Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Odd (Tea)Pot Out

As much as I've learned over the past five years or so, the only thing that's really stuck with me is the 'beginner's mind' concept that is tossed around by various tea people.  It's also known as Shoshin, and as much as I don't like referring to religion on my blog, I'll have to mention it here.  Wikipedia states Shoshin as:
 "...having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts."

Though I do not practice Buddhism or any Martial Art, I believe that the concept of Shoshin is aptly suited when practicing our craft/art, as well as other related topics, such as shopping for teaware.  I've heard and read some statements such as "Good teapots have a minimum price tag of 100 Dollars, if not more." and "Cheap/Inexpensive teapots are almost always a waste of time."

Ok, so I listened to arguments that are for and against different ways of thinking.  I've purchased expensive teapots, and I've bought inexpensive teapots as well.  Here's the latest inexpensive pot:

Jiang Po Ni - Gao Deng Shape


I acquired this teapot from Chawangshop.com, where they have a multitude of teas that are a little different than what you would find at a more mainstream website.  They sell some interesting hei cha from all over the place, and they have been nice to me when I've had to contact them via email.  This little pot was under 40 bucks, and having the Shoshin ideal flying around in my head, I decided to remove all preconceived notions about price and quality and gave it a shot. 

A few weeks later, it was at my doorstep, and I set out to clean it with warm/hot water and a toothbrush that's only used for the inside of new pots.  There was no heavy clay smell and it didn't seem to be underfired - in fact the body rang very clearly when i tapped it with the edge of my fingernail. It's obviously not handmade - that isn't a big deal to me, given how inexpensive it is.

Since then I've tried it with every type and subtype of tea that I have, only to have it completely rob the flavour, mouthfeel, everything, from the tea.  

I've thought about giving it a seasoning not terribly dissimilar to what I wrote about last time, but the clay is very thin and theres no reason to risk chipping or breaking it.  Until then, while I'm glad that I was able to use the Shoshin idea, I regret to say that it didn't pan out too well in the end.  Until I figure out what to do with this pretty, but somewhat useless pot, I'm going to have to just let it look pretty off to the side somewhere.

See ya soon.


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