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Teapot with internal mesh basket - should I get one?

I'm wanting to get all precise about tea (from a standing still, know nothing about it start).

Am looking at one of those teapots with the internal mesh basket you put the tea leaves into.

Should I get one? or is there a better way to brew a pot of tea? Are there any specific characteristics about these type of pots that I should know.

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  1. I have one and like it - make sure to use the correct amount of tea or you can accidentally get very caffinated (if you brew caff. tea)

    1. hello, the big advantage of those 'baskets' is convenience in the clean-up. Good tea is best left unrestrained--no basket--for fullest exposure to the H20 and the leaves' subsequent swelling (most serious teas being whole leaf and thereby w. great expansion potential). Some call this 'agony of the leaves.' Two containers is best--one to steep/infuse, and after a monitored(which will control both the caffeine&flavor profile,enable multiple infusions from the leaves) time interval, pour off entire contents into serving cups and/or second container (I often use a thermos). Chinese teapots have a strainer built into the lower end of the pouring spout; the nice iron Japanese pots include a basket like those you fancy, I use them outside of the pot, pouring the tea through them.But I don't deny a tea drinker convenience, if that's essential to their enjoyment; it's also no coincidence that teabags are greatest in convenience and usually have the lowest quality of tea in broken or cut leaf grades, even 'fannings and dust'. cheers

      1. I've had trouble finding a mesh insert that is large enough to let the tea leaves do their thing for a full pot of tea. For small quantities, they're fine.

        Another thing I like is t-sac's -- these are large filter paper bags that you fill with your loose tea, and infuse like a giant tea bag. Very convenient.

        Moto's right about the two container brewing though - I'll use t-sac or insert when I'm brewing for myself casually, but any time I want to make an occasion of it, or if I am serving guests, two pot is the way to go. The tea is better, and the ritual of it is pleasing.

        1. Would a french press be better then? so the leaves could float freely? then restrained to pour the liquid into a second pot?

          4 Replies
          1. re: orangewasabi

            From what you are saying, get the pot with the basket. I'd suggest a glass insert so that the metal doesn't impact the flavor of the tea. Also, you can get cups with inserts so that they can be removed once the level of flavor you like is reached.

            I'm no expert, but I find no difference from the inserts than brewing the tea directly in the cup ... other than you can remove the tea and it doesn't over-brew and get bitter.

            I have both a pot and the cups and use these exclusively.

            I also have the little sacs that hold tea. They are fine, but still impart a tiny flavor of the sac.

            1. re: orangewasabi

              I don't really understand using a french press for tea (though I've seen it done a lot). To get all the water out, you sometimes end up having to press down on the tea, which is not a good idea. As long as you don't press down on the leaves, should be Ok, but there are some other ways that are probably easier.

              If you're making tea for one, you can also get a ceramic mug with a drop-in infuser. These are great I noticed some at Cost Plus recently, or there's one at the link below this.
              You can see a good variety of teapots w/ infusers and other teaware at:

              Franchia (http://franchia.com) in NYC has some beautiful ceramic Korean tea mugs for one with the built in infuser. You can mail-order from them. The Korean style ones are great - there's a lid, used to cover the mug while you're infusing the leaves, and then the lid flips over to hold the ceramic basket after you're done.

              One thing that's really overlooked is the temperature of water - make sure you use an appropriate temperature of water for the type of leaves you're brewing. Green tea should be brewed at a lower than boiling temperature - the right temperature will depend on the type of leaf, but typically around 160-175 F.

              You should almost always pre-heat your brewing vessel and teacups. To do this, pour hot water into your teapot or brewing vessel, pour out from there into your holding pitcher (if you have one), and then into any cups you're serving the tea in. Many people suggest a short rinse of the leaves before doing the first infusion (for certain types of teas).

              I personally use more or less the "gong fu" ("kung fu") style of brewing - lots of leaf, short multiple infusions, either in a a small Yixing clay teapot with a built in filter, or a small "gaiwan" (a teacup with a lid, which is used to strain the tea), then poured into another cup or a holding pitcher). This method is used mostly for oolong (wu long) and pu'erh teas; you can use a fairly similar method for black or green tea.

              Don't know if you want to spend that much effort, but in either event, a gaiwan is a great brewing vessel for tea. I got some great ones (a bit large for my style of brewing - about 6 oz) for $12 ea from teality.com.

              1. re: will47

                that was a super-helpful post, thank you. I will re-read it and see what might work best for me. Clearly I need to google around and find out what temp my preferred teas should be brewed at.

              2. re: orangewasabi

                Funny you should mention that. My once-favorite tea house in Shanghai, The Old Film Cafe on Duolun Lu started serving their longjing in a Bodum-esque French press instead of just giving me a big glass tumbler half-full of leaves and an industrial-sized thermos. They also switched from serving xiaolong bao and shao mai for snacks to stuff like popcorn chicken. Feh!

              3. I agree with AnnaEA about t-sac's

                I also brew tea in teapot loose and then use small strainer I purchased at han ah reum and pour into teacup

                1. My wife is Russian and VERY particular about her tea, and she swears by a simple tea sock - basically a loosely-woven cotton sack, open at the top, suspended from a ring-shaped top with a handle. It leaves plenty of room for the leaves to expand, and is so easy to clean, just turn it inside out and rinse.

                  They're very common in Europe but a bit hard to find here. Try good tea shops and you should be able to locate one (or several, if you prefer to keep one for each type of tea.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: BobB

                    I bought one of those at a rummage sale for dime because I liked the looks of it! It's nice to know what it's for! I'll definitely try it out. Thanks!

                    1. re: BobB

                      I just found tea socks on line at Upton Tea


                      They do work well, just a bit of a pain to clean, but still easier than cleaning the pot if you just throw the leaves right in the pot.

                      1. re: omotosando

                        Good sleuthing, omotosando! Now that you have found them, I do remember seeing these tea socks in their wonderful catalog. Like other "normals" read magazines, I love to read tea catalogs, and Uptons has a good one!

                        I have just ordered the teapot that sits on top of a mug to drain, so I will try that first, and then my next toy might be a sock! Thanks for finding this.

                        1. re: omotosando

                          A tea sock is no trouble at all to clean. Just flip it inside out, rinse under running water for a few seconds and you're done. They will stain brown from the tea, of course, but that doesn't affect their functionality.

                          1. re: BobB

                            okAAAAAY! You've convinced me that this is something that I just must try! Really, thanks, because this is such a fun passion!

                      2. My local tea shop recommended this device:


                        It's not a traditional tea pot by any means but it does work quite well.

                        49 Replies
                        1. re: dg2445

                          dg2445 -- I am interested in this tea brewing device. Do you use it? What, if any, are its weaknesses? How is it superior to a mesh infusion basket?

                          I much appreciate any details you can offer. Thanks!

                          1. re: liu


                            Yes, I do use one quite frequently. In fact I've bought several as gifts for my tea-drinking friends.

                            So far my only real concern is that it might leak someday, but I've never heard of one leaking. I think it's superior to a basket because it does not confine the leaves at all. It's also microwave safe, which is useful at work.

                            The only other disadvantage I can think of is it's not insulated at all so you might have to put the tea into a thermos if you want to keep it warm for a while.

                            I hope that helps.

                            1. re: dg2445

                              dg2445 - Thanks for your quick response! The lack of insulation is not a problem because I generally brew one large cup at a time. The leakage potential might be, but for $24, I will take that chance; and you do not seem to have had any problems to date. Also, can't I brew and set on top of my cup at the same time, so that if it leaks, it will leak into my cup?

                              Thanks, again, for introducing me to this pot; with you in mind, I will give it a try!

                              1. re: liu

                                That's what I do - I brew a big mug at a time. I have the small model and it holds just the right amount for a mugful.

                                The teapot is made to pour the tea when you put it on top of a cup. The weight of the pot actually opens the valve.

                                FYI - I'm a satisfied customer of Gong Fu Tea. It's located in Des Moines of all places and is actually one of the nicest shops I've visited anywhere. I've been to quite a few around the country. If you're ordering from them you might want to pick up a few teas as well. They're worth the money.

                                1. re: dg2445

                                  Thanks for the recommendation for Gong Fu Tea. It looks like a great shop and it is nice to hear that tea is blooming in places like Des Moines (especially since my favorite tea shops in places like New York seem to be shutting down).

                                  Exactly how easy is it to clean this pot? I'm thinking of buying the small one for my office. I've tried numerous solutions for brewing tea at work, but still have not come up with the ideal one.

                                  I also found this one on line that looks somewhat similiar:


                                  P.S. Gong Fu Tea seems to have peach tea balls similiar to the ones recommended by liu from Rishi Tea, but the Rishi ones are from a different province in China and are organic.

                                  P.S.S. dg2445, have you tried the Huo Shan Yellow from Gong Fu Tea?


                                  I had never even heard of yellow tea before. Sounds interesting.

                                  1. re: omotosando

                                    I admit I haven't tried one of those brewers you put on top of your mug because IMO pouring tea helps bring out its flavor much like letting wine "breathe"....I don't always use a teapot (sometimes a mesh filter, other times a paper filter)...but I do think pouring tea, thus exposing it to air, really improves the flavor....

                                    1. re: fauchon

                                      fauchon - I am glad that YOU weighed in here; I so respect your opinion on this subject. You have offered wonderful ideas and suggestions to me before on the ways of good tea. Thanks, and I do think you have made a good point! There is also something elegant and gracious about taking the time -- in this otherwise very rushed world -- to pour a cup of tea.

                                    2. re: omotosando

                                      You're welcome.

                                      The pot is quite easy to clean if you don't mind stains. I just dump it out and rinse it most of the time. You can use a mild bleach solution from time to time to get rid of the stains. It's also dishwasher safe.

                                      Are you talking about the "Heavenly Peach" tea? One of my coworkers really likes the stuff and buys it from time to time. It's quite nice.

                                      I have not tried any of the yellow teas yet. Maybe one of these days. My favorite "plain" tea is this one:


                                      I'm a bit frugal and really have a tough time spending more than about $5/oz on tea most of the time.

                                      1. re: dg2445

                                        The tea you have recommended looks really good, and as you so wisely suggested, I will order tea from them when I order the pot. Thanks for this find.

                            2. re: dg2445

                              Hello again, dg2445. I just ordered the gongfu brewing pot (small one - 16oz.) from this shop in Des Moines that you have recommended. I spoke with Mike, one of the owners, and he was extremely helpful.

                              He told me that the company that makes these pots changed the design slightly, and now the filter comes apart for easier cleaning. On the down side, this might be a slight problem after much use because the fit becomes a little sloppy; so, Mike said that he would include in my order an extra filter - N/C. I thought this was pretty nice!

                              Again, at your suggestion, I ordered some tea from him -- mostly oolongs and greens. I can't wait to try them in my new brewing pot!


                              1. re: dg2445

                                Hello again, dg2445 -- AND THANK YOU!

                                I just purchased this low-tech but ingenious-in-its-simplicity tea pot; I got the 16oz. one which fits perfectly on a mug or cup. I tried it for the first time this morning and it is wonderful and so much fun! What I like the best is that you can see the gorgeous changing color of the tea as it brews.

                                It has all the advantages of pouring, because when it is done it "pours" out a stream of the tea into the mug or cup. It is very easy to use and clean, and it permits a full stretch of the tea leaves as they brew -- no restriction.

                                One quick note: I ordered three of their teas to try along with this pot. This morning I tried two of them (Wuyi Shan Red Cape and Golden Xuan, both green oolongs), but I don't love either. To date, I am most enjoying the oolong teas that I am ordering from Teance. I still have to try the third one they sent me, a China Green. I will report back only if it is special.

                                Thanks again for this terrific find of their tea pot! This same tea pot can also be found at Adagio.com.

                                1. re: liu

                                  Liu, Thank you for "beta" testing the pot. I just ordered one for myself. Thanks also for reporting on the teas. I will wait to order my oolongs from Teance next time I stock up on tea.

                                  1. re: omotosando

                                    Great! Please do report here after you use it...I SO hope you like it as much as I do!

                                    1. re: liu

                                      By the way, my angel peach tea balls just arrived from Rishi and I enjoyed the tea very much. But I did have one brewing question. I got the impression that one just stuck the tea ball in the cup, poured hot water and then drank, repeating the process for mutliple infusions. But when I poured hot water into the cup, several strands of the tea ball split off and I kept getting strands of tea leaves in my mouth as I was trying to drink the tea. Perhaps one pours into one cup and then strains into a second cup? Or was it an aberration that I got "breakaway" tea leaves?

                                      1. re: omotosando

                                        Hi, omotosando! I am so glad to hear that you like the Angel Peach balls! Is it really to your tastes?

                                        You understood correctly; I have a 15-ish ounce mug, and I drop TWO balls in and pour the heated water over them. As they steep, I sip. Yes, a few stragglers roam the waters freely, but they seem to settle down when I take a drink. Occasionally -- but infrequently -- I drink one, but it is not offensive to me. I like this method with these particular balls because with each sip, the tea gets a little more intense in flavor and color.

                                        You might try brewing these Angel Peach balls in your new Gongfu pot! Surely, it will filter out the stray strands.

                                        1. re: liu

                                          I just received this Japanese Tokoname teapot from Rishi Tea.


                                          I ordered it because I like the way it looks, but it is perfect for the tea balls. It has a mesh screen on the pouring side. The tea gets to steep without restraint, but the screen catches any floaters from reaching your cup.

                                          If you are not into flowers, they have the pots in more subdued tones like this one:


                                          I really want one of each!

                                          1. re: omotosando

                                            Very nice, indeed! Thanks for sharing your new toys with us!

                                            Oooops...time to clear out a large kitchen cabinet to label "Tea Stuff!"

                                            By the way, did you receive your new brewing pot from Gong Fu? If so, do you like it?

                                            And if you like Rishi teas, consider their organic Jasmine Pearls (small balls) which have a wondrous fragrance.

                                            1. re: liu

                                              Liu, my "IngenuiTEA" brewing pot from Gong Fu arrived today. Brewed up some Pu--erh tea. Brewed up just fine. But I found cleaning the thing a bit of a hassle. The leaves stuck both to the removable plastic insert and to the bottom of the pot.

                                              My goal is always to avoid getting any leaves in the sink (where they clog the drain), but since the leaves stuck, I had to swirl water and got leaves in the sink. I don't love the IngenuiTEA device - it will probably go into my "useless kitchen clutter" drawer.

                                              Still haven't found that perfect convenient brewing device, but I definitely like the small sasame style pots from Rishi better than the IngenuiTEA pot from Gong Fu.

                                              Here's another Internet source I found for the sasame style pots:


                                              Had never previously heard of the site - www.greentealovers.com - but it looks interesting. The site has an discussion of what makes a good pot for brewing green tea.

                                              It also has something that I had never seen before - an incense burner (Cha-kouro) for green tea. According to the site, green tea makes an exceptionally light, all natural, aromatic incense.


                                              Hey, there's an idea of what to do with all that tea you are trying to get rid of!

                                              1. re: omotosando

                                                omotosando -- I love the end of the day because that's usually when I see you talking on all the tea posts!

                                                Oh, bummer! Please don't trust me ever again! I am so disappointed that you do not like your IngenuiTEA pot from Gong Fu, because I like mine a lot. I can only do s-i-m-p-l-e and e-a-s-y, and I find it to be both. I so feel your passionate search for all the greatest tea gear, and even though you are not in love with your newest tea pot, I am glad to hear that you like the one you ordered from Rishi.

                                                And now you're waiting for your next new toy to arrive -- it looks pretty cool! Let us know...

                                                Thanks for supplying the link to the green tea lover's site; it's just so much fun to window shop!

                                                1. re: omotosando

                                                  I said it before and I'll say it again - maybe not as portable or hard to break (and I know clear brewing vessels are fashionable), but a gaiwan brews most kinds of teas, including greens, great (whether you're brewing gong-fu style, english style, or some kind of hybrid), and is super easy to clean. You can even get a clear one if you're into the transparent thing. It may seem a little harder to use at first, but it's really not - either hold the rim with your first and middle fingers and keep the lid open a tiny bit with your index finger (on the little "knob"), or hold the lid with your thumb and use your first and second fingers underneath the saucer.

                                                  Also, the Korean ceramic infuser mugs I mentioned above are super low hassle.

                                                  1. re: will47

                                                    For those, like me, who are not familiar with this method or device.

                                          2. re: omotosando

                                            Blooming teas are always better if you pour the hot water in your cup or pot first then add the blooming tea. For more info on blooming teas I think Art of Tea did a pretty good job putting all their info together on brewing at http://www.artoftea.com/learn_about_t... .

                                      2. re: liu

                                        I'm glad you liked the tea pot. Too bad you didn't enjoy the teas as much as I'd hoped. I haven't tried either of those myself. Too many teas, not enough time.

                                        I'll have to check out Teance when I have more time. Do you have any particular recommendations?

                                        1. re: dg2445

                                          "Too many teas, not enough time." I love it!

                                          To date, I have enjoyed:
                                          Teance Honey Dan Chong Oolong (which is currently on the docks in China; I am still waiting for my REorder of this);
                                          Teance Royal Courtesan Oolong (really nice aftertaste);
                                          Teance Lu Shan Clouds and Mists (since this is a green tea, I am advised to wait until the Spring to REorder this);
                                          Teance Cold Summit Tung Ting Oolong (very mild and smooth).

                                          These are merely the ones that are appealing to me at the moment. I urge anyone who wishes to order to call and discuss your tastes with one of their knowledgeable tea sellers; they know their teas and can direct you to the ones that are best for you.

                                          I like to order small quantities because I enjoy the variety; every day can be an adventure. I think I would get very bored drinking the same tea all the time, and as you so rightly pointed out, there are just SO many to try!

                                          1. re: liu

                                            Hmmn - I just placed an order for the Honey Dan Chong oolong - the website made no mention they were out of stock. But if it is, in fact, sitting on the docks in China, I thought I'd better get my order in. I also decided to try
                                            Competiton Grade Baochong Oolong. Have you tried that one? Have you tried any of their jasmines?

                                            1. re: omotosando

                                              Competition Grade Baochong Oolong - I do want to know how this is! I will order it upon your recommendation...

                                              I don't much care for flavored teas -- other than jasmine. In the past I have enjoyed Rishi's little Jasmine Pearls and some other Green Jasmines from other sources. Did you order any of the Teance jasmines? Which others have you liked? What are you currently drinking and from where?

                                              I am always interested in expanding my repertoire. Sometimes that takes a lot of tasting and exploring, but I'd love to hear more about your preferences.

                                              1. re: liu

                                                I am still looking for that perfect jasmine - like you, it is the only "flavored" tea I like. If anyone knows where to get great jasmine, I would love to hear.

                                                My favorite tea at the moment is the "Organic Spirit of Ohsawa Green Tea" that I pick up at Erewhon. It's kind of ironic that I order online from the best purveyors, yet I am enjoying this "supermarket" brand the best. But I have kind of gotten into a sencha rut and reading all these great posts reminds me that there is a world of tea beyond sencha (as great as sencha is), so it's time for a little variety.

                                                The other tea I am really loving at the moment is the roasted tea that they serve after the meal at Mori Sushi. I generally don't like roasted style teas, but I love this stuff. Sometimes when I'm betwixt and between as to where to go to eat, I go to Mori for the sole reason that I know I can get that tea.

                                                1. re: omotosando

                                                  omotosando -- Hi! What are you sipping at the moment?

                                                  I think jasmine tea is available from all the better purveyors around...Teance? Upton? Red Blossom? Rishi? Are you looking for organic?

                                                  "Organic Spirit of Ohsawa Green Tea" at Erewhon. I would love to try this -- knowing it is your current favorite -- and will pick up some next time we are over in that part of town. I assume it is loose leaf. Although I have moved into the Chinese greens, my first love was for the grassy, Japanese green teas (sencha, matcha, gyokuro), so I think I will like this.

                                                  Now let's talk about the roasted tea that you mention. I, too, really appreciate this finale to a sushi lunch or dinner. It is just the perfect drink to allow me to linger for just a few more minutes with a warm cup. During the summer, I love the very pedestrian and lame iced barley tea, with or after sushi. But it must be strong-ish to combat the ice. We are talking about perhaps the least expensive of all teas...so, why don't more sushi bars serve this?

                                                  Roasted teas and barley teas are also perfect for a low caffeine evening pleasure. Fortunately, most of the Asian markets around stock these, but I am curious to know if there are quality differences in these grain teas? Is all corn tea alike? Is all barley tea roasted equally?

                                                  omotosando -- I don't expect a reply or to hear from you now for quite some time because I know you are busy playing with your new ingenuiTEA teapot from Gong Fu Tea. Oh, and by the way -- shame, shame! I insist that you brew your Honey Dan Chong Oolong with anything but LA tap water!

                                                  1. re: liu

                                                    Yes, the tea from Erewhon is loose. It is the macrobiotic aisle.

                                                    I just picked up a good roasted tea from Rishi, I believe it was called first flush hojicha. Good but not quite in the league of the hojicha at Mori or perhaps everything tastes better in Mori's hand-crafted tea cups.

                                                  2. re: omotosando

                                                    My favorite is the Dragon Pearl Jasmine Supreme from Red Blossom. I also tried a few jasmines from Ten Ren and Upton, but I found them all rather lacking in jasmine scent (the leaves smelled wonderful, but the brewed tea had very little jasmine aroma).

                                                    1. re: nonaggie

                                                      Thanks for the suggestion. I just ordered some. I also ordered the Heirloom Lishan - Spring 2006 because I couldn't resist the description of "crafted with care by an octogenerian tea master."

                                                      I want all my teas to be crafted with care by octogenerian masters!

                                                    2. re: omotosando

                                                      omotosando - Better later than never...yesterday we stopped by Erewhon and I found the "Organic Spirit of Ohsawa Green Tea" that you recommended; I almost didn't find it because it is not with all their other teas, but hanging a few aisles away. Actually, I have been carrying around a "note to self" about this, but with an accessible Whole Foods, we just don't get to Erewhon as much as we used to.

                                                      I tried it this morning, and I really enjoyed it. I have been away from Sencha for quite sometime -- into green oolongs at this moment -- and it was quite nice to ... well, it fit like an old shoe! The Japanese green teas were my first love, so back there I was. I know this talk is silly, but I do thank you for your rec of this tea; it definitely has that clean but grassy Sencha taste.

                                                      1. re: liu

                                                        Hi Liu. Glad you enjoyed the tea. You wouldn't expect to find a good tea at the health food store, but I think this one is better than lots I've ordered from online tea purveyors.

                                                        1. re: omotosando

                                                          "...better than lots..." I agree!
                                                          As I mentioned, there is a certain green flavor that it has that some lesser market Sencha teas don't have, so I was very pleasantly surprised...though not so surprised because it carried your recommendation.
                                                          Thanks, omotosando!

                                                2. re: liu

                                                  The sales person may have been disingenuous about the Dan Chong "sitting on the docks," if that's what you were told. They should be shipping by air (particularly with the prices they charge). Teas that rare don't sit on docks waiting for a ship.

                                                  1. re: Gary Soup

                                                    What does it mean, the symbol you use? Thank you.

                                                3. re: liu

                                                  A quick addendum to my post above - I don't wish to discount the Gongfu Tea Company completely re their teas. As I posted above, I received three of their teas and did not care for two of the oolongs. HOWEVER, I just enjoyed their China Green this morning and found it to be quite mild and pleasant.

                                                4. re: dg2445

                                                  I have one of these devices, which I use at work - it is super to a wire mesh basket because it doesn't impart the metallic taste. Also it shoots the tea directly into your cup without impairing the tea's ability to expand. Excellent, but slightly harder to clean.

                                                  1. re: windycity

                                                    windycity - I am really into "EASY" in the kitchen, and I am not experiencing the "slightly harder to clean" that both you and another poster have mentioned regarding this ingenuiTEA pot from Gong Fu.

                                                    I just rinse it to remove the leaves, and I never use soap or any other cleaning liquid. I also don't worry about any tea stains on the filter...maybe I should????

                                                    I am only particular about letting all the parts air dry so that no trapped moisture will assist in bacterial growth; so, I leave all the parts open on a paper towel on the counter to thoroughly dry until my next use.

                                                    But in the true Hound fashion, we continue our search for something EVEN BETTER, huh!

                                                    1. re: liu

                                                      FWIW, here's my idea of tea-brewing equipment:

                                                      1. re: Gary Soup

                                                        Hello, Gary! I can offer an elaborate response to your post, but I will try to be brief, I promise!

                                                        You are quite right! A glass will get the job done, and this is fine if I just want a cup of tea. But sometimes it is about the teacup and the pot and the brewing gear. Sometimes, I want the entire experience.

                                                        I can go out into the waters and catch a yellowtail which I then slice up into edible pieces; this works sometimes. OR, I might want the entire sushi bar experience with the gorgeous presentation and beautiful dishes and hot green tea and elegant chopsticks and perfect companion...

                                                        There's more than one way here, and they all work!

                                                        1. re: liu

                                                          With longjing tea, the "dance of the leaves" is art enough for me!

                                                          1. re: Gary Soup

                                                            I wholeheartedly get this! Just today, I brewed some high mountain oolong. In dry form, this tea was nothing more that some tightly-squished irregular little wads; when brewed, they looked like the most inviting ocean field of seaweed one can imagine. They "danced" the entire brewing vessel to capacity. As you have expressed, this was a breathtaking, dramatic performance...even before I enjoyed my first sip!

                                                        2. re: Gary Soup

                                                          Gary Soup, you are lucky because you like the green tea that works great with glass as the temperature requirement is lower than oolong! If I'm drinking Japanese Gyokuro, or if I liked Longjin tea, I would NOT use a Yixing Tea pot anyway.

                                                          In fact, I remember when i used to drink green tea more, I'd always bring it when working on location. It's easier and low maintenance. I would only drink oolong when i'm at home and had access to my teapots and stuff...

                                                          Maybe I should go back to that...and not obsess with wanting oolong ALL the time...

                                                          1. re: HLing

                                                            Speaking of oolong, at the moment I am drinking Teance High Mountain Light Oolong. It is quite smooth and the leaves completely filled my brewing pot...a beautiful sight!

                                                            HLing, I would love to know how this compares with some of the High Mountain Oolongs that you know and love. How much better might I find? I also consider the Teance Honey Dan Chong Oolong to be about as good as I have had; the tea is sweet, and the wonderful aftertaste is very lingering and complex. I know this is a tough question to answer -- for someone else's tastes -- but where would I find "better?" How much better does it get? How can I expand myself and compare, given with what is available in the States?

                                                            1. re: liu

                                                              Liu, it's sort of difficult to tell as I've never ordered from Teance. In general finding really good tea is a mixed blessing: it's the experience of your life, but then it's also potential for more disappointment down the road.

                                                              A few years ago I would say, go for Da Yu Lin! The first batch I've ever had was so amazing! A couple of years after that, I came across some being sold in Mainland China. It was still quite good, especially with good water in Hangzhou. It was also much cheaper compared to buying it from that little shop in New York. But this most recent batch I got in Taiwan was sad. I'm not sure what happened, except that it had had a bad year, or it was fake, or it was mistreated..whatever the case, it left a sour taste in the mouth, literally. The saler wouldn't admit to anything. The price was still high.

                                                              Then seeing all that websites listed here I went to Rishi's site, and was surprised that they had Da Yu Lin. Now I'm worried. I think, the initial quality is not to be had. There just aren't that much tea to go around in the first place, even within Taiwan.

                                                              So yeah, tough question...each year the harvest will be different. How much better does it get? Probably a lot, but definitely not a smooth road. There are a lot of ups and downs. A lot is suddenly (seems to me) available in the States, but I hope not at the expense of the over all quality of whatever the current trend happens to be.

                                                              1. re: HLing

                                                                I do know exactly what you are saying. My favorite tea at Teance is their Honey Dan Chong Oolong. They ran out and just received a new shipment. Word is circulating among them that this current batch is REALLY good! I would never have known that there can be a huge difference from one harvest to the next, or perhaps from one batch to the next, depending on how it is handled.

                                                                I am about to receive the new "stuff," and I will let you know if it is remarkable -- as they are saying.

                                                  2. I usually brew tea in a pot with a very fine mesh internal basket (mesh, not metal, which I find effects the flavor of the tea). I do this because I am lazy and it's easy to clean. Some teas suffer more from this approach then others. In particular, I find some greens really need to expand for full flavor and you do get somewhat of an inferior result with the mesh basket approach.

                                                    I have also used a tea sock as one poster mentioned and the tea sock does allow for more expansion than the mesh basket approach, but is somewhat more difficult to clean (the leaves always "stick" to the sock in a way they don't to the mesh basket). I'm not sure where to buy tea socks now - mine are old. They were made in Denmark, but I got them in the U.S. at a store that is now closed.

                                                    The two pot approach is probably the way to get the best tea. But I still say a pot with an infuser is good to have around when you are lazy or rushed. While you might not get perfect tea, you will get something that is infinitely better than a tea bag.

                                                    P.S. Speaking of rushed and lazy, here is how I make matcha for breakfast. Heat water. Dump water into beautiful Japanese tea bowl. Dump water from beautiful Japanese tea bowl into blender. Add matcha. Blend. Dump finished product back into beautiful Japanese tea bowl and savor. You could call it the antithesis of the tea ceremony, but it works.

                                                    1. hi, omotosando! I love your tea ways! And I am quite impressed by your ingenuity to find a quick and easy way to get your morning matcha fix! The blender...you're really in the 21st century!

                                                      I quite agree with everything you have said. I sometimes feel the pain of the large leaves that really need to stretch out and just don't have the room in those little mesh baskets, but they are just so easy to use. I also agree that while the sock approach sounds like it would work, it is too sticky for me; I just don't have the patience to pick all the pieces out.

                                                      I do like the idea of the gonfu-tea.com pot, but I would love to hear from someone who uses it all the time -- do YOU, omotosando? -- so that they can tell me whether it is really easy and good. Ohhhhhhh, in our passion for that perfect cup, we are always searching for the better brew...but it must be easy!

                                                      Speaking of easy, when you get your Rishi Angel Peach balls, simply drop them into the mug (one per 6 oz. or so -- I like it strong!) and just let them freely steep while you sip.]

                                                      omotosando, if you have any other EASY steeping hints, please feel free to check my profile and contact me on email.

                                                      1. I generally drink my Longjing tea the way about 10 million Shanghainese do, in a large glass tumbler with no infuser (so you get some leaves in your mouth -- they are edible, after all). I don't decant either.

                                                        The next best thing is a large glass mug with a glass infuser that is so big it just barely fits the contours. The infuser is big enough for the leaves to dance (Shanghainese call it dance, not agony, as another poster put it). The mug has a lid that you can use to rest the infuser on between infusions. The nicest one is from Jenaer Glas, but it doesn't seem to be in their current line and is hard to find, but there are some clones out there.

                                                        The Jenaer looks like this picture (believe it or not, the infuser is in place).

                                                        1. Being a tea nut, I have searched and brain stormed for ways to enjoy the high-mountain teas that I love.

                                                          Assuming the water is perfect - fresh, crisp and alive - the temperature and breathability is important in tea-brewing. With all the new style of tea making pots/mugs/strainers/ combos, I cannot get myself to use plastic or glass. The water temperature just dissipate so fast that the tea never gets that moment of perfection, when the scent and the flavor get to come into full bloom. I always come back to my YiXing teapot, where the clay breathes but the heat holds.

                                                          For those who think it's too much trouble to clean the pot, it's actually quite simple. Look for the Gongfu (Kung Fu) Tea's set of apparatus for tea. Every piece as its own function, but the most helpful is the wooden thong you use to pick out the used tea leaves. The better leaves you use the easier it is to clean, because the good leaves are in complete pieces and when they open up there aren't much little broken bits. With the thong you can grab the whole bunch out.

                                                          For those times when I travel or am at work, I have recently found what's perfect for me. While I've remained resistant to the Gaiwan for a long time, I finally found one on my brief stay in Taiwan. It's a Gaiwan, but made of purple clay (solves the heat retention problem), unlike most gaiwan, this one had a pouring spout; the lid has some holes for straining leaves at the spout; there is a ridge inside the gaiwan for the lid to rest on; last but not least, there's a drinking cup shaped perfectly so that it can nestle inside the gaiwan, under the lid when not in use; when in use, before the tea is done, I invert it to cover the lid, a process which not only keeps the heat in, but also heats up the cup.

                                                          Another thing, about straining the tea a second time: some people, for asthetic reasons, like to strain the tea again just before pouring into the serving container. While this makes the tea beautifully clear, I find that the essence of the flavor is lost as the tea goes through yet another medium, as well as losing the little specs that carry the flavor. I've found that in general, tea drinkers I've met in Taiwan don't want to lose flavor by doing the fine straining; people in China who does kung fu tea tend to do it...well, I should say, the people who are learning to present kung fu tea in a formal setting tend to do it.

                                                          75 Replies
                                                          1. re: HLing

                                                            Thanks, HLing, for posting about your "tea nut" habits in such detail. It sounds like you have taken tea sipping to the next level, one I can only hope to reach -- with all the perfect pots! You have, indeed, made some very good points about easily being able to remove the leaves in one bunch; I have noticed this as I move into the better teas. I also like the tea to have a little "texture" and not to be overly strained.

                                                            My only question for you regards your need to keep your tea hot for long periods of time. I brew about 16 ounces and drink it before it cools; my last sip is usually still quite warm, and then I brew another 16 ounces. How much do you brew at one time? How slowly do you drink it that you have the need to keep it hot for long periods?

                                                            Thanks for joining in this lengthy and sometimes very obsessively detailed conversation about our tea habits and quests for the perfect cup! What a great pursuit we share!

                                                            1. re: liu

                                                              "..My only question for you regards your need to keep our tea hot for long periods of time..."

                                                              Actually, if I had conveyed the above to you I was not very clear in my expression.

                                                              I think maybe it's more like how people talk about the time it takes for a car to go from 1 to 60 mph. This is now talking about making Gong Fu style tea. I need the tea pot & tea cups to BE at a certain optimum temperature for short period of time, but during that short period of time, it has to be 100%. This doesn't mean the tea has to remain at a certain temperature. It just means that the environment for the tea and the leaves has to be quite constant and not have the heat leak. This way, the tea and tea leaves can react to it in its own variety of ways. Usually the leaves don't steep for more than a minute each time (getting longer each time, though), if there's a lot of it, but of course, i make multiple steeping...each time tasting something different. I mean, if I kept the made tea at a hot hot temperature for a long time, I'd be cooking the tea/tea leaves indefinitely, and that would taste pretty awful.

                                                              When I make Gong Fu style tea my tea pot usually holds 2 to 3 ozs at a time. I have my favorite shape and material for the cup so that I can enjoy the fragrance and the taste. Much the same way the wine tasters are fussy about their Riedels and the different shapes of wine glasses for different functions.

                                                              I do get self-conscious about being a tea-geek. Although, you will be warned when you go to the Taiwanese tea shops, "don't start with the highest grade of tea or else you will not be able to enjoy anything elss..". In tea making it's the same way. If you've ever had an amazing experience out of some tea leaves, you will only want more from right there ..you will not be satisfied with the same tea leaves if somehow they didn't yield the same miraculous flavor you had once experienced....

                                                              On the other hand, I sometimes take a break from all that and use less leaves, maybe less than usual, and just make the tea and let it sit for a long time, and just drink that one steeping. Though it still would have to be good clay teapot to start.

                                                              On the other other hand....well, there are many ways to enjoy tea. I will stop here, and just be grateful that there ARE other tea lovers out there..Yes it's a great pursuit we share!

                                                              1. re: HLing

                                                                This is great...please continue! I really love hearing from a passionate master! And the "tea-geek" part is quite attractive and wears well on you!

                                                                I share the same questions as omotosando in the post just adjacent. I would love to know where you buy your tea and what are your favorites.

                                                            2. re: HLing

                                                              HLing thank you for this useful information. Tea tongs sound useful. Is this the stuff you mean?


                                                              Any other suggestions where to buy short of a trip to Taiwan or Mainland China?

                                                              Any suggestions for good "high mountain" tea?

                                                              1. re: omotosando

                                                                Omotosando and Liu,

                                                                the link Omotosando provided shows exactly what I'm talking about. Here another link to a place in NY. http://www.luhyutea.com/main.asp?page...
                                                                The pick comes in handy sometimes when little bits clogs up the pouring spout from the inside. Then there's a ring, not shown in the picture, to fit over the teapot for easy pouring of the dry tea leaves....

                                                                The tools you should be able to buy in the US. I had some preconception that you are familiar with NYC? As a last resort Ten Ren would have it, though they would make you pay way too much for it.

                                                                As for good high mountain tea, my current favorite is tea from Shue Feng (Snow Peak) Farm in Fouzhou. Not to be confused with others starting to use that name, but has nothing to do with the same people. Shue Feng Tea Farm was started by a Taiwanese couple who started a tea farm in China. As you may already know, Taiwanese tea is processed a certain way that's quite different from the Mainland method. China is not short on good tea plants, but under the able hands of this owner, who insists on Organic farming, and Taiwanese strict way of tea leaves processing, the good got even better.

                                                                Unfortunately I can't get this in the US. Last time I was in China I ordered some to be shipped to NYC. Shue Feng Tea has shops in Shanghai, Suzhou, Fouzhou, and up to last year, the beautiful Hangzhou, where I had an unforgettable tea drinking experience thanks to the Hu Pao(Tiger Run) Spring water....

                                                                The tea they offer are just so much tastier than most other places. Their Huang Jin Gui (Golden Osmanthus) and their Yun Wu (Cloud Fog) are both medium priced tea, I mean other farms have those variety of tea, and yet, these taste so incredibly delicious and..well, real. (Just to make clear, that though there's "Osamanthus" in the name doesn't mean that it's flavored with Osmanthus blossoms) Their Fo Shou (Buddha Hand) is one of their higher grade tea. It's a tea that has unusually long and thick leave, and supposedly has special beneficial medicinal effects. This tea is darker, full body, and complex. There's also the Yu Lu (Jade Dew) which is a lighter tea with very uplifting fragrance......

                                                                Don't get me started about going to Taiwan and China...Sigh...Right now I just returned from China and Taiwan with good tea, but 1) Now I'm in LA temporarily and cannot get good water to let my dwindling tea leaves shine 2) My other suggestion for "high mountain tea" would have been Da Yu Ling, from Taiwan, but then the batch I got this year from Taiwan may have been off somehow as it had an unpleasant after taste different from what I remembered....

                                                                1. re: HLing

                                                                  Oh my goodness, I am salivating reading this post. Perhaps as people in the U.S. become more knowledgeable about tea and as the economy continues to become a global one, we will someday be able to buy these teas in the U.S. At least I hope so, since I have no upcoming trips to China or Taiwan. Or perhaps one day Shue Feng Tea will have an e-commerce site.

                                                                  About the L.A. water, it is funny because just this evening I was thinking that my tea used to taste much better several years ago when I always filtered my water before brewing. Having gotten lazy, I now just heat up unfiltered L.A. tap. I had no idea our water was any worse than any other municipality. I think I will go back to filtering . . .

                                                                  1. re: omotosando

                                                                    Speaking of water....Here's a mini review:

                                                                    I tried the Italian Panna to make my tea. It had a real round and smooth mouth feel..a very good thing except that the scent isn't brought out.

                                                                    Voss, the water from Norway made the tea really vibrant! It's not as round as the Panna, but the scent of the tea is back. It's really night and day, as if a veil has been lifted.

                                                                    Another factor might have to be considered though - the Voss water I used I had put in the refrigerator. I boiled the iced water in my electrical tea kettle (from Tien Ren about 10 years ago for $90! what was i thinking?!), where it was brought to a boil quite quickly. I'm quite sure the starting water temperature makes a different, as I recall reading about brewing coffee with iced water to get a better taste.

                                                                    Just some thoughts for those of us in search of a great cup of tea....

                                                                    1. re: HLing

                                                                      All righty - it's Voss for my office. The tea I make there always tastes terrible, probably because I just go to the office coffee machine, which has a hot water spigot, and take the water from there. Got to get one of those electric water heaters for my office and then some Voss, and I'll be living it up.

                                                                      1. re: omotosando

                                                                        The office is always a tough place to get a good cup of tea made. The coffee machine's hot water is not unlike the hot water from the airplane. If it's been sitting there heating and reheating you can be sure it's going to put a damper on your tea.

                                                                        My experiments with the water are still in progress..maybe Voss is it, or maybe refridgerating it first is it.

                                                                        Just be certain when you get your electric water heater that you don't get something with plastic casing, nor something where the heating unit comes in contact with the water. Both will change the taste of the water for the worse.

                                                                        In the mean time I'm going to try to use iced Crystal water (the 25 cents /gallon one) and see if it ALSO taste better.

                                                                      2. re: HLing

                                                                        I just brewed up some tea at home with Fiji water. Frankly, not only did it not taste any better than with L.A. tap (I brewed the exact same tea earlier today with L.A. tap), but I think it actually tasted a bit worse. Next time I'll try the Voss.

                                                                        Thanks for explaining why the tea I make at the office always tastes terrible, no matter how high a grade a tea I use. I hadn't really thought about the heating and reheating from the coffee machine sucking all the flavor out of the water.

                                                                        As to electric water heaters, I was thinking of getting a Braun AquaExpress


                                                                        It claims to have a concealed stainless steel heating element. Do you have any better suggestions?

                                                                        1. re: omotosando

                                                                          I was just going to try Fiji water. Now I won't. But was yours ice cold to start? Or maybe you don't test that part of the fomula?

                                                                          Someone at work brought the braun tea kettle to the trade sho we were at. The case is plastic (it was the white one) and something wasn't quite right. I would get the stainless steel one, WK600.

                                                                          For tea I don't know if you can get one like this:

                                                                          It's pretty standard for gong fu tea. Same idea cord is with the bottom plate. No heating elements inside the metal pot. I haven't look carefully in places like Ranch 99 so I don't know if they'd have it. You can probably get one from Taiwan for cheap (same electrical current)

                                                                          1. re: omotosando

                                                                            omotosando - For what it's worth (and you know that I am afraid to recommend anything to you!!!), this Braun AquaExpress is the exact one that I have (mine is white) and I love it! I use it every day, many times a day, and have loved it for about a year now. I bought it as a gift for someone, and he loves it, too!

                                                                            Coincidentally, I always use bottled water that is fridge-chilled -- because that is what I drink, take to the gym, and keep in the refrigerator. With this electric water kettle, I just grab a bottle from the fridge and pour...easy! The kettle usually heats the cold water to green tea temp in about a minute or two (I never timed it), but it just gives me enough time to select my tea - and if I have a tad extra time, I look at all the teas in a neighboring bin that I don't like...and wonder what I should do with them, and then my hot water is ready!

                                                                            There is no whistle on this kettle, so you will need to watch through the little plastic window to catch it before it boils, or let it boil and automatically shut off, depending on what you want.

                                                                            1. re: omotosando

                                                                              Speaking of electric tea kettle, I don't know if you've purchased yours. Last night I was taken to the Hawaii Supermarket. I had the time of my life looking through every single item...this place is so much more colorful and diverse than Ranch 99 (boring) ! Anyhow, I saw one of those Chinese tea kettle that I was telling you about. That's the good news. The bad news is, it's $64! I got one in China for 1/8 of that price, yikes! This one is not of the greatest quality though the design is one with the concealed heating unit. There was also a mini one that's probably no more than 20 oz.
                                                                              I might go back check it out some more later this week as the size is convenient.

                                                                              1. re: HLing

                                                                                HLing - I frequently wander the Hawaii Supermarket on Saturdays. Please do tell me exactly which kettle you like so that I might explore the same shelf! Thanks for sharing this info...always great to hear from you!

                                                                                1. re: HLing

                                                                                  Is it a glass kettle, or a metal one? Haven't been to Hawaii for a while, but maybe I'll check it out.

                                                                                  There are some super cheap (both quality and price) small metal electric kettles available at Wing Hop Fung.

                                                                                  I really want one of these guys, but it seems like a bit much to spend on a kettle:

                                                                                  I have a (French style) enameled cast iron stovetop kettle right now that works pretty well, but the spout doesn't pour as smoothly as I'd like.

                                                                                  1. re: will47

                                                                                    Liu and Will47, the metal tea kettle I was looking at is similar in design to this one: http://auction1.taobao.com/auction/21...
                                                                                    but is a lot crappier (g) and apparently a lot more expensive. It's probably not worth a trip to Hawaii supermarket, unless you also get a kick out of their other fun stuff, like those heavy Thai grills that are from at least 60 years ago, looking like a re-enforced (with some sort of heavy brick like material)metal bucket, weighing about 3 tons, where you can put a pot over the charcoal, and underneath, the ashes gather to make a perfect place for smothered whole sweet potato..... and tons of other knick knacks, like the Kom Kom Miracle Zigzag..oops, i'm in the wrong subject..

                                                                                    Will47, I couldn't get your link to work, so I'm not sure what kettle you're after. Can you re-link?

                                                                                    If I'm home with a gas stove I always prefer a good stainless steel tea kettle. I like the immediacy of the fire.

                                                                                    Thanks for the Wing Hop Fung tip, I will hop over there when I find out where it is.

                                                                                    1. re: HLing

                                                                                      Wing Hop Fung -- If you don't want to go downtown, you can go have dim sum at Capital Seafood at Atlantic and Garvey, and then walk down the sidewalk a few doors to the Monterey Park branch of Wing Hop Fung. This store doesn't have the hustle-'n-bustle vibe of the one downtown, but it is interesting, nevertheless!

                                                                                      1. re: liu

                                                                                        Thanks Will47 for the rec, and Liu for the direction.

                                                                                        I saw all the nice electric tea kettles that at first looked great. Upon closer inspection though, I could feel the heating coil just underneath the place that would have come in contact with the water. There was only one that didn't have exposed heating coil; it's an induction plate with a kettle. The plate could probably be used for cooking in general. The price is medium, about $34 dollars, BUT, the plate is pretty heavy and wouldn't be too travel friendly.

                                                                                        It's a fun place to browse, though, with some very nice looking Gaiwans, and some very resonable tea tools that we talked about ealier in the thread - Tea tongs +. There were some small sets that went for $4.99. A good deal.

                                                                                        I didn't know the place closed at 7 PM. I barely had 30 mins before bering ushered out. Some of the tea cups are quite reasonable. I'm certainly glad I could see the products in person.

                                                                                        1. re: HLing

                                                                                          HLing - I was just there this morning, and I, too, noticed all the tea tools.

                                                                                          Which store did you visit -- downtown or Monterey Park?

                                                                                          With all your tea talk on this post, I was much more observant of all the pots and their little variations; also, I might never have paid much attention to all the tools had I not read all your posts. So, keep up the "talk" because I am learning a lot!

                                                                                          1. re: liu

                                                                                            Liu, I was at the Monterey Park one.

                                                                                            I'd wanted to look more at those bamboo tea trays. (I got a industrial strength one at Hawaii (g) -see my reply to Will 47 below) There were some really cool looking trays at Wing Hop Fung. Some ceramic and some wooden. I didn't buy any there this time though.

                                                                                            I like the wooden tea trays for travel because they are light and provide a place for kung fu tea making, but I've had them leak after some use. My last mini one cracked. The one I'm using currently I bought from China. Upon hearing my complaint about the cracking/leaking, the guy I bought this one from told me that since it's bamboo, too keep it moist by using it frequently. We'll see how long this one lasts.

                                                                                            1. re: HLing

                                                                                              HLing -- Give the downtown Wing Hop Fung store a visit. It might just be their layout -- TWO stories instead of one -- but I think they might carry even a few more items than the Monterey Park site. Let me know what you think.

                                                                                              And I trust you have explored the Marukai store in the Torrance area? If not, this is a very fun field trip!

                                                                                              1. re: liu

                                                                                                Liu, I'm almost glad I'm too new in town to run around looking at tea stuff...because it's bad enough that i love tea stuff, I'm totally hopeless in a Japanese store! Just leave me there and I can keep myself entertained for hours and hours on end...

                                                                                                I've been told though, that Marukai requires a membership card to go in? Is that true? How far is Torrance from San Gabriel?

                                                                                                1. re: HLing

                                                                                                  Take a pillow, and plan to spend the day or three! This is an amazing market to wander and linger and browse and nosh! I also suggest taking a cooler in your trunk; there are a lot of interesting cold food items. Like you, I am easily entertained and totally occupied in any Asian market, but this one is very special!

                                                                                                  Marukai Market is actually in Gardena. Call them for directions (#310.660-6300) and instructions about a membership card. Actually, for the past many years, we have just paid the dollar required at check-out; I think that gives you a pass for a week or a month??? However, finally, we broke down and purchased the year's pass (a plastic card instead of a paper card!!!) and I think it was about $8...but I'm not sure. If the daily/weekly pass is still available, that's probably the way to go, unless you think you will frequent the market this year.

                                                                                                  After you see how much fun it is (they have so many different sections: pottery, dishes, teaware, stuff, and also soft goods and food and more food and more food), you will be thinking about your next visit. There is a small food court with a few places to eat, but nothing has been amazing that we have had; it will do, however, if you wish to eat lunch.

                                                                                                  Really, it is worth the effort to get there. Look for the tiled blue roof, and we have always been able to park on the upper level outside and walk right in...no problem. Then, when you leave, there is a large Mitsuwa nearby, and also a nice 99 Ranch. You can do THREE markets in one day! We did two this past weekend, and I was ready for a third, but I got voted down.

                                                                                                  Marukai Market at 1740 West Artesia Blvd. in Gardena
                                                                                                  Mitsuwa Market at 21515 Western Avenue in Torrance (This Mitsuwa Market is very different from the others in the city -- much more upscale, and it has Santouka. Eat in this market, rather than Marukai, if that is a choice.)

                                                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                                                    Liu, I'm going to have to wait to go on this marvelous trip for Marukai. My ride isn't availble for a while. But thanks for the addresses. There is a Mitsuwa in NJ that has Santouka, also. I have only been twice. The 2nd time they were out of the special with the pork slices separate on a plate..something Toroniku..Definitely an added incentive to go.

                                                                                                  2. re: HLing

                                                                                                    There is a Mitsuwa downtown also, which is way closer than the one in Torrance.

                                                                                                    1. re: will47

                                                                                                      will47 - Are you referring to the Mitsuwa in Little Tokyo? If so, I don't think it compares well with the one in Torrance. Just my take -- I think the one in Torrance is well worth the drive...and while you're there, you can also enjoy the Marukai Market!

                                                                                      2. re: will47

                                                                                        I think Hou De's site has been not showing up in general. If that link still doesn't work, try:
                                                                                        same product, though $25 more expensive.

                                                                                        They also have this one, similar to the one you describe.

                                                                                        1. re: will47

                                                                                          For myself I think glass doesn't hold heat as well, but while looking at what Omotosando's choices i saw this one that's glass, and not as expensive as yours.


                                                                                          The one from your Imperialtea link is exactly the one i saw in Hawaii Supermarket but at a even higher price! I would probably go back there, and check out the small one, for its portablility for office or travel. The regular one is too bulky to be mobile.

                                                                                          1. re: HLing

                                                                                            Glass doesn't hold heat as well, but the good part is that you can see exactly what's going on, and the one I linked to has a heating element and an adjustable temperature setting, so as long as you keep it on its base, you can control the temperature quite well. Of course, another bad thing is that it's quite easy to break.

                                                                                            The Capresso one looked interesting (and it does look cool, with the chrome ball at the bottom, covering the heating element), but after seeing it in person, I don't think I want one. The inside has a kind of odd / unpleasant smell (some online reviews say it goes away, others say it doesn't), and there are plastic and rubber parts inside, which I wasn't too happy about. Earlier models were recalled because the handles fell off, and the overall construction quality is not very good.

                                                                                            When I was at tea gallery in NY, the owner was using one of the ones linked above, and he had another one (maybe the Capresso) that heated stuff faster. I think he likes the pouring action on the glass kettle above better. He also uses some rocks inside, which apparently are mostly to soften the water, but also help with heat retention.

                                                                                            1. re: will47

                                                                                              I didn't know there were plastic and rubber parts inside..that wouldn't have been good. Heating fast is a good trait, but not if the water is going to smell like plastic.

                                                                                              Which NY tea gallery were you in? I'm curious. I'm happy to hear that he uses some rocks, because then what I do doesn't seem so weird even though i use my rocks at a different stage. I catch my freshly run (until ice cold) NY tap water that then goes through the whole-block carbon filter (not the granulated carbon like Brita) with a special petrified rock cup and then pour it into the kettle to boil for tea. It does taste better, rounder. Of course, running the water and areoating it helps, too.

                                                                                              Forgot to ask..is your stove top a Staub La Therier by any chance? I love the look, but don't feel it could pour well, and don't like the enamel for water...but I really love the way it looks for some reason. ..I would probably get it to cook something instead of boiling water for tea...just so I can have it.

                                                                                              1. re: HLing

                                                                                                The place is actually called "The Tea Gallery" - it's down on Allen in the Lower East Side. If you have an nytimes membership, you may be able to see this article:
                                                                                                in which they were featured. Their prices are maybe a little on the high side, but they are very helpful, and will

                                                                                                This picture shows Michael (one of the owners) using the glass electric teapot linked above... if you look closely, you can see the rocks at the bottom. I think I found the name for them once, but now I can't remember. He told me they are primarily to soften the water. They make a very interesting sound when the water boils.


                                                                                                Stéphane from teamasters.blogspot.com sometimes sends little samples of this bamboo charcoal he sells which you can actually put in the water. I have some, but haven't tried putting it in my water yet. I usually use spring water without too many minerals in it (Crystal Geyser or Volvic, usually). I've tried using Brita water and I don't like it.

                                                                                                It is a La Therier (kind of a dark eggplant purple color). I agree - the pouring action is horrible.

                                                                                                1. re: will47

                                                                                                  The Mitsuwa Market on Western in Torrance has an improved housewares section, and on one of their round racks with other tea paraphernalia, just this past weekend I saw a small bag of charcoal. I am pretty sure it was specifically for tea brewing. This is the first time I had seen this product, other than when you recently directed me to Stephane and his Teamaster's site.

                                                                                      3. re: HLing

                                                                                        Hi HLing. No, haven't purchased my electric kettle yet. What happened is I got overwhelmed by all the choices and coped with that by doing nothing.

                                                                                        Upton Teas is touting this electric kettle, which is manufactured under their name in China.


                                                                                        Todd & Holland has this one, which they say is their favorite:


                                                                                        Then there is the previously mentioned Braun. Too many choices. So I keep drinking tea at work steeped in hot water from the coffee machine even though probably any one of these kettles would be vastly superior.

                                                                                        1. re: omotosando

                                                                                          Overwhelmed...then paralysis sets in -- I've been there!

                                                                                          Hi, omotosando! I checked out the very helpful links you supplied, and I notice that the Upton Electric Kettle has an automatic variable temp shut-off; this means that you can set your target temperature for the tea that you are drinking. Although I don't know how accurate this is, it is - in my opinion - a very desirable feature. In contrast, the Braun electric kettle that I have boils before it shuts off; this means that I need to use a thermometer, and also "catch" the kettle before it boils by monitoring the little plastic window. Yes, I have easily adapted to this method, but the next step up would be a variable temp shut-off -- and I would pay extra for this feature.

                                                                                          I can't tell if the Todd-Holland has this feature, but I am sure you could email them about it.

                                                                                          1. re: liu

                                                                                            Liu, you are so far off the deep end, have you been looking at the Zojirushi water boliers? ( "A HUNDRED DOLLARS for a machine to boil water???" the man said.) They have presets like 145, 175. 208 degrees and so forth and AFAIK they grab the temp on the way up, not the way down.


                                                                                            1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                                              Yeah - those dispensers are great... as long as you don't care about control of pouring speed, precise control of temperature, or need to get the water slightly boiling... even for wulongs and such which should mostly be brewed at slightly less than a full boil (crab-eyes), some people like to use full-boiling water for the rinse to open the leaves (for tightly rolled ones).

                                                                                              I'd try to find one that does 175, 195 and 208 instead, unless you're making *really* delicate greens.

                                                                                              1. re: will47

                                                                                                Hey, biluochun is the second greatest tea in the world and 145 degrees is optimal for it!

                                                                                                1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                                                  I'll bite -- What's your FIRST greatest?

                                                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                                                    Taking a stab at the World according to Gary Soup: the First, the greatest in his book is Longjin...just a guess.

                                                                                              2. re: Gary Soup

                                                                                                Gary - I am not sure what you picked up on. I am merely comparing one feature that the Upton pot has that my Braun does not have, since omotosando mentioned only three pots: the Braun, the Upton, and the one from Todd-Holland.

                                                                                                If other pots out there have temperature settings with automatic shut-off, that would be a feature that I would look for; my Braun water heater was a gift, so I didn't do the research and did not know of other kettles and their various features until recently.

                                                                                                Of course, these pots grab the temperature on the way up; but if I miss my mark when I am watching for a pre-boil temp, then I must let the water cool a bit before steeping some delicate green tea.

                                                                                                1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                                                  I have one of those (mine is 175, 195, 208), and I use it all the time (I usually set it to 195 and use it for oolongs; for green tea, I dispense and let the water cool down a bit).

                                                                                                  I got it mostly for making tea, but now I use it all the time when I'm cooking, too,

                                                                                                  1. re: nonaggie

                                                                                                    Hello, nonaggie! This post is becoming just a bit confusing because so many tea pots have been mentioned.

                                                                                                    Please, do tell me which tea pot you have -- with the preset temperature control. When someone says "I use it all the time," I am listening.

                                                                                                    1. re: liu

                                                                                                      I think nonaggie was talking about the Zojirushi-type water boiler I mentioned above somewhere.

                                                                                                      1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                                                        Yes, sorry - I was talking about the Zojirushi water boiler.

                                                                                              3. re: omotosando

                                                                                                "..What happened is I got overwhelmed by all the choices and coped with that by doing nothing.."

                                                                                                How very wise and Laozi of you..the Way of Doing Nothing.

                                                                                                For me I'd be weary of buying stuff off the web. I would need to see,touch and feel (and taste, the tea) before buying.

                                                                                                As for the temperature? I think instinct works better for me. The numbers came probably with measuring experienced tea makers, but the numbers won't necessarily make a good cup of tea. For me it would just be another extranuous thought....OK, but this is just some stubborn backward person speaking, don't mind me.

                                                                                                1. re: HLing

                                                                                                  The Little Prince says that Grown-ups like things they can measure with numbers. How can "some stubborn backward person" deny the value of the numbers?

                                                                                                  I shall boil, boil up a cup of lapsang souchong to drink while I consider this revelation.

                                                                                                  1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                    How? To some I'm stubborn, backward, and not yet grown up, that's how, maybe?

                                                                                                    1. re: HLing

                                                                                                      It may be easier not to know these things and be free to just do.

                                                                                              4. re: HLing

                                                                                                I got one of the metal cordless electric kettles described above today (at Hawaii), however the bad news is that (even after boiling / rinsing repeatedly), there are weird black specks (plastic or rubber, probably) showing up in the water (and yes - they're coming from the kettle and not my water). It looks like they have been sitting there for a while, so I'm wondering if there is maybe some sort of rubber gasket that dried out. I can't actually feel anything underneath the heating element, so not sure what's there. I'm going to try and return it tomorrow.

                                                                                                It's too bad, because other than that, it works quite well - good control over pouring, and I'm actually starting to like the "army surplus" type look.

                                                                                                Ten Ren, I think the one on Garvey, has one (not sure if it's the same one or the one made by Kamjove) for $80, which is a bit much, but I might suck it up vs. ordering one online.

                                                                                                1. re: will47

                                                                                                  Will47, did you get the big one for $64? I'm not sure if the heating coils are exposed on that model. If you stick your hand into the pot (when it's unplugged and empty and cool!) and feel under the round plate, is it sealed around, or are there open space all around?
                                                                                                  The smaller one on the shelf actually had the coil partially peeking out from under the round plate inside the pot. So, despite the nice size, I didn't get one. If the big one is like that, too, that might be the source of your black specks.
                                                                                                  I hope you can return it with no problem.

                                                                                                  I did get a cheap tea tray from Hawaii Supermarket: http://picasaweb.google.com/HLingHLin...
                                                                                                  It's an easy way to have a place to pour hot water over your teapot, cups...everything...for kung fu tea-making. The tray is big enough to hold all that hot water you pour for at least a couple sittings. It is plastic, but it doesn't smell. And it's cheap, just under $8.

                                                                                                  The kettle I've been using for the past 10+ years IS from Ten Ren. Expensive. Pretty sturdy though. (knock on wood) It's just so expensive way back when already. I guess you pay for someone's expert design that's taken the specialized tea-making requirement into consideration.
                                                                                                  I mean, just look at how long it took for the Western culture to catch on to this kind of electric tea kettle...

                                                                                                  1. re: HLing

                                                                                                    I got a small bamboo tray at the little tea store in the back of Shun Fat a while back. It works ok (so far, no leaks, knock wood).

                                                                                                    Today, I ended up returning the kettle to Hawaii (yes, I did get the big one for $64), and getting two kettles (one for home and one for work).

                                                                                                    One's from Ten Ren, pretty much the same as the one I had: http://www.tentea.com/electricteapot....

                                                                                                    They were selling it for $80, but I bargained them down a little, so in total, I think the cost was about the same as the one from Hawaii.

                                                                                                    I also got a Kamjove tp-680 from WHF.

                                                                                                    It's way cheaper ($30), the kettle holds the same volume, comes in chrome too (I'm not a huge fan of the black one), 800w instead of 600, and is UL listed, so hopefully safer. On the negative side, the more expensive one seems a little more built to last, and the cheaper one doesn't look quite as nice.

                                                                                                    Both of them had the same issue. Looking into it further, I realized
                                                                                                    that the inside of the spout and the spout side was gunky... I assume
                                                                                                    remnants of the process used to make the kettle. So hopefully, once I clean that up, they'll work well.

                                                                                                    1. re: will47

                                                                                                      I see from the Ten Ren website that I was wrong about the kettle i got 10 + years ago...I'd thought they'd stayed the same price of $90 from back then, when in fact, on the website I see that they are now $129! It said that it was both 110 and 220 AC?! I didn't know that...it would be nice if it were true. http://www.tentea.com/luyuelteaket.html

                                                                                                      The Kamjove is the perfect size for office...I hope everything taste good for you!

                                                                                                      1. re: HLing

                                                                                                        I was just about to finally make a decision and order the one you mentioned (which appears is not from Ten Ren, but rather from a web shop called Ten Tea, which is somewhat confusing), when I found this one on the Internet:


                                                                                                        So now I betwixt and between the one from Ten Tea and the glass one above. The glass one seems like it might look nicer in my office. So, I'm back to my indecision. (Ah, I see above that people have already discussed the glass ones - just too many choices).

                                                                                                        1. re: omotosando

                                                                                                          I think Ten Tea is the US packager/distributor for both Ten Ren and Ten Fu (which itself is Ten Ren's China arm). It's all very confusing, but I think Ten Tea is, for all practical purposes, the same thing as Ten Ren when it comes to eCommerce.

                                                                                                          1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                                                            I got a little confused because there are two separate websites: www.tenren.com and www.tentea.com. The Ten Tea website sells electric kettles, but the Ten Ren website does not.

                                                                                                          2. re: omotosando

                                                                                                            Omotosando..I'm sure whatever you end up with, you will make it work. After all this brainstorming, you have only to relax and let the answer come to you. ...Keep us posted..

                                                                                                            1. re: HLing

                                                                                                              The answer came to me . . . I placed my order with Hou De in Houston for the glass teapot with beautiful electric wooden base.

                                                                                                              Thanks to the Chowhounder who mentioned this place - I forgot who. I thought I knew every tea purveyor in the U.S., but this one was new to me.

                                                                                                              I also ordered some bamboo tea tools for $18 (which I thought was a good price), some Pu-erh tea and a beautiful handmade teacup from Taiwan (Hou De seems to specialize in tea and accoutrements from Taiwan).

                                                                                                              I would have also ordered some oolong, but got a bit overwhelmed by the choices (a recurring theme with me). When I have some free time, I will, as Liu likes to recommend, call them and see if they can guide me to something in line with my tastes. The tasting notes that they have for their teas are pretty incredible - the most detailed I have seen anywhere on the web.

                                                                                                              1. re: omotosando

                                                                                                                Just to report that I absolutely love my electric kettle that I got from Hou De (and which they are no longer selling, although the same kettle is still available from Imperial Teas: http://tinyurl.com/3ywm59 ).

                                                                                                                Pricey, but worth it. Looks beautiful in my office, works great (once I got a translation of the characters on the knob - yes, this is not made for the American market and all the markers are in Chinese). I march into the office kitchen, fill up my teapot with spring water from the Sparkletts dispenser, brew some loose leaves in my small Tokonoma teapot and I am living the life of Riley at work. No more awful tea made with water from the coffee machine.

                                                                                                                1. re: omotosando

                                                                                                                  omotosando, glad you found your tea kettle solution! Pricy is worth it if it lasts and is well made, and easy on the eyes!

                                                                                                                  i did go back to YHF and got the smaller of the tea kettle with the induction plate for the office, since I couldn't find any other besides another expensive (but good)Ten Ren kettle, and since it was temporary (now I'm no longer in LA). The lid was too loose and would often fall off if I'm not careful. Good thing it didn't break anything when it fell the first few times. The water boils extremely fast, which was good, though the fan has to be left on for a little while after the water boils, and it gets a bit loud.

                                                                                                                  Just curious, what does, "living the life of Riley at work" mean?

                                                                                                                  1. re: HLing

                                                                                                                    Ah, the life of Riley - one of the great English idiomatic expressions, apparently dating back to the 1880's:


                                                                                                                    From Wikipedia: "Living the life of Riley" suggests an ideal life of prosperity and contentment, possibly living on someone else's money, time or work. Rather than a negative freeloading or golddigging aspect, it instead implies that someone is kept or advantaged.

                                                                                                                    Since I don't drink coffee and therefore don't get to take advantage of the free coffee in the office, I do like taking advantage of the free spring Sparkletts water to make my tea.

                                                                                          2. re: HLing

                                                                                            Are you familiar with the Red Blossom Tea shop in San Francisco? Alice Luong there is an absolute nut for high mountain teas, and they have a pretty good selection of Anxi, Wuyi and Formosa teas. Her brother Peter will be in Fujian buying this Spring. You might want to to put a bug in his ear about your favorite tea. In any event, Alice and Peter are very friendly and accommodating and love to talk tea.

                                                                                            I'm strictly a China green man myself, and hope to do some buying in Hangzhou myself in late March.


                                                                                            1. re: HLing

                                                                                              HLing - I am hanging on your every word. I KNOW to what you refer because my friend from Taiwan used to bring back tea for me that I just could not duplicate here. I would hoard it and ration it -- to no avail, because it was just so delicious...gone! The quality was just so superior to anything we can buy here in the States. I have ordered (from some of our best tea purveyors) the same names you have mentioned -- Golden Osmanthus, Cloud Fog, Budda's Hand, Jade Dew -- but they pale in comparison to the teas from China that are available in China only.

                                                                                              I am just amazed that we have such a huge amount of teas to tap into...maybe in time. As a society, we are thrust by inertia in the same direction and forget to and/or are resistant to looking around to really learn about something new!

                                                                                              Thanks for helping to open our eyes and tingle our taste buds! You are very refreshing in your approach with such great information!

                                                                                              1. re: HLing

                                                                                                Check out the selections of Stéphane from the Teamasters blog (http://teamasters.blogspot.com/ ). He will email you a price list if you're interested; I haven't got my teas from him yet, but his teas come well recommended, and he is in Taiwan, so he has a lot of high mountain teas. He will also sell you a sampler of 3 different high mountain teas to try out. The teas are shipped straight from Taiwan.

                                                                                                Prices are high-ish.

                                                                                                1. re: will47

                                                                                                  will47 - I am very interested in this source for ordering Chinese tea from Taiwan, however, the link you have offered is not working for me. Could you rephrase it or suggest a different path to me? Thanks!

                                                                                                  1. re: will47

                                                                                                    Sorry - looks like the ")." got appended to the link. I edited the post, but in any event, it's http://teamasters.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                    He has a rough idea of his selection at:

                                                                                                    You can get a PDF of his price list by emailing him at stephane_erler at the domain yahoo dot com. He's a nice, helpful guy, tends to send samples and extra goodies along, and also sells teawares (teapots, gaiwans, pitchers, etc.).

                                                                                                    Stéphane is a French guy who studies with a Taiwanese tea master (Teaparker).

                                                                                                    For tea from the mainland, you might also check out Yunnan Sourcing LLC on Ebay ( http://stores.ebay.com/Yunnan-Sourcin... ). I haven't got my package from him yet after 6 weeks (should have done air-mail) - but most people report good service and speedy delivery.

                                                                                                    Other well known / reliable "direct from China" sources - Jing ( http://www.jingteashop.com/ ) and teaspring ( http://www.teaspring.com/ ).

                                                                                                    Hou De Asian Art in Houston has a good selection of Taiwanese oolongs, as well as a big selection of pu'erh and antique teapots (expensive) -- http://houdeasianart.com/

                                                                                                    They have some high mountain oolongs at:

                                                                                                    1. re: will47

                                                                                                      Oh, WOW! This looks like a list of the real pros, and it certainly elevates my "game." Thanks for all these sources to keep my habit alive and well! I will check them out, one-by-one, and I know this will keep me sipping for many years ahead!

                                                                                                      With the help of Google, I was able to email Stephane Erler; I am most anxious to hear from him. I do, however, thank you for all your help in directing me to him and to so many other great sources.

                                                                                                      1. re: liu

                                                                                                        Looks like you're in LA - if you are, you're welcome to come try some of the stuff I got from him sometime if you want (you can email me at bogus -- at veggiechinese dot net). I just got a package from him today with some Dong Ding oolong, the "Lily Flower" Baozhong, various high elevation samples, plus some extra little samples.

                                                                                                        So far just cracked open the Baozhong; the aroma is /very/ floral (maybe a bit too much so for my taste).

                                                                                                        1. re: will47

                                                                                                          Hey, will47 -- I'm glad that your tea finally arrived; I know how long a wait for tea can be!

                                                                                                          You are extremely generous in your offer for me to try your "stuff" that you just "cracked" open -- oh, how addicted we are! But I have so many new bags of my own to try, I will wait until I hear from The Tea Master on email and order in due time. I so very much appreciate your expert guidance!

                                                                                                          On another matter that you have just mentioned: isn't it frustrating when you first open the tea sack and take that first whiff, the inhale that you dream about, only to find out that it just isn't what you like! Sometimes the aroma does not accurately reflect the taste, but often it is a major part of the entire experience.

                                                                                                          I just posted on the General Boards an inquiry about what to do with all the opened tea packets that I have of teas that I just don't LOVE! Once I decide that I don't like it, I have a hard time finishing the packet. Consequently, I have a lot of good loose-leaf tea that I just don't care for...what to do????? What do you do with those you don't LOVE?


                                                                                                      2. re: will47

                                                                                                        will47 - Stephane responded within hours of my inquiry. Thanks!

                                                                                                    2. re: HLing

                                                                                                      Red Blossom Tea also appears to sell the tea utensils. They have a more expensive "mini" set which appears more suited for the tiny teapots


                                                                                                      For $28, you get base, ring funnel, tea scoop, tea rake, yixing tea pot spout cleaner and tongs.

                                                                                                      1. re: omotosando

                                                                                                        Thanks Gary Soup and Omotosando for the recs of Red Blossom Tea.

                                                                                                        Actually, I don't spend much money on tools if I don't have to. They gave me a set with the stuff I bought when I visited the Tea Mall in Zhengzhou city, Henan province in China.

                                                                                                        It is very difficult to spend $28 dollars on a set of tools when you've been to this massive tea mall, a huge area with about 40+ stores...ALL TEA and TEA stuff! If you've seen the actual price of things there, you'd understand. For example, a friend and i got a nice mid size tea tray for 25 rmb ($3 us dollars). Ten Ren sells something like that for $40 to $80.

                                                                                                        I can't justify spend that money when it can go toward tea leaves.

                                                                                                        Nevertheless, it's really neat to see so many tea websites popping up. It's taken a long time for tea to come to the foreground, but it's definitely happening. And the more we talk about it, complain about the lack of quality tea in restaurants and so forth, the quick the trend will change for the better!

                                                                                                        1. re: HLing

                                                                                                          I wasn't recommending RB for paraphernalia (all I need is a good heavy glass tumbler for my longjings and biluochuns, myself), but for two nice tea-savvy people to talk to and a source of good tea at a fair price. Oh yes, and a chance to put a bug in Peter Luong's ear about Xue Feng Teas prior to his upcoming swing through Fujian.

                                                                                                          1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                                                            Alright, Gary, I think I will write Peter Luong.

                                                                                                            Now why can't I get paid "swinging through Fujian" drinking tea?! (g)

                                                                                                            Half seriously, a lot of the teas I've tried, such as the over-priced and cloying Hong Kongnese Fuk Ming Tang's (not sure of the spelling) Shuixian made me wish the people picking the farms had my taste preferences. I've gotten the best tasting Mandarin Orchid (I think that's what they call it here) from a small shop in Guangdong province quite by chance for a really low price, (where their expensive stuff was actually pretty awful tasting), and then go and try the HK shops (there's FMT and then there's also Ming's ) and couldn't get anything as clean and simply good, and for a much higher price. Then there are the freshly trained sales/service people who rattles the memorized tea "facts" rather than speak from experience or the present situation.

                                                                                                            Ok, so now I'm just digressing to I know not where...

                                                                                                            1. re: HLing

                                                                                                              You might say Peter is paying himself to go (or we are paying for his tax write-off). Actually, it's his sister Alice who is the bigger high-mountain wulong buff. Peter makes sure the longjings are given their due too, which is why he's making a March trip.

                                                                                                2. I would go to www.artoftea.com. The people at Art of Tea are local. They directly import all of their tea hand blend when you order it and focus on organic teas. Plus they have some really funky and interesting teaware that they constantly seek out.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Teahound

                                                                                                    Teahound -- Anyone with "tea" in their handle is fine by me!

                                                                                                    The "artoftea" site is quite interesting, and you are quite right that they have some unusual teaware items. Thanks, and I have marked this source for my next order.

                                                                                                    I just received five Mariage Frere teas from Cultured Cup in Texas. It will be awhile until I taste my way through these, but I definitely will check back to Art of Tea in a few weeks.

                                                                                                    1. re: Teahound

                                                                                                      Art of Tea looks like an interesting place, but they really need to improve their website. For most of the teapots and some of the tea, you don't see the price until you put it in your shopping basket. Very annoying. With so many good places on the web to buy tea, why should I waste my time navigating their site?

                                                                                                    2. does anyone drink pur-eh tea? i have purchased two varieties of Rishi's from my local wegamns and whole foods and i goota say...i LOVE this tea.

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: spinach

                                                                                                        I had pur-eh tea from Rishi just this afternoon. I think it's a pretty good one. There are claims that pur-eh tea lowers cholesterol and aids in weight loss, but I think you have to drink an awful lot of it to get the effect. I'm not always in the mood for it. For some reason, I think of it only as an afternoon tea.

                                                                                                        1. re: spinach

                                                                                                          Have you tried the "Camel's Breath" tuocha (love the name!) from holy mountain?


                                                                                                          1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                                                            here's a shock, i never heard of it before,,,,but i am researching it. thanks for the link.

                                                                                                          2. re: spinach

                                                                                                            I drink some. It's a big and complicated world, and one that can get expensive pretty quickly. rec.food.drink.tea and the livejournal pu'erh tea community ( http://community.livejournal.com/puer... ) are two good places to start for more information. There's also a list of online merchants on a sidebar of the latter.

                                                                                                          3. I have a metal tea basket/strainer insert, that I don't like at all. It gives the tea a metallic taste! There is enough of a chemical reaction between the tea and the metal mesh to cause discoloration of the basket! Same for metal teaball strainers, etc.
                                                                                                            I can't find a stainless steel strainer that goes over the cup, which I want for traveling when I make tea in a hotel coffe maker and want to strain out the loose leaves.

                                                                                                            At home, it is strickly the Yixing teapot with the built in spout striner. All clay, no metal, and the tea is perfect. Incidently, I just replaced the full house water filter system and the water is better then any spring water and without a plastic bottle. No chlorine permited in touches our lips or skin!

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: nutrition

                                                                                                              I got a fine ceramic tea strainer + holder that's been really nice to use. I got it initially not for the strainer but for the shape and feel of the holder, which is in itself a cup. It somehow hold the temperature well, and is good for focussing the fragrance of the tea as you sip. This time while traveling I used the strainer and found it to be quite close to making tea with a yixing teapot.

                                                                                                              The strainer is in the shape of a funnel, except at the end it flattens out, and there is a small round fine mess strainer the size of a quarter. Since the body of the strainer is also this fine ceramic, when you pour hot water into it, as it sits over the cup it's still mostly housed inside the ceramic environment. It's a smart design that is also beautiful.

                                                                                                              I wish I knew how to get a picture to be available online. (quick lessons anyone?) It'd be a lot easier to show a picture than to talk about it.

                                                                                                              I got this for $15 from the place in Flushing, NY, the link is in the organized post below by Yayadave (way to go, Yayadave!) http://www.luhyutea.com/main.asp?page...
                                                                                                              although I didn't see it online. I got it while I was at the store, after drinking tea with them for 3.5 hours....The only thing written on it is Sanshe, and a logo of 3 blue short diagnal lines.

                                                                                                              Maybe I will call these people and find out more...

                                                                                                              1. re: HLing

                                                                                                                I think I just figured out how to make the photo of the strainer available...bear with me and try this.


                                                                                                                oh, duh, and i just saw the "ATTACH PHOTO" option on chowhound...I'll use that if the picasaweb doesn't work.

                                                                                                                1. re: HLing

                                                                                                                  Your link works perfectly, and I thank you for the pics.

                                                                                                                  I have never seen anything like this, and wherever I am, I always check-out the tea/tea-stuff areas.

                                                                                                                  Please do continue to share all your tea info with us...always fascinating! I think I need a tea kitchen in my house!

                                                                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                                                                    You LA hounds all make such good hosts with your positive feedback and social grace...Y'all are making me post too much!

                                                                                                                    There are tea stuff out there that have not been picked up by the international tea craze. I've been lucky to be at the right place at the right time to have picked up stuff that looked cool to me that either hasn't caught on, or isn't appreciated by the mass majority.

                                                                                                                    Speaking of tea kitchen..when I went to that tea Mall in Zhengzhou I saw some mobile wooden table/cart with the huge teatray built into the table top, and a hose attached to let the teapot, teacup rinse water run to a bucket. Complete with storage, cabinet, drawers..and the likes. I wonder how many years it will take to be able to buy one at, say, Bed, Bath and Beyond....

                                                                                                                    Any willing and able carpenters, gong fu tea drinker out there?

                                                                                                                    1. re: HLing

                                                                                                                      Oh, you have tickled my imagination so! A mobile tea kitchen - how ingenious! And I am laughing at your BB&B comment!

                                                                                                                      Really, it would be nice to have all our tea "stuffs" contained in one self-sufficient area, like a rolling tea kitchen.

                                                                                                                      BUT -- just like they have coffee carts/vendors outside every office building in this city, why not a fine TEA cart? I know most of these carts sell something called "tea," but why not a real, specialty, high-quality tea? How nice it would be -- d-r-e-a-m-i-n-g -- to be able to get a cup of great tea on the run, on the street with one of these mobile carts.

                                                                                                              1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                yayadave - Wow! Thanks for organizing all this information and placing it neatly in one, contained box! I really appreciate your efforts here!

                                                                                                                  1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                    Here is one more I just found


                                                                                                                    It is a tea blog and according to the website, on Feb 1st they will start selling tea and teaware.

                                                                                                                  2. Today, browsing through the kitchenware stuff at my favorite deep discount emporium (Ross "Dress for Less") I spotted a couple of plastic travel mugs made by Bodum. One is just a tall, clear plastic tumbler-shaped cylinder with a screw-on lid that has a flip-up spout cover like those found on Peet's or Starbucks commute mugs; this works just fine for my dancin' longjing tea leaves. The other one was similar, but had a plunger built into the lid and is designed to be a traveling French press. This might be useful for someone who doesn't decant (like me) but wants to keep the leaves at bay.

                                                                                                                    I should mention that unlike HLing, I'm less wary of my water or tea coming in touch with a modern plastic than with stainless steel, and it's likely Bodum specified the best plastic composition for the purpose.

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                                                                      This is a good "other use" application for the simple travel mug.

                                                                                                                      Gary, do you leave the "dancin' longjing tea leaves" in the mug while you sip, or do you brew and strain, and then drink? I ask because there are some teas that I do this with because they don't seem to make the tea bitter in a long steep, while others I feel compelled to remove quickly or they "poison" the tea.

                                                                                                                      Different plastics seem to emit different odors and tastes; I am very sensitive to it. The ingenuiTEA pot that I just purchased from Gong Fu has no off-tastes or odors, but I haven't yet found a travel mug that doesn't have a flavor of its own. If it's Bodum, however, I would like to try it. Thanks for this great idea!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                                                                        Hello, Gary! Today I checked out your Ross Bodum finds. Indeed, the Bodum travel mug with the French press inside appears to be good for tea as well. However, I think one would have to remove the leaves after steeping because the tea would become bitter in the process of drinking, no?

                                                                                                                        If you use it as a kettle and then pour it into another cup it might work well. However, that seems like a lot of liquid transfer that defeats the purpose of the traveling mug. I am just not sure how this would best serve us??????

                                                                                                                        1. re: liu

                                                                                                                          Liu, I never decant my tea, just infuse it in the glass. Even middling grade Longjing (say anything harvested by early May) doesn't get noticeably bitter. I don't mind chewing on an occasional leaf either, so I've been trying out the plain tumbler verstion and it works pretty well for me. I bought one of the press version too, and I'm thinking of using it to make iced tea with real green tea when warmer weather comes. If that turns out well, I just might buy a bigger French press.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                                                                            And I just keep learning! I just ASSUMED that if the leaves "over" steeped, they would get bitter, but the truth is that I have had some teas that really don't threaten bitterness, no matter how long they remain in the water. So you are telling me that some teas just don't go to bitter, while others do -- depends on the specific tea?

                                                                                                                            And now that I realize this, the French press tumbler is looking better; I love your idea of iced green tea! I think the price was just about at $5...nothing to lose! Have you noticed any odd flavors resulting from the hot water in the plastic? And does the flip-top work well with no leakage?


                                                                                                                      2. I use the mesh basket every single day, and it is great. But after reading this long thread, I think I'll convert to the t-sock.

                                                                                                                        - Sean

                                                                                                                        1. On a slight digression, just wanted to link to a small tasting we had last weekend... I think some of the folks following this thread might be interested. Phyll, a local tea enthusiast with a weblog put the whole thing up on his site:


                                                                                                                          For now, we're not really setup to have too many people come, but we're hoping to do some slightly larger tasting events in the spring.

                                                                                                                          1. looks like fun, will47! Just curious, what water was used for this event?

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: HLing

                                                                                                                              This time around we just used Danica's filtered tap water.

                                                                                                                              I personally usually use some sort of spring water with low total dissolved solids - Crystal Geyser, Arrowhead, or sometimes Volvic.... sometimes Brita water for cleaning or if I run out of bottled.

                                                                                                                            2. tea blossom - Regarding placing the loose tea directly in the teapot, I think you must be right because this is the method most commonly used in Chinese restaurants, as far as I can determine.
                                                                                                                              There are teapots that I have seen with a ceramic or mesh strainer built in just inside the spout where it connect to the body, so that no other mechanism need be used; one can then pour with no concern.
                                                                                                                              Thanks for the link to tea blossom; I look forward to taking a peek at their tea items.

                                                                                                                              1. A small teapot with a built in strainer in the spout will be much easier and more enjoyable to use. All you have to do is keep adding water for each cup or mug for multiple infusions. The handmade Xing (sp) is not only a work of art, but the best way to make a most flavorable tea. My 13oz pot looks like a brown softball and is only rinsed in running water and has never had soap used on it. So I make tea by the mug and not the small cups.
                                                                                                                                The whole purpose of switching from addicting coffee to GREEN, ROOIBOS (red), Oolong, and WHITE teas to start with is for improved health and greater energy without caffeine, They will reduce wrinkling with improved circulation and has a slimming effect on that waistline. The fats in the arteries/heart will be reduced for better circulation and function. Honey is concentrated sugar and unnecessary calories in the above teas. Most people use TOO much for a cup and may even induce Hypoglycemia. It is just another addiction and a learned habit.
                                                                                                                                I am grateful to have broken the coffee caffeine addiction, and find much more energy with green teas. There is no letdown like with drinking coffee. Notice how addicted so many have become to Charbuck's Coffee?

                                                                                                                                1. check out ebay store dragon tea house-they have good glassware and shipping is free.
                                                                                                                                  i have purchased seral items and none have arrived damaged