Teapot for Assam tea?

Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.


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Feb 13th, '08, 17:50
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Teapot for Assam tea?

by Alesh » Feb 13th, '08, 17:50

Hi,
I've been having a cup of Assam tea in the morning for quite some time now... and recently I got my hands on a SFTGFOP1 (Sree Sibar) Assam that realy "blows my mind" (in a good way!)

My question is: would a dedicated yixing teapot be a good decision to brew this tea in?
This tea is not cheap, but is worth 'every euro'... and it's gonna stay in my "collection" of teas. My other idea is a tetsubin, that I could use for other teas as well...
(I'm curently using a small glased clay teapot for most of my black teas)

Any suggestions?

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Feb 13th, '08, 19:03
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by Salsero » Feb 13th, '08, 19:03

Why not just continue to use your current pot? I always think it's weird to use yixing for any black tea, but I know of people using them for Chinese blacks. Indian blacks is sort of pushing my prudish sense of decorum too far!

I personally brew Assam in an infuser basket http://wikicha.com/index.php/Getting_Started or ceramic pot. But whatever is fun and satisfying for you is good.

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Feb 13th, '08, 20:13
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by Space Samurai » Feb 13th, '08, 20:13

I think its up to you. There are some that want to pair tea with teaware from the same country, and there is wisdom to this. Obviously teaware from a specific origin evolves with teas from the same place in mind--a Japanese made pot may not be all that suitable for gong fu. But this is not always the case, and sometimes a damn good pot is a damn good pot.

So that being said, aside from any cultural faux pas, I don't see any reason why yixing can't work, provided it is large enough for your needs.

Personally, and this is just my opinion based on my experience and taste,I think kyusu, side handle or a more "traditional" handle in the rear, tend to be all around superior pots. I use the kabuse ushirode from Rishi, and it does an excellent job. I think you can use whatever makes you the happiest, and I think that either yixing or Japanese, clay is superior to glass or iron. That's just my bias.

Feb 13th, '08, 21:04
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by Proinsias » Feb 13th, '08, 21:04

I don't drink a lot of Assam but my indulgence has increased recently.

I've also been trying to figure out the best way to brew it.

I'm torn between small ceramic teapot ~200ml and a larger gaiwan ~150ml.

Space: you make a good point with regards to origin. Does anyone know how top notch Assam is treated in India?
I'm pretty ignorant of Indian brewing in general that doesn't involve spices, dairy and sweeteners.

As far as black tea and yixing goes I've got a little yixing I use for Qimen, it's not the prettiest pot in the world but it struck me as being made for Qimen the moment it was gifted to me and sweet Jesus does it make a good Qimen.
If people brew Shu in yixing I can't really see why black/red tea should not be considered. If the point of yixing is to absorb the tea then black/red tea could accomplish in a few weeks what a light oolong might take years to do.

Brings to mind a beautiful post by Corax over on Chadao concerning red tea and Yixing:

Click

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Feb 14th, '08, 05:23
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by Alesh » Feb 14th, '08, 05:23

Salsero wrote:Why not just continue to use your current pot?

Well.. it does brew a good cup of tea, but the problem is that it has no internal "filter" (the one preventing the leaves to exit while pouring).
I pour the tea through a fine mesh into the cup - and usualy big leaves come out / get stuck and cause a mess.

Space Samurai wrote:There are some that want to pair tea with teaware from the same country, and there is wisdom to this.
...and I think that either yixing or Japanese, clay is superior to glass or iron.

Yeah, that's why I had a weird feeling about putting an Indian tea into Chinese pot... and asked first :)
As for the brewing in iron pot - i don't have one, so I don't know.
But I clearly notice the difference between my current yixing pots and the glass one - in favour of clay.
The glass one is used very rarely, only when I have some guests ('couse it's bigger).

Proinsias wrote:If people brew Shu in yixing I can't really see why black/red tea should not be considered.
If the point of yixing is to absorb the tea then black/red tea could accomplish in a few weeks what a light oolong might take years to do.

Well, it is exactly this point that is supposed to be good about clay (absorbing tea) that is probably the most questionable.
I brew Assam with near-boiling water for around 3 minutes or max. 3:20. Anything more and the bitterness starts to appear.
The question here is, if this bitterness is also absorbed - and how to even prepare (or pre-season) the pot for this kind of tea?


And to tell you why I am leaning towards yixing even for Assam:
My first yixing (300ml) came as a gift and has been since used for brewing a variety of Ear Grey teas (black of course)... Now it is used for about a year or so, only for my favourite e.g. ("Earl Grey Superior") which is based on Darjeeling.
Ok, I know a lot of you must be saying "he is mad" or something :D I heard a lot about "dont use flavoured tea in clay" and similar, BUT - this tea can be brewed in my yixing for about half a minute more (richer flavour) and taste less sharp and less bitter than in my glazed teapot!

And I don't even want to tell you, that I usualy let the leaves to cool (15, 20 minutes) in the pot - and only then i clean/rinse the pot with hot water...
(the inside remains are quite bitter at that time)


Bizzare... I realy wonder If this would be a good idea for Assam..?
Maybe if the pot would be cleaned right away after pouring? Hmm...

Feb 14th, '08, 07:34
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by Proinsias » Feb 14th, '08, 07:34

I don't think yixing absorbing bitterness will be an issue.

The only way I can see this as a problem is if you manage to season it so thoroughly over many, many years that when you are getting free tea without leaf from it you will need a short brew time to avoid bitterness.

Many hardcore yixing users leave tea brewing in the pot for a long while, not to drink the bitter brew but just to help the pot on it's way. If you season any pot in boiling water with a big handful of tea, as many do, I would guarantee the liquid in the pot on the stove will be pretty bitter after a while on a heavy boil - be it tie guan yin or the blackest of the black.

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Feb 14th, '08, 08:10
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by Salsero » Feb 14th, '08, 08:10

Alesh wrote:"Earl Grey Superior" ... can be brewed in my yixing for about half a minute more (richer flavour) and taste less sharp and less bitter than in my glazed teapot!
I have noticed that young raw puerh is often less harsh when brewed in yixing and now you say that it takes the edge off your Earl Grey. It's starting to sound like yixing and Assam may be a perfect marriage. By accident I have an oversized yixing pot that I have never found a use for. I think I will try Assam in it, as I have trouble with the roughness of Assams which otherwise I like and I would like to brew stronger.

Thanks for the suggestion, Alesh!

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Feb 14th, '08, 17:35
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by Alesh » Feb 14th, '08, 17:35

Proinsias... I have only been waiting for someone to write something like you did.
I am getting a yixing for Assam 8)

And Salsero, I am happy that in my "question" you actually found an "answer" :D
Yeah, based on "taking the edge off" (Assam can realy have an "edge" sometimes) I am now on a lookout for a new little yixing... eBay here I come.

Thanx to all who contributed to this little topic.
I will post my results... some day ;)

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Feb 14th, '08, 18:01
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by Eastree » Feb 14th, '08, 18:01

It makes me wonder if Assams and such are the explanation for yixing pots large enough for western brewing.

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Feb 14th, '08, 19:25
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by Salsero » Feb 14th, '08, 19:25

An unglazed obi-ami kyuusu (one with the steel mesh all around the inside) would do a better job of straining the small Assam leaves and might still have the same "calming" effect on the Assam. Or might not!

I for one am boiling my unused magnum yixing pot to prepare it for its destiny.

This thread is sounding more and more mystical, what with Eastree's meditation avatar and me finding my answer in the question. Now all we need to know is what is at the end of the path leading to the cessation of all desire.

Eastree the Mystic wrote:It makes me wonder if Assams and such are the explanation for yixing pots large enough for western brewing.
That would explain a lot of pots whose size has always mystified me.

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by Proinsias » Feb 15th, '08, 18:54

I have just received a teapot this morning I purchased on ebay for 99p + £2 p&p.

Image

I had low expectations but was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box, not the lost work of a master but a far more functional piece than I had hoped for - It even has a fish stuck to the bottom on the inside matching the ones on the top and base. The weird handle is surprisingly ergonomic when dealing with boiling hot water/tea.

I had no idea what tea I would use it for. This thread has prompted me to stick in some Indian black, a muscatel delight from Lochantea, and the result has confirmed the teapot has found a life partner in Darjeelingish black and maybe even oolong teas.

Three cheers for teachat and ebay gambles.

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Feb 15th, '08, 20:34
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by Salsero » Feb 15th, '08, 20:34

Gee I love looking at people's pots. Thanks, Proinsias. And this one has a nice story that goes with it. What's the capacity of the pot? Coincidentally, I am on my second infusion of Assam in my oversized yixing pot. It's still probably early days to make grand statements, but the pot seems to be taking the irritating edge off the Assam just as the collective wisdom of this thread predicted.

On a side note, I also have a Lochan Teas Darjeeling, Giddapahar Muscatel Imperial, 2nd flush 2007, that has been very rewarding.

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by Salsero » Feb 15th, '08, 23:25

Here's my ginormous yixing pot that is on it's way to being an Assam pot. I think I may call it Namaste, since that's the only Hindi word I know. It holds 300 ml or 10 oz, has thick walls but doesn't seem especially dense, makes a nice metallic sound when struck with the lid knob but the tone doesn't ring long, instead dying out almost immediately. It looks like it has sand or something granular mixed in with the clay. It is from Kam at Fun Alliance.
Image

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Feb 16th, '08, 01:02
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by Salsero » Feb 16th, '08, 01:02

Proinsias wrote:Brings to mind a beautiful post by Corax over on Chadao concerning red tea and Yixing: Click
BTW, Proinsias, thanks for pointing me back to this lovely post by Corax. I hadn't looked at it since he posted it last March.

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by Proinsias » Feb 16th, '08, 15:30

After some experiments with H2O and a measuring jug when making dinner it appears the pot comes in at 250ml or there abouts.

I'm not sure if I've just won or lost.

I'm warming to the pot more and more, which is more than can be said for pots which have cost me far, far more.

I now have good reason to head over to Lochantea and restock, phew.

I have another, far lower quality, clay teapot around 500ml which is currently holding some bamboo roasted pu-erh until such time as it tastes less violent. I may reassess it's future although the fact that it doesn't particularly endear me, unlike my new fishy pot, means it might not get the promotion.

Your pot looks like it would suit a nice dark rounded assam well

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