A Tea Addict's Journal

Using teapots

November 17, 2007 · 5 Comments

I drank the Yetang aged dongding oolong today again, but using my new teapot I acquired a few weeks ago rather than a gaiwan. Even though I used less leaves, I think the result has been very good. What, though, is it that makes teapots work better? Temperature? The clay? I’m not totally convinced the clay is what does it entirely. I suppose the fact that a pot keeps higher temperature than a gaiwan might be part of the reason, but is that it? Or is it placebo?

I have friends who swear by pots and will never use gaiwan unless they have to for one reason or another. Then there are some (albeit a minority) who generally only use a gaiwan.

Over time I’ve migrated more and more tea over to pots… but it’s not always possible to do so, and when I evaluate a tea I’d prefer using a gaiwan sometimes, although even that’s changing these days. I can just see myself end up with a few dozen pots… oh, the horrors

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5 responses so far ↓

  • Anonymous // November 17, 2007 at 8:27 pm | Reply

    I think pots do something to the water, and not just the pay it forward tea effect.

    Take a bottle of water, boil it.
    Put some in your empty pot, and let it cool.
    Let the rest cool in the kettle.

    Then taste the water from the pot, and then taste the kettle water.

    Then you’ll know what the pot does to the water.

    It does something, and whatever that something is… tastes better, fuller, something.

  • Anonymous // November 18, 2007 at 1:34 am | Reply

    I enjoy using a pot more than a gaiwan, but I don’t know if it makes a difference in taste or not. 

    Up ’till now I’ve been stuck with the one pot for shupu, and had to use a gaiwan for all other puerh and oolongs.  But I am getting one or two new yixing pots for christmas, and I look forward to getting away from my gaiwan.

  • behhl // November 19, 2007 at 12:01 am | Reply

    How old is that Yetang DongDing? Curious to know how old they can go, and how was it stored? I was told by someone who has a tea Shifu who resides in Taiwan and specialises roasting oolong – it seems that he has experimented with re-roasting his DongDings and find they are able to improve for a loooong time. But how long was not stated to me … the curse of tea conversations that are interrupted whilst drinking and entertaining others.

    As for pots – am still a neophyte by all terms – but recently had the opportunity to speak with a certified potter, and try out several of his pots, some of which were made from clay stockpiled since the 80’s. Can say that even pots at this level make tea so differently pot by pot that I am at the conclusion that you really have to trial and error with each tea to know empirically what results. I was also present one time for a drink of some Puerh made in a pot of a top master and hold the pot in my hand (suffice to say this pot is worth enough to buy a small car!). I think I start to get the inkling of what a good tea making pot does … now I have to convince myself that it was not a figment of my imagination … more tongue torture to come. 

    BTW the more serious gentlemen who were present took out his 10x loupe to view the pot – anyone can explain to me what to look for with a loupe on the clay?

  • MANDARINstea // November 19, 2007 at 5:38 pm | Reply

    The pores of the clay is everything! Cheers -T

  • Anonymous // November 20, 2007 at 1:46 am | Reply

    Pots and Gaiwans: each have their place. In the commercial retail world, I see Gaiwans used to great affect when preparing a number of different teas for comparison tasting.
    These same shops also use pots to brew teas when just serving customers tea to enjoy.
    I also observe when its two similar teas in a head-to-head comparison, pots are used.
    Interestingly, in stores that only sell pots (no tea sales) they use many-many pots to serve tea.
    At home, with a plentiful supply of pots on hand (each pot aligned with its designated tea) .. it’s a tea-pot every time. On the road or extended stay away.. I find one Gaiwan is easy to use and will service different teas. The porous nature of the “Purple Clay” pot is why we invest and nurture them.. to add character to our tea. regards john

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