View Full Version : So I wanna get my wife into tea. I need recommendations for a teapot (tetsubin?).
06-11-2011, 04:25 PM
The thread title says it all. I want to get my wife into high end teas. She dabbles now, and frankly I think she needs a hobby now that she's out of college and has a lot more spare time. I want to get her a teapot and a nice starter tea. I was hoping to spend no more than $75 - $80. Is this at all feasible? I will defer to the expertise of the board.
06-11-2011, 04:39 PM
TeaGschwendner sells some of the best teas in the world. In terms of a tea pot, I would recommend Old Dutch cast-iron teapots on Amazon. Other stores carry them, but you would probably get the best price online. The Old Dutch pots are high quality cast-iron teapots at relatively low prices compared to the rip offs that places like Teavana sell.
One recommendation: I have found that if you are drinking a fair bit of tea each day, it can be annoying to clean out tea balls since the tea sticks to the mesh or at the seams. I would recommend getting her a box of unbleached tea bags and a clip with a chain to hang them. A box of 100 bags only costs a few dollars, so it's not a significantly more expensive option but its more convenient. TeaGschwendner sells tea bags as well as their own clipping mechanism (i believe called the teelaclip).
Definitely go with TeaGschwendner if you are looking for a high quality tea company. They are the best.
Have fun getting into tea! It is healthy and tasty haha.
06-11-2011, 04:43 PM
By the way, the Old Dutch teapots are around 35 on Amazon, so for 75-80 you could get a number of different teas to try. Stick to teas that are $15 or under for 100 gram bags. 100 grams goes a long way, but I would not invest in the more expensive teas until youve got more of a taste for it. I would pick out an Assam, a Darjeeling, and a green tea if she likes green. Many of the blends of teas are also very good and include fruits and flowers and are a bit less expensive. If you have trouble picking out teas or have any other questions, feel free to PM me!
06-11-2011, 04:47 PM
I'd recommend you to B&B's Tea FAQ (http://wiki.badgerandblade.com/Tea_FAQ). It'll guide you through the wealth of knowledge and opinion on the forum. If you have any questions, or if anything isn't clear, feel free to ask.
In particular, there's two very different tea cultures, typified by the gaiwan (http://wiki.badgerandblade.com/Tea_Equipment) and the classic British tea pot. The types of tea, equipment, brewing, and social aspects are very different between them.
06-12-2011, 06:53 AM
I'm not a fan of tetsubins or cast iron in general for brewing tea. Good for heating water, not so good for brewing tea.
My suggestion would be a nice little kyusu and a selections of Japanese teas from perhaps Dens
And then a gaiwan and a selection of Chinese teas from Steve
Den's $19 kyusu pots get good reviews and a 100ml plain white gaiwan from Steve is less than $10 and the ultimate tea brewing device.
Adagio are also worth a look as a decent introduction with a very wide selection.
06-12-2011, 07:20 AM
Proinsias offers great advice. I might only add that we tend at times to introduce novices to our obsession through less than stellar tea. Starter kits should include the best of the best, not mediocre stuff. Otherwise, the alpha is too soon the omega. I might also offer that at ground-level, parameter trumps vessel. In the beginning, the "how to" is likely far, far more important than the "in what." Brew it wrong in the fanciest zisha: it tastes bad. Brew it well in a canning jar: it's ambrosia. A very small and fast-flowing porcelain teapot (~150ml) might be a good starting spot. ~grasshopper
06-12-2011, 08:21 AM
Guys, thanks for everything. I'm going to check out the sites and products you mentioned, and I'll let you know what I decide to purchase.
06-12-2011, 08:34 AM
Well, I already have another question. It seems that there is a distinct Japanese tea culture and a distinct Chinese tea culture - each with their own accoutrements. Should one not mix and match these items? I would tend to think not, and if I'm forced to stick to one culture here, I think my wife will be most attracted to Japanese tea.
06-12-2011, 09:16 AM
Me again... I went ahead and bit the bullet on a matcha gift set with the matcha bowl, bamboo scoop and whisk, a tin of matcha, and brewing instructions. I also spent an extra $25 for the tea ceremony matcha so she has two teas for comparing flavors. If she likes this, and likes the ritual aspect of tea brewing, I'll get her a nice sencha set for Christmas. Thanks for all of your help, guys.
06-12-2011, 09:19 AM
Don't forget India!
A glazed kyusu, western style teapot, glass pot or gaiwan will brew most tea reasonably well and allow you to mix away. Some Japanese greens may be little fiddly to brew in a gaiwan or a pot without a filter as the leaf can be quite fine and broken. As long as the vessel is glazed you can throw pretty much any tea in it, just give it a good scrubbing afterwards if you're brewing really pungent or flavoured teas.
Yixing clay pots and unglazed clay kyusu's are lovely but people tend to stick to roughly one genre of tea per pot as they retain a little of the tea each time. Same principles apply to plastic aside from it being less lovely. When experimenting with different new teas a glazed surface means you have a fresh start each time. If addiction to a certain type of tea rears its head then it might be worth looking into a vessel best suited to that tea.
There are also quite a few pieces somewhere in between a pot and a gaiwan, this sort of thing:
or these houhin sets
06-12-2011, 09:24 AM
Go West Young Man
06-12-2011, 09:46 AM
Rookie mistake, never give your wife an excuse to start spending money on non-essentials, she can do that just fine by herself!
Try getting her interested in interior decorating or flower arranging, some service she can sell to offset the purse and shoe purchases ;)
06-12-2011, 09:53 AM
Haha... she actually has her degree in interior design (as do I). As far as the shoe and purse thing - she doesn't get into that stuff at all. It's odd. I guess that's why I'm doing this whole tea thing in the first place; I want her to have a hobby. I don't think she realizes the immense potential for stress relief that a hobby provides. Especially one with an accompanying ritual. Hell, that's probably why most of us love wetshaving.
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