end of the day it's just a neat looking plain tea pot in my mind, nothing special. Unless I'm missing something?


I have a 22oz Bee House pot that I bought back when I was first getting started with loose leaf. I just checked back on my receipt and I cannot believe I paid $30 for it! I imagine Teavanna would charge even more. I do love the look, but I now only occasionally use it to hold already brewed tea on a warmer. The strainer it comes with was about worthless, roobios and sencha went right through the holes!
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby Alex » Sep 5th, '10, 10:59

Just a quick note on what the OP said do most here think you need more then one yixing for oolong? I.e 3 for the whole spectrum.
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby Tea4Todd » Sep 5th, '10, 14:41

Zensuji wrote:Just a quick note on what the OP said do most here think you need more then one yixing for oolong? I.e 3 for the whole spectrum.



I'm wondering about this too. For instance, if I'm using light roasted Oolongs as opposed to heavy roasted Oolongs I'd probably have to switch Yixing's right? I also understand that until seasoned, Yixing's will change the flavor of your tea.

This is all so complicated!
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Re: New here and really need help!

Postby Alex » Sep 5th, '10, 15:15

Some do split the pots in to 3 one for green, one for semi one for dark. I have heard of people just using one for all oolong. oh and also some use one pot per tea i.e a pot for just ali shan

This is why Gaiwans can be such an awesome tool
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