Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Mysterious Elephant Yixing Pot Of Joy

How has everyone's Sunday been? Mine has been pretty decent, got a new set of sound blocking super-bass ear buds, so the process of slowly deafening myself with loud music is going along nicely. Also spent a little money on a new nose piercing kit, this will be the third time I have pierced my nose, the first time when I was a dumb teenager using a safety pin (so dumb! why did I do so many piercings like that, ugh) second in my mid-twenties, and now as soon as the kit arrives a third time in my late twenties. I am going hoop instead of stud this time around in hopes that it won't get stuck in my hair. Now that I am thinking about it, I need a new eyebrow ring too, I have been wearing the same one for like three years, what a fashion faux pas!
Fresh out of its wrapping, pre-bath
But enough about my various piercing fun, it is time for some funky tea gear chatting! So, this teapot is a source of joy, frustration, and mystery to me, bought as a combo gift (by combo I mean Sheena gave me a gift certificate and my mom paid the rest, knowing how I have been eyeballing this teapot since I arrived in PA) for my most recent birthday from the shop One Good Woman, a combo tea and coffee shop located in the town of Camp Hill. Let's start with the mystery part of this teapot, I know nothing about it other than it looks freaking cool. It came with a label of Oolong Teapot and a $40, and that is all the info the shop could give me, they didn't even have the original box for it anymore, and with the label being super faded I would not be surprised if it had been sitting on the shelves for a while (waiting for me, obviously.) I am not even sure this counts as a Yixing, it could be a clay pot very artistically done. Or it could be a Duan Ni, which is Zhu Ni (the red clay like my teapot devoted to Yancha is made from) mixed with other stones and minerals giving it a really massive color range.
Yep, there is a teapot in there

The clay used to make my teapot is really earthy, for lack of a better term, giving a similar apperance to what the interwebs calls Sesame (Zima) Duan Ni (in comparison with the much rarer Ben Shan Lu Ni type of Duan Ni) making it rougher in texture, duller in color, with black and red particles in it...and using it to brew Pu Erh in will cause the color to take on a rust tone. Guess what tea I seasoned this teapot for, yep, Shou Pu Erh all the way. I noticed the color intensity after a many hour soak, I was expecting the change to be more gradual, but this is perfectly fine by me.
Wow, you are so much darker!

Now, about that frustration part. This teapot was designed with form over function in mind I think, and being a complete derp I did not think about that before I fell in love with it. As soon as I got it home I tested its pour, I needed to make sure my plan of going for a Pu Erh was a good call, and if I was going to go Sheng or Shou. So I filled it up, poured...and promptly made a mess, turns out since the spout opening is higher than the top of the teapot, when I have it completely vertical to pour, it also goes out the lid. Hmmm, said I, and with a little experimenting realized I need to either not fill it entirely, or pour at an angle making for a slightly slower pour. That took Sheng out for me, which is fine, I was hoping to go Shou anyway. Also there is the way to hold the teapot, definitely a two hander (unless you have massive huge hands, or just not super tiny) because the set up of the ears/handles is certainly not normal. That part is not so much frustrating just a bit tricky at first to figure out.
Nicely signed 
The joy, by this point, should be pretty obvious. I wish I knew more about the teapot, but I am so far from an expert on the incredibly massive world of Yixing. This teapot just reminds me that I have not even really scratched the surface with regards to knowledge, history, and experience, it is amazing! After finding the best method for using this pot and playing with it, I can safely say the elephant in the room is very welcome.

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