i stumbled over a picture in the mandarin's tea blog,
and i saw this picture of a gathering they had, http://bp3.blogger.com/_rNl5VRNLz_s/SFb ... G_2222.JPG
what caught my attention was that in the water boiler, there seems to be rocks?
i know these are meant to add minerals to the water to make tea taste better, and i also read over teamasters blog that bamboo charcoal and broken yixing pots also helps,
i'd like to ask your opinion on which is more advisable to use, and where we might be able to get these rocks?
has the answers to most of your questions, including where you can order some.
I think charcoal does less of adding minerals to the water, and more of removing unwanted smells & even flouride (if you leave it in long enough). If you're using spring water to start with, you probably don't really need either, but if you're using filtered water, you might want to try one / both approach. The maifan stones would be best to use if the water is very low in minerals - otherwise, you might end up with water that's overmineralized.
The proprietor of Tea Gallery, where they're drinking in that picture, trained with Best Tea House in Hong Kong, who also suggest using the maifan stones.
See also my comments in the other thread w/r/t different sizes / types... the stones should *not* smell rocky or unpleasant, nor should the water you boil with them. You don't have to use them in your kettle, once you've rinsed / boiled the stones, you can leave them in standing water before you boil it if you prefer.