|Some of my best-loved tea items never appear online|
|Basic Puerh Pick from Yunnan Sourcing.|
Next, here is a pair of brass tea clamps, or gongfu tweezers.
|Brass tea clamps, Verdant Tea|
Winston's kitten paws on the table show why I need these.
The purpose of these clamps is for picking up small tasting cups and rinsing them with hot water without needing fingers. But I use this set of clamps for so many things. I can pick up tea leaves and chunks from a cake and put them in a small teapot. I can pick out a stick or stray debris in my teacup without using my fingers. I can deftly pick up and turn over wet leaves in a teapot or gaiwan. I can stir a tightly compressed tea ball in boiling hot water. I can dunk and retrieve a tea bag that doesn’t have a string attached. All these functions are even more important now for my tea tweezers because I’m still feeding my kitten wet food by hand. I wash my hands really well after doing this, but I feel like my fingers must have cat food germs that I don’t want on, or in, my tea. I suppose I could wear cotton gloves for tea, but I have my tweezers instead.
Another necessary utensil for me is a tea strainer. Some people don’t use strainers. As a blogger, however, I want to use a strainer so people can see the clarity of a tea. Clarity is one factor that determines the quality of a sheng leaf and the fermentation of shou, and most readers likely want to see the brew well-strained of anything that might unnecessarily cloud the cup. I have also learned a lot from straining my tea. I check a fine mesh strainer for char or tea leaf fuzz and rinse the strainer after every pour. I notice how many steepings a tea needs to clear of char, and how much tea dust I created when breaking off the leaves. I can determine whether a tea is sour because of char. Most sheng has a tiny bit of char, but a lot of char means sour or smoky tea that is an issue for my drier storage.
|Woven bamboo strainers, Verdant Tea|
|Wenge Wood teapot brush, EBay|
And more kitten paws shoo-ed but still showing.
Here is a tea cup that I use often that never appears in my blog or in other tea photos. You can see right away why not.
|Porcelain tenmoku glaze tea cup|
by Shawn McGuire of Greenwood Studios, Etsy
My last “must-have” is new this year, a tea pillow by Mirka Randová. This is the sort of purchase that I thought, “why did I need to have this?” and the thought turned into “why didn’t I buy one of these sooner?”
|Stoneware tea pillow by Mirka Randová @potsandtea|
Hopefully you enjoyed seeing a few of the utensils I use regularly. I’m sure we all go through phases when we use some items a great deal in our tea ceremony. Then we move on to new items as the old ones might need replacing or as our needs change.