Too much time drinking, not enough time writing. Sigh. Well, I guarantee there will be many posts to come as I have just placed multiple online orders.
Today I got my first shipment from Rishi Tea: six teas and my brand new Fukugata Japanese Kyuusu teapot.
First off, the package was marvelously packed:
And under the peanuts? Airbags! Alright!
...wow, it just keeps coming.
...OK, skipping two more wrappings.
This thing is wonderful. So wonderful that I've decided to write up the full review of it tomorrow. :)
And the 6 teas:
As you can see, there are already many reviews to look forward to. However, today I'm not going to review any teas. The tea reviews will be put on hold for a moment while I take my time to show you all of my "equipment."
What came first, the tea or the teapot? Well, that's an easy one. But presently neither one is more important than the other. The way one brews tea directly affects everything about the tea. From flavor to caffeine content, it all depends on the measures used.
I have gone with a simplistic view, I want my tea making equipment to help make the process easier, quicker, so I can have more time to enjoy the actual tea. This view may have led to the teabag, however, to truly indulge oneself in the world of tea one must place importance into the tea-making process, everyone should have their own ceremony. Versatility is often great, but having specialized equipment for any task is down-right fun. So here is my small, yet ever-growing collection of specialty tea-making supplies.
As nice teaware is downright expensive, one of the most difficult decisions is whether or not to just spend the money on tea. For a long time I was under the impression that tea is more important, creating a tea collection that is slowly taking over a whole set of cabinets:
Many, many hours have gone by when I stare at this cabinet and contemplate my future...
If there is one thing I laud, it's finding a balance in life. In everything in life, eating, excercising, learning, experiencing, there are limits where there can be too much of a good thing. A great scientist who can also write well and clearly and enthusastically deliver speeches is a much stronger person than a scientist who confines themself to their lab at all times. And thus I have decided to not slow down on my tea purchasing, but instead to start buying more teaware to try to balance the tea collection. :)
I knew there would come a day when "Old Faithful" could no longer cut it:
Or shall I say crack it:
Forseeing such chaotic destruction beforehand, I took a trip up to portland to purchase some fun new teaware.
It all began with the gaiwan:
A cool looking and very versatile tea-brewing device.
This gaiwan has already paid for itself many times over.
For anyone needing a true tea-brewing device, a gaiwan is the way to go. They're very cheap, and very versatile, often getting more use than the more expensive, more aesthetically pleasing pots.
When the tea is done steeping in the gaiwan it needs to go somewhere, and thus the samashi. Samashi are USUALLY water-cooling devices used to achieve that tea-perfect temperature, however, I use my samashi as a tea-cooler and tea-pitcher, bringing my tea down to a drinkable temperature, and refilling my cup multiple times. Also used is a mesh filter to keep little tea bits from following the tea:
The extra cups are to give my family and friends a pleasant cuppa:
Still, one cannot be happy only brewing with a gaiwan, and thus, we have a whole happy family:
The kyuusu on the lower left should look familiar. A full review is on the way. On the lower right we have a specialized Chinese Yixing teapot.
This pot was fairly cheap and as such I'm unsure of whether or not it is truly a Yixing pot. However, Yixing pots need to be dedicated to a certain type of tea, and this one is my "dark oolong/wuyi" pot.
Sitting pretty in the middle of the previous picture is my "green/light oolong" pot.
I use it with my larger Yixing "Stone" cup for my deliciously sweet green oolong drinking experiences. The first steeping fills the cup halfway, second steeping slightly overflows the cup...
The cup is magnificent and a great treasure of my teaware collection. It is my "curl up with tea" teacup.
For my green tea, I enjoy drinking out of a cup that carries a quite distinct personality:
I give much love to all my teaware, however, as many people do with hobbies, I have that "way too expensive" specialty something.
That something is my water heater:
Ahh, my Zojirushi. It has everything I could want in a water heater. With green tea it gets very annoying standing over the stove with a thermometer everytime I want a cup, essentially ruining my whole tea ceremony. My Zojirushi has changed everything. Keeping my tea at a constant temperature of 175°, 195°, or 208°, I never again have to wait by that stove. This thing doesn't only keep my tea at a constant temperature, but dechlorinates the water, pours slow or fast, and even has a timer. Before my head meets pillow at the end of a long day, I punch in the time I want my hot water by and the Zojirushi does the rest, never disappointing.
I may post a full review and fun walkthrough of all it's features once I bond with it a little more. :)
Well, it's time for me to depart. If you need me, you know where to find me:
Tomorrow, after a few hours of green tea with the new Tokoname Fukugata Kyuusu, I'll write up a nice juicy report on how it handles.
For now, it is time to depart.
They will be watching.