Although I’ve heard tons of interesting theories as to which clay types/teapot shapes are best for what tea, some of which I agree with; however, I think the only postulate in this process is testing a pot out with different types of tea. The method I use originated from the folks over at The Tea Gallery, which I heard second-hand somewhere
- Pre-heat a yixing teapot (or two, if you’re doing a triple comparison) to account for any temperature differences.
- Brew 3 infusions gong fu style (I usually brew like six so I can do more comparisons if needed) using a gaiwan
- Pour the tea into the yixing teapot(s), removing the pre-heated water of course, and save some of the original to serve as a “control” (this isn’t exactly a control, but it’s the most neutral).
- After leaving the tea in the yixing teapot(s) for about a minute or so, and pour it into separate fair cups.
- Taste each one, and compare. I personally like to drink some water between each sample to clear the taste in my mouth.
So instead of enjoying my tea, I am doing this taste pretty much every day, trying to see which teapot is better for which tea. My friend WY let me borrow this shui ping hu.
there's something sexy about the water level-ness of shui ping
He’s pretty certain that it’s a fake, but if it is it’s a pretty good one. It has a pretty nice pour, and it even has good floating balance on water. The clay seems pretty high-fired, maybe some kind of Hong Ni IMO. The walls are medium-thick, and it seems pretty durable.
So maybe not completely balanced on water, but still better than sinking.
I thought it would go well with lighter high mountain balled Oolong, because the less-porous clay would protect the aroma better. Comparing with a gaiwan, the aroma seemed a little better, but what I noticed the most was the improved mouth-feel coming from the yixing. It’s pretty hard to differentiate between the two; it’s enough for me to only say which one is better. If you ask me why, I’d probably be a little hard-pressed.
Even though it did well with greener oolong, I thought the thicker walls might make it suitable for medium roasted oolong or lighter roasted Wuyi. For medium-roasted oolong I compared between the Hong Ni, a gaiwan and a Lin’s Purion, while for the lighter roasted Wuyi I compared between the Hong Ni, a Zi Ni and a Gaiwan. The Hong Ni failed all of these tests, so I think I’m pretty set on dedicating this to greener oolong, until I find my own, “authentic” Zhu Ni pot for green oolong and I can return this back to WY.
Of course, this presents a conundrum for my most recent acquisition, a 130 ml Hong-Ni/Zhu Ni mixture (I think), very thin and high fired shui ping from The Tea Gallery. It hasn’t arrived yet, but hopefully it’ll be here by Saturday…just in time for extensive tests. I had bought this pot with the expectation of using it with lighter roasted Wuyi, but judging from the results from WY’s shui ping, the results may not be favorable.
The Wuyi I used for the Hong Ni was more of a medium roast, but I ordered some of The Tea Gallery’s Bai Ji Guan (quite possibly one of my favorite Wuyi) so hopefully it’ll work out. If not, I might just dedicate this pot to greener oolong, and just stick to my Zi Ni pot for all my Wuyi, heavy to light roasted. (There aren’t too many light roasted Wuyi, are there? I wonder if it’s even worth it to dedicate a separate pot to it).
Anyway, the testing continues…