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A Tea Thread


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No, not the "dishing the dirt" kind of tea. Regular tea that we drink. We have lots of Tarot threads, lots of threads where people talk about themselves ("me" threads), but it occurs to me that I don't recall seeing any tea threads here. So here it is: a thread for different kinds of tea, tea accessories, things you can steep that you might not normally think of as tea, medicinal teas,  (Obligatory disclaimer: for serious and potentially serious conditions, seek the advice of a qualified physician) tea customs and lore, tea leaf reading and tea houses, dying things with tea, tea brewing techniques, tea in recipes for food, anything tea, tea, tea.

I'll start. There's a little Chinese creature you can get called a tea pet. It's a kind of mascot you keep on the tray, usually an animal, child, or mythical creature and often considered lucky. There's lucky three-legged frogs, laughing Buddhas, Pi Xius, dragons, etc. They range from cute to fierce looking, and they're made out of clay, so they're kind of absorbent. The idea is that you nourish them by pouring a little tea on them, and in time they develop a glossy patina and smell like tea. (Look for a gongfu (sp?) tea tray, it's slotted and the excess tea will run into a reservoir.) Some people like to discard the whole first wash.

 

Here's a bat:

 

00.jpg.3fbcbe43eab5986fb76462b1d5cc5d9a.jpg

 

But the most famous of these is Pee Pee Boy, who functions as a thermometer to tell you if your water is hot enough to make tea. Here he is, along with how to get him to work and the science behind it. Mildly NSFW. 😁

 

 

 

ETA: Somebody did an actual Pee Pee Boy study:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4949419/

"The study ends by considering the possibility that ceramic jetting artifacts like the pee-pee boy might have been the first thermometers known to mankind, before Galileo Galilei’s thermoscope."

Edited by katrinka
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😂🤣😂🤣 Pee pee boy is awesome! I've never seen or heard about tea pets before but I think they're a fantastic idea! 😁

 

Have you heard of blooming tea? They're tea balls you drop into hot water (preferably in a glass vessel so you can see) and they blosson into a really cool looking flower. I only discovered them yesterday myself. It's a pity I don't really grink green tea! If I could figure out how to add a video of it from my phone I would! 

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Is blooming tea like chrysanthemum tea, dried flowers that you steep?

00.jpg.052a42915bf65bb78a4e4e40d14c8e2d.jpg

 

I love chrysanthemum tea. It's one of the few Chinese teas I've encountered that's often served cold and sweet.
 

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48 minutes ago, katrinka said:

Is blooming tea like chrysanthemum tea, dried flowers that you steep?

Not really. They are balls of tea leaves wrapped around a flower, which gradually unfold when steeped.

 

 

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That's gorgeous. I have a clear borosilicate pitcher that I use for cold brewing sweet tea, but I think it could handle hot water. Thanks!

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Borosilicate glass should be fine for hot water.

These kinds of tea balls are typically brewed in glass teapots to allow one to see the leaves and flowers in full expansion, although some species of large glass can also be used, as the pictures show. The balls are about the size of a chestnut, and can expand quite considerably.

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This makes people want to drink tea!

I'm wild about the bat, I recognize it, and near a teapot with chrysanthemum, this must be an experience!

I can imagine myself putting with nonchalance this Pee Pee Boy in the water and saying I must wait because it's really too soon (or something like that) 😁

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Thanks @_R_ that's exactly what I meant! 😊

 

I did breeze past a dandelion version you can make yourself too. Not sure that I've got the patience to give it a go though. 

 

Lately my favourite tea has been peppermint with a little pinch of chilli. I love the hot cold combo! And I'm always a sucker for a proper marsala chair especially if it have ginger and/or black pepper in it 😁

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mmmmmm I love the dark half of the year for teas! I think I'm well stocked up with a nice warming Chai tea and some lovely red berry mix. also honey. 

10 hours ago, TheFeeLion said:

peppermint with a little pinch of chilli

ooooh I will look out for that. I have a nice peppermint and chocolate one, from IKEA actually, and it is very nice.

 

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If you don't see it anyplace, you can always add a pinch to regular peppermint tea.
When we get actual cold weather (rare here, but it happens) I like to brew tea with ginger slices, cloves and cinnamon. When you come in from the cold and rain all shaky and chattery, it gets rid of the chill like that *snaps fingers* And it's fun playing with kitchen spices. 😁

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That's exactly what I do 😊 I have a little single cup teapot that I use for tea (unless I have teabags) and my peppermint tea is loose leaf so when I make it I just add a pinch of chilli to the pot. 

 

Ooo that sounds good @katrinkaI might have to try that combo myself

 

I'm also a fan of rooibus tea it makes a great spiced tea too with the addition of a few spices. 

 

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1 hour ago, TheFeeLion said:

That's exactly what I do 😊 I have a little single cup teapot that I use for tea (unless I have teabags) and my peppermint tea is loose leaf so when I make it I just add a pinch of chilli to the pot. 


Little teapots are perfection! I have one of those Japanese iron ones with a strainer. It makes a little more than a cup, though. If I just want a single fresh cup at a time, I like using this:

 

00.thumb.jpg.0c0595338408bbb4a2def7060df94011.jpg

 

I just snapped that photo, I'm using it now so it's got a little residue on it. Ti Guanyin (Kuan Yin tea), a nice oolong.
When I was a kid, my grandmother had a metal pitcher that she kept icewater in. For some reason, water from that pitcher tasted wetter than regular water. I've tried to replicate it with a pewter pitcher but it didn't work. Grandmothers are magic, lol. But I've noticed that a good quality Ti Guanyin has a similar "wetter than water" taste, without the metallic flavor. The one I'm using is called 1725. It comes in a little red tin of individually wrapped packets of loose tea. The tiniest pinch will expand and almost fill the strainer, and I can get 5-7 good washes out of it. Tea all day. 🥰
 

1 hour ago, TheFeeLion said:

I'm also a fan of rooibus tea it makes a great spiced tea too with the addition of a few spices.

 

Yes!

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Right now I'm enjoying a cup of Earl Grey from an oversized Starbucks Mug. 🤣 Tres elegante. 

I do have a special tea pot set tucked away (too well tucked to pull out for a photo unfortunately). It's made from Muyu stone, which is said to be a very old stone that imparts minerals into the tea making it 'healthier'. I haven't been able to find much information on it from a geological point of view - or even been able to find a definitive translation to work with. True or not, it's a nice story and a lovely souvenir from our trip to Beijing years ago. It's quite simple, brown, with small matching cups and a tray.

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8 hours ago, Grace said:

Right now I'm enjoying a cup of Earl Grey from an oversized Starbucks Mug. 🤣 Tres elegante. 

I do have a special tea pot set tucked away (too well tucked to pull out for a photo unfortunately). It's made from Muyu stone, which is said to be a very old stone that imparts minerals into the tea making it 'healthier'. I haven't been able to find much information on it from a geological point of view - or even been able to find a definitive translation to work with. True or not, it's a nice story and a lovely souvenir from our trip to Beijing years ago. It's quite simple, brown, with small matching cups and a tray.

 

That's one I'd never heard of! At first I thought you might be talking about yixing clay, but no....apparently Muyu is a marine deposit and really does leach minerals into the water, so there may actually be some health benefits -

https://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?t=12042

(But I couldn't find anything geological either, obviously. Lol.)
 

Have you used it much, experimented with it? One poster said it makes water smell like "rainwater and rocks' - that could be lovely with a nice Pu Ehr. 😃

 

2 hours ago, TheFeeLion said:

Is that the strainer off to the side that sits in the cup @katrinka?

 

Yes, it is! It's in four parts: Cup, lid, strainer and saucer.

 

Quote

Here's my little teapot, it's nothing fancy but it does the trick and it's the perfect size for my preferred teacup 😊

 

It may not be fancy, but there's a certain beauty to form following function. And I like the little thumb tab!

Edited by katrinka
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25 minutes ago, katrinka said:

Have you used it much, experimented with it? One poster said it makes water smell like "rainwater and rocks' - that could be lovely with a nice Pu Ehr. 😃

Pu Ehr would be lovely. I drank Jasmine from it mostly from memory. It does give it a slightly rocky quality, though it was subtle. I will have to pull it out this weekend and experiment with just hot water and see what it's like. I will report back my findings!! 

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timtoldrum
On 9/22/2020 at 1:35 AM, katrinka said:

I'll start. There's a little Chinese creature you can get called a tea pet. It's a kind of mascot you keep on the tray, usually an animal, child, or mythical creature and often considered lucky. There's lucky three-legged frogs, laughing Buddhas, Pi Xius, dragons, etc. They range from cute to fierce looking, and they're made out of clay, so they're kind of absorbent. The idea is that you nourish them by pouring a little tea on them, and in time they develop a glossy patina and smell like tea. (Look for a gongfu (sp?) tea tray, it's slotted and the excess tea will run into a reservoir.) Some people like to discard the whole first wash.

 

Here's a bat:

 

00.jpg.3fbcbe43eab5986fb76462b1d5cc5d9a.jpg

 

But the most famous of these is Pee Pee Boy, who functions as a thermometer to tell you if your water is hot enough to make tea. Here he is, along with how to get him to work and the science behind it. Mildly NSFW. 😁

 

 

 

ETA: Somebody did an actual Pee Pee Boy study:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4949419/

"The study ends by considering the possibility that ceramic jetting artifacts like the pee-pee boy might have been the first thermometers known to mankind, before Galileo Galilei’s thermoscope."

That is fascinating.

 

Generally, I drink more tea at work and coffee at home. So since I’ve have been off the ibric has taken quite a hit.  
 

Currently I am using these blends. The Lady Grey Orangery and Rose Garden are my present favourites. They are nothing terribly fancy, but are nice. 

DE5F9D4C-C2E3-4C87-BF38-C3B5DC382A89.jpeg

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I drink coffee in the morning, and tea all day. This is what I usually have, a type of red tea that is not too roasted nor too fermented, but is heavily smoked instead, all by hand. (I used this type of glass teapot, but poured the tea into a beaker to try to better catch the colour).

 

Tea.thumb.jpg.d808c31048dac70715ea868aabbbaeb7.jpg

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timtoldrum
On 9/28/2020 at 7:15 AM, _R_ said:

I drink coffee in the morning, and tea all day. This is what I usually have, a type of red tea that is not too roasted nor too fermented, but is heavily smoked instead, all by hand. (I used this type of glass teapot, but poured the tea into a beaker to try to better catch the colour).

 

Tea.thumb.jpg.d808c31048dac70715ea868aabbbaeb7.jpg

The colour is beautiful. 

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Finally had a chance to grab the tea pot I mentioned made from the Muyu or Wood fish stone. I wanted to test out the mineral taste again, and this time poured boiling water in the pot without any tea - to get the full effect of the stone. As is typical, I poured the water and forgot about it till the water was already cold - probably a few hours. But the taste of the water was unmistakeably changed. We couldn't agree if it tasted more like wood or stone... till my husband pointed out that it is reminiscent of strong mineral water that has been aged in a barrel 🤣... kind of like whiskey, except nothing like whiskey. Anyway, it was a fun little experiment. It's not as ornate as the other Muyu pots, but I kind of liked that about it. 

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I also found a little frog I had forgotten all about - it changes colour when the water is hot enough... or maybe when the water is too hot??? I no longer remember, but I probably bought it because I have a thing for frogs. I think they are my spirit animal. There is even a little one carved out for the tea pot lid handle, sitting on a lily-pad. 
 

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2 hours ago, katrinka said:

Ah, a color changing tea pet! And the legendary 3-legged frog, no less. He's said to bring money, if you place him correctly. 🙂

Well then I've clearly been doing something wrong.... ah yes... he's been stashed in a cupboard in the kitchen. I shall have to remedy this!

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After looking at all those tea pets, I broke down and got one:

teapet.thumb.jpg.6ccd32b24533a505e2de979c4e383266.jpg

 

That's a Pixiu on a Ru Yi, so two kinds of luck. 😁 (And no, he doesn't pee.)
I just "fed" him for the first time. I used a yixing brush to coat him evenly with tea. But the brush sheds, as you can see from the photo if you look closely. I'm going to have to use a different brush. But in the meantime, I'm glad I don't have a yixing pot at present, because I'd be picking brush hairs out of my tea.

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