Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Rambling About Tea Pets

You all might have noticed that little frogs show up a lot with my tea reviews, these super cute little clay amphibians are Tea Pets. Tea pets are awesome, traditionally made from Yixing clay, these little (or big, depending) things are made to keep the tea drinker company. Like any friend who has tea with you, you give it a little bath of tea to 'raise' it, much like seasoning a beloved teapot. You know what, maybe just give your friends a cup, bathing them in tea could be a quick way to end said friendship.

Of course traditions are always changing, you can now get tea pets that change color when pouring hot water on them or little boys that pee. Apparently those are considered cute, but if I wanted a squirting tea pet, mine would be a spitting frog or something along those lines. I have always found the pee pee boy a little creepy.

If you are like me, you toss tradition out the window and decide that anything can be a tea pet, as long as it keeps you company while drinking your tea. I have my miniatures join me for tea quite often, the Dropzone Commander Prowlers like to ride on the frogs, and the Eldritch Demon (who is legally distinct from Cthulhu, we swear) has a great love for Shou Puerh.

But if you do want tradition, luckily there is a humongous army of tea pets out there to keep you company. You can delve into symbolism and have a Pi Xiu for protection and wealth, a koi for success in your endeavors, or you zodiac sign for extra luck.

Of course you can always go the frog route like me, good old Jin Chan, the three legged money frog. I saw the three legged frog holding a coin in plenty of Chinese restaurants and shops, but it wasn't until my late teenage years when I became obsessed with Feng Shui that I learned what it actually was. There are several legends around about Jin Chan, but my favorite is the one where Jin Chan was a demon vanquished by Lui Hai, to make amends for his ill deeds he pledged to help people. Of course he helps people by finding wealth for them, I certainly wouldn't say no to wealth, but mostly I keep my frogs (and my actual statue of Jin Chan) around because frogs make me immensely happy.

Just because I have a family of frogs does not mean my quest for tea pets is over! One day I hope to have an octopus, which is probably one of my favorite animals (rivaled only by snails, crows, and crabs) and one of Zhuge Liang, one of my favorite people from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Ok, he is just probably one of my historical figures and it is not fair to have Guan Yu represented and not Zhuge Liang.

So long story short, tea pets are awesome. Having a little friend to have tea with you is a treat, after a while you start to notice that they have their own personalities and names. So now you know who Roger, Wilco, Morse, Mayday, and SOS are! I am so glad that Crimson Lotus Tea had them, because they are perfect for my rather smallish tea area.

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