Drax wrote:TRB, I am not knocking the effect, I am in complete agreement with you that there is a difference (in perception). I agree that brewing tea with a tea master would be an wonderful experience, but I also think that you are far too ignorant of the role that you play in the whole process, and especially how susceptible you are to the variables. And again, I do not think our susceptibility is a bad thing, I think it's a wonderful part of the experience.
And yes, this discussion is a side-track discussion. This original topic was about trays and waste water buckets, not about the psychological perception of tea. So we are continuing to be very rude by having this discussion here in this thread.
I don't think that discussing such matters is side-tracking the discussion at all. On the opposite.
I believe that expanding this discussion to those subject matters when talking about accessories comes much closer to tea, and tea appreciation, when we look that particular items, such as a tray, are not just there for bare functionality, but do also serve other less known and less obvious aspects of tea art and culture.
With my answer and the following discussion i, and other participants, may have inspired the person that asked the initial question into looking into aspects of tea art he/she may not have, previously, which then also may give him/her new ideas of what he/she may chose.
But maybe not.
Maybe the person does not wish to go that deep into tea. But then i and other have given enough advice what can be used as an alternative, and won't need to read any further.
Nevertheless - don't think that it can be considered rude to try to share here some of what i was fortunate enough to learn. For most westerners Tea culture is a very unknown world, and rooted in philosophies and cultures that are quite different from what is known to them. Unless they have spend much time and study in Asia already. Which not everybody has the opportunity to.
While there is much materialism and commercialization in Asia's tea culture, which unfortunately is the first aspects most are initially exposed to when beginning, as some of the comments in this discussion have shown - the is also another tea world existing here, a world that is very beautiful.
One poster, for example, has said that he has heard old tea drinkers in Taiwan talking about the same thing - that also what you place your cups on will influence the tea.
So - again, yes - when a person asks the question about alternatives to modern bamboo gong fu trays and waste water buckets, i think introducing thoughts how experienced tea aficionados in the homes of tea culture chose and select their tea ware directly answers the question of alternatives.
...albeit in a slightly unexpected way, maybe...