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.