Wednesday, January 3, 2018

My Teapot is Cooler Than Yours

I promised myself, no more teaware, I do not need any more, in fact I have way more than I need and I am going to absolutely hate life when I have to move in a few months. Of course this has not stopped me from procuring more since I made that incredibly silly promise to myself (that no one believed) including the most ridiculous tea set, the pot of which I am looking at today. I am not kidding when I say it is cooler than yours, it is certainly cooler than all my other teapots.

Presenting the tea set I spent far too much money on while on my honeymoon in Madison! It was picked up at a gemstone store (so not a specialized teapot dealer, just FYI) hiding in the back of the 'expensive stuff' cabinet that I had no business looking into. I came for fossils and left with one...and a tea set carved from Chrysanthemum Stone. I am still embarrassed by what I paid for it, I am an avid bargain hunter (my thriftstore adventures are somewhat famous) and I am very frugal, but figured my honeymoon was a perfect time to break out my comfort zone and spend *sigh* $150 on a teapot. Was it worth it? Hells to the Yeah!! Not only do I have an awesome memento of my honeymoon (unlike all the cheese which has been eaten) I have something truly unique and amazing.

Before I get into how well it does or does not perform, I should explain what Chrysanthemum stone is, and also complain...loudly...about how annoying it is to do scientific vs metaphysical research about rocks! I do not care what its 'healing properties' are, I want to know what my teapot is! Grumbling intensifies!! After a large amount of mostly fruitless research, Chrysanthemum stone mostly comes from the Hunan region of China, the radiating crystal structure that makes up the flower is Celestine (or replaced with dolomite, quartz, or calcite, but those tend to look different) The matrix is probably Permian era bog goop hardened into slate, schist or whatever. Apparently the matrix isn't important (grumbling continues) but it acts like a schist (soapstone comes to mind) and that is probably what it is. Bad news though, apparently the largest area that produces Chrysanthemum stone was turned into a dam and the other area is getting mined for the tasty Strontium found in Celestine, so this stuff is creeping up in price.

The teapot is like a nega-TARDIS, it is way smaller on the inside than first glance would leave one to believe, for a rough estimate my other teapot about this size holds about 250ml, where as this one holds roughly 100ml, meaning the walls are THICK! This means that you absolutely have to pre-warm it, I loathe doing that (as I mentioned way back in the original Gongfoolery) I hate wasting precious water, doubly so now that I have switched to buying my fancy distilled water. But, if I don't preheat this pot I am going to get really rubbish tea, the walls of the pot are just that thick, though it does double as a really fancy long lasting hand-warmer once it has warmed up. That and the fact that the handle is a really awkward shape (being carved to look like a branch) are my only complaints from this teapot, it truly is a magnificent treasure that I find myself touching constantly because it has the best smooth texture.

You are probably wondering, how does its unique material affect the tea? Well good news, I tested that! Did a brief session side by side testing porcelain (hello mini gaiwan!) using Yunnan Sourcing's Premium AA Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, a tea I know very well  (I did a comparison blurb between their two ZSXZ here, for anyone curious about this tea) Yeah, there is a massive taste difference! The stone teapot gives the tea a slippery texture and rich mineral taste, reminding me of tea brewed with fresh spring water, you can taste the rocks and it is pretty great. Clearly I do not want this for all teas (or I would not have switched to distilled water and would be using spring water) but when I want to reminisce about being in a different place other than my tea desk while drinking tea it works wonders. Other than the taste of minerals and the slippery mouthfeel there is no difference to the actual flavors of the tea.

And so, that is why this unique artisan carved block of Chinese stone that is covered in auspicious Chrysanthemums, reminds me of my honeymoon, tastes like spring water, and feels like silk is cooler than your teapot. Think you have a cooler one? By all means show me, I love ogling teapots!! (just please don't link me to where to buy them, I do not need encouraging!)

1 comment:

  1. That is such a cool pot! Just think of the awesome honeymoon memories you'll be reminded of every time you use it :)