Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

Culture, language, tangibles, intangibles from countries known for tea. China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, India, etc...


Dec 31st, '16, 07:11
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Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by Noonie » Dec 31st, '16, 07:11

I'm writing this while having a bad Starbucks tea on an overnight trip with my wife and daughter...

I would love to be able to enjoy good tea, in an easy to prepare manner, whether I'm on an overnighter or away for a week.

I'm probably away from home/work a total of 3-4 weeks per year, a mix of week long vacations in hotels/resorts, maybe a cottage (can be treated like home so I wouldn't count it as travel wrt tea), and always in major countries (safe water, etc.).

Up to now I've brought tea bags (Tea from Taiwan oolong), but I don't always have access to a kettle, or even a mug when staying at hotels. I use these same tea bags when I hike, using a hiking stove (works great).

How I see my options:
Heating water: bring a kettle when in doubt. My Bonavita is a little bulky for some trips. Other ideas?

Tea and teaware: continue with my tea bags and use a mug; try grandpa style with some high mountain or wuyi and a mug; bring my daily drinkers (sencha and 1-2 oolongs) and glazed teaware (most cumbersome).

The nature of my trip and what else I'll be doing will certainly drive this, as the more time I have (morning when family still in bed) the more I can spend on enjoying tea.

Never tried grandpa style, but I'm considering it...for both sencha and oolong.

What do you all do?

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Dec 31st, '16, 13:07
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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by pedant » Dec 31st, '16, 13:07

i usually don't bring a kettle. too bulky as you said, and hot water is such a common thing that i just assume i'll be able to get it somehow. especially at hotels.
if there's not one in the room, you can usually go to a kitchen/cafe area. if it's a nice hotel, you can often borrow one from the front desk.
microwaving water in a mug is also an option (watch out for superheating...).
the only time i bring a kettle is if i'm staying for a while at a friend's house or something.

grandpa style is what i usually do, and for this, the major thing i care about is how well the leaves sink.
since you've never tried grandpa style, basically you dump some leaves and boiling/near-boiling water in a cup, and by the time it's cool enough to drink, a lot of leaves sink. i personally don't like to 'drink around' a lot of floating leaves, so you have to experiment to see what kinds of teas sink well (ideally close to 100% of the leaves will sink). also fyi if the water isn't hot enough, the leaves don't sink as well.

as for other considerations like bitterness (due to long brew), i've found that most kinds of teas are still enjoyable grandpa style -- just use less leaf if it's too intense.
longjing and other chinese greens is where i got started with grandpa style brewing -- perfect travel teas imo.
balled oolongs like gaoshan are good too, but a lot of gaoshans don't sink well IME, so if that bothers you, you should test the tea beforehand.
blacks work ok too.

if it's a trip where i'll have a lot of desk/table time and want to reflect on the tea, i'll bring a cheap gaiwan for some gongfu style brewing.
if you do that, then you need to be basically right next to the hot water source for the duration of the session, so it's less flexible than grandpa style..

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Dec 31st, '16, 13:34
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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by kyarazen » Dec 31st, '16, 13:34

i bring a gaiwan or a tea pot most of the time :D

the gaiwan can be sipped directly without the need to dispense into another vessel

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Dec 31st, '16, 15:33
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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by hopeofdawn » Dec 31st, '16, 15:33

I kept going on business/vacation trips and got tired of begging the local Starbucks/whatever for hot water. So after surfing around Teachat a bit for recommendations, I ended up with this mini-kettle:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008YQLZOW

If I'll be working and I don't have time to sit down and have proper tea time, I stuff some tea packages (I mostly choose teas I know are easy brewers) inside the kettle and tuck the whole thing into my carryon, with this brew thermos for the actual brewing/drinking part: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003EQ3L9O . I can carry it empty through the TSA gauntlet, then brew on the other side, or in hotel rooms, or convention halls, etc. Plus it keeps tea hot for an amazingly long time!

Otherwise I wrap a small easy gaiwan or something similar, plus a couple cups, in towels and stuff them in with my clothes. That's usually more for vacations, when I have time to sit back and really enjoy my tea. :)

Dec 31st, '16, 17:00
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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by theredbaron » Dec 31st, '16, 17:00

Here a thread i created some time ago:

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=17933

to heat water the are several solutions - a small stainless water heater, or a small immersion water heater and a small stainless kettle

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Dec 31st, '16, 18:07
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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by stevorama » Dec 31st, '16, 18:07

While visiting family recently I used a small porcelain teapot and cup. The teapot worked great and was cheap so no concern about breaking it. http://yunnansourcing.com/en/teapots-ce ... 110ml.html

When I'm away from home at workshops, etc I use a ceramic mug and brew loose tea directly in it. Very easy and pleasant. That's how all of my Chinese teachers at Chinese medicine school drank their tea. In the airport I usually go for black tea and milk from Starbucks, etc.

For travelling I brew with whatever decent (but not excellent) tea inspires me. I don't bring anything to boil water, just use what I can.

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Dec 31st, '16, 23:28
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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by jayinhk » Dec 31st, '16, 23:28

I've been known to choose hotels with kettles and I always travel with a travel gaiwan type thing, where the lid is also a cup. I stayed in a government-run hotel in Saigon once that had a kettle, porcelain teapot and a glass jar of green tea in the room!

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Jan 2nd, '17, 16:35
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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by debunix » Jan 2nd, '17, 16:35

Depending on setting, travel tea for me could be rolled green oolong plus water bottle (cold brew); or small kamjove plus thermos plus kettle for brewing hot tea in the hotel in the morning, and a thermos full to take on the day's adventures. Depends on duration of trip, room available in luggage, what I expect to find at the other end, temperature where I'm going, and how much time I expect to have to brew up and enjoy.

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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by ptrck85 » Mar 8th, '17, 00:10

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IF8AAD0/re ... VybV7T9P34

There are more grown up options but I recently picked this up.

Comes in a little padded case about the size of a shaving kit bag.

And at less than 20 bucks I'd be willing to try this. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M6BS2EI/re ... Vyb9R255DC

Mar 8th, '17, 01:36
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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by Bok » Mar 8th, '17, 01:36

Lots of pretty decent travel sets out there on taobao: https://world.taobao.com/item/524345480 ... 6a7955cf42

I myself use a simple gaiwan, cups are not really necessary as most hotels will at least provide a cup. Even take whatever small teapot I feel like, if you wrap it right it won’t break :mrgreen:

Mar 8th, '17, 01:40
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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by Bok » Mar 8th, '17, 01:40

Pretty smart design that one and lots of colour options. Too slick for me but really convenient without being cheap-industry-style-China-ugly.

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Mar 8th, '17, 04:25
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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by jayinhk » Mar 8th, '17, 04:25

Bok wrote: Pretty smart design that one and lots of colour options. Too slick for me but really convenient without being cheap-industry-style-China-ugly.
This is my travel gaiwan...the lid is a cup. In use at one of the hot water machines at the airport in Chongqing, Sichuan, which is probably the city with the most teahouses anywhere!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ1PwycFCrS ... e.hk&hl=en

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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by ethan » Mar 8th, '17, 04:59

Reminder: Take your tea & teaware in your carry-on.

When luggage & packages are inspected, officials do not re-wrap fragile items. So what was carefully wrapped can be bouncing around totally unprotected after inspection.

Worse than that: I believe that 2 times Terminal Security agents in the USA were malicious & purposely broke ceramics & very hard-to-break jade; &, likewise that once U.S. customs agents did the same to items in my packages they inspected.

One does not want to open luggage to find dented tins of tea, the leaves of cut packages of tea, & broken pottery. Keep your best tea & your teaware in your carry-on.

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Mar 8th, '17, 11:14
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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by victoria3 » Mar 8th, '17, 11:14

ethan wrote: Reminder: Take your tea & teaware in your carry-on.

When luggage & packages are inspected, officials do not re-wrap fragile items. So what was carefully wrapped can be bouncing around totally unprotected after inspection.

Worse than that: I believe that 2 times Terminal Security agents in the USA were malicious & purposely broke ceramics & very hard-to-break jade; &, likewise that once U.S. customs agents did the same to items in my packages they inspected.

One does not want to open luggage to find dented tins of tea, the leaves of cut packages of tea, & broken pottery. Keep your best tea & your teaware in your carry-on.
Sorry to hear that Ethan. I always place travel teas & teaware in my carry on for this reason. I usually travel with a light teapot & cup inside bubble wrap or thick tea cloth secured with rubber bands, not especially elegantly but works fine. Right now, I'm traveling with Hokujo Yakishime back handle pot, a very sturdy and light stone ware, and a light porcelain cup by Seifu Yohei. Perfecto

Mar 9th, '17, 01:29
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Re: Travel - teaware, brewing, etc.

by Bok » Mar 9th, '17, 01:29

Yes of course always carry-on for anything valuable and essential. Bubble-wrap works a treat. One trick is to fix the lid with one layer of bubble wrap in between, a rubber criss-crossed to secure it stays in place and not much can happen. That is how a lot of potters here in Taiwan transport their crates full of teaware around. If you want to be extra-safe put into a fitting cardboard box.

Fingers crossed – I have yet to break any teaware :mrgreen:

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