Friday, July 11, 2014

Teavivre: Hand-Made He Huan Yixing Zisha Teapot, A Tea Gear Review

For the first time in months I got to go to game night at my favorite gaming store. I had to stop going because I am allergic to the protein in male cat saliva, and they have the most adorably polydactyl (sadly not pterodactyl) shop cat. Being around it was making me really sick, after an hour or so I would end up having the worst flair up that left me feeling miserable for at least all of the next day. Thanks to my new medicine and a better inhaler, I can go back and have a blast! It was so good catching up with old friends and trying new games.

Not too long ago, Teavivre had an excellent review themed promotion/contest, of course I entered. Once the winners were revealed and my name showed up, I did a happy little dance, expected to have some tasty new tea. When it was revealed that I won the top prize a Hand Made He Huan Yixing Zisha Teapot, well, the amount of happy noises I made were so loud that I am pretty sure the entire neighborhood heard it. After many tense days stalking the mailbox, waiting for my new treasure to arrive, my waiting was over!

Once I unboxed the teapot from its velvet lined brocade box, the first thing I noticed is the size. It fits perfectly in the palm of my hand, which is a great size for gongfu tea. You do not want a teapot that is too big (unless you are serving a bunch of people) because the whole point of gongfu tea is having multiple steepings, it is about the journey of the leaf. If your teapot is too big, then you will be too full of tea after one or two steeps that you start to slosh if you try to drink more.  While enjoying the size, next I cannot help but admire the craftsmanship of the pot.
I attempted an artsy shot of pouring tea, I kinda failed at it
The pot is smooth and the color is beautiful. I go back and forth if I prefer the color of the red clay or the purple clay, they are both fantastic in their own way. I love the shape of this pot as well, I find the little up turned spout very adorable. While I was getting the teapot ready for seasoning I examined the pour and the lid. With a good yixing teapot you can hold your finger over the little vent hole in the lid and have no liquid pour out the spout, it creates a perfect seal. Also you should be able to have your teapot at a complete vertical angle and not have the lid go flying off. This beauty passed both those tests with flying colors.
So pretty sitting in the grass, I need a special cup to go with my special pot
I decided that this teapot would be perfect for my love of Wuyi Rock Teas (or Yancha if you are fancy) and seasoned it accordingly. I season mine a little differently than the various ways I have seen recommended, I mix a few methods and it seems to work for me. Of course I was super excited to try out my new teapot, and the experience was amazing. Usually with my Sea Dyke brand Shui Hsien I can get three good steeps out of it using my gaiwan before it just starts tasting watered down, with my new teapot I got an extra steep and each of them tasted more rich and floral than it usually tastes. This teapot is way out of my usual spending range, all my other yixing pots were gifts or a fantastic find at a thrift store. I certainly say if you can afford it, get one of these pots, it might take me quite literally years of saving money, but I think my next yixing teapot will be from Teavivre. Afterall, I still need at least one more, always just one more.

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