Thank you for the invitation to your forum Tim and Chip. An absorbing topic and a knowledgeable, interesting and considerate following. As for me, I'm an old bloke so my story is kinda long - fair warning!
I drank my first tea in 1939 when I was five years old. I distinctly recall standing by the fire, watching my grandfather's tea boil in a small open pot, while he told me to listen carefully and remember as the Prime Minister announced, from the BBC, that the Country was at war. (I was more interested in getting a sip of that wonderful golden liquid with large brown leaves - Lipton's no doubt - rolling around, coming to a boil and smelling so good.)
Today I drink Bewley's Irish Breakfast first thing, followed thru the day by PG Tips until four-o-clock. From then until bed-time I am desolate and caffeine-forbidden. Lately my barbarian taste has moderated to a night-time cup of, "Youthberry and Wild Orange Blossom", from (gulp) Teavana!
I hope that reading this forum will improve my taste.
Researching for my next purchase is what brought me here. Currently I boil-up in a nice 'Breville' kettle and brew in either a nondescript mug (tea-bag!) or, if I feel like drinking out of a beautiful little 'Mikasa' cup, I brew in a nondescript ceramic tea-pot (loose-leaf), of which I have five - none of which thrill me.....So I need a new and exotic tea-pot, and perhaps a new cast-iron kettle. In looking around for these I stumbled upon this little treasure, and look forward to learning here the finer things about tea and tea-ware.
My favorite brew-up is with water from a cast iron kettle I bought cheap and new ten years ago. Tea tastes different, even in my nondescript teapots, but I worry about lead and so this kettle is seldom used. (I understand lead test strips are available, but have read about false results.) And so a new lead-free-for-sure is on my list as well as a ceramic teapot to match. (Hint - looking for suggestions while I peruse here.)
My most memorable brew-up goes back to when I was an apprentice in an iron foundry in Glasgow, Scotland: One of my jobs was to make tea for 'The Men' three times a day...morning-break, lunchtime and afternoon-break. So I'd fill our 'billy-cans' (great big blackened cans with a wire handle), dump in two or three...or four spoons of tea and stand them in the core-ovens for I-don't-remember-how-long, to brew. I made perfect tea. you could stand on it and the after-taste was a commanding blend of cast iron and core-sand...smell it?
I left Scotland after college, worked as an engineer for Atomic Energy of Canada and then Ford Motor in Detroit, and retired twenty-five years ago. Been married to my high-School gal for fifty-eight years and love to sing.
With kind regards, rroberrt.