Sometimes, even the less glamorous of teas drunk in the most everyday of settings can work magic.
In this case, we’re talking about a very ordinary loose leaf shou Pu-erh, made in an unspectacular pot with the assistance of a paper tea filter bag.
I was taking a small post-lunch (beef, asparagus, and green pepper stir fry – leftovers again!) break, when quite out of nowhere, the thought occurred to me that what I really needed was a new tea bowl.
When brewing up gong-fu style in a gaiwan, I usually decant into a tea pitcher, and then serve up into a teacup. This works well when sharing tea, but thinking about it when flying solo a tea bowl roughly the same size as the gaiwan could replace both pitcher and cup.
This would give a simpler, more elegant steeping system, as well as one thing less to wash up at the end of the session.
“Strike while the iron is hot“, I said to myself, and duly hopped onto my bicycle, and pedalled off towards the city centre.
For reasons I can’t adequately explain I once again had the notion that the Swedish Salvation Army’s charity second-hand store (“Myrorna“) would have exactly what I was looking for. In the past I’ve learned to trust these hunches, especially when it comes to teaware.
Well, chalk another one up for tea-fuelled intuition. Once inside the store I went straight to the perfect artefact.
It was a gaiwan, minus the saucer and lid, but otherwise in excellent condition. The price sticker informed me that it could be mine in exchange for a mere 25 Swedish Crowns. Deal!
Now, I have to stress that I’m no ceramics expert, far from it, but the new gaiwan feels as though it’s fairly good quality. The way it handles in comparison to both the cheaper ones I have as well as the hand-made, more expensive one, not to mention the way it reacts to the light and so on, makes me think it’s kind of slightly above average.
After all that biking around I was getting quite thirsty, and so once I got home I began to heat water, and gave my new toy a good wash, rinse, and dry.
I decided that the inaugural session with the new bowl should be a Silver Needle one.
This turned out to be a smart move – I was able to get the feel for the new bowl with less than scorching hot water in it.
The bowl worked out very well, in fact – comfortable in the hands even when full, and with good heat handling characteristics.
Hopefully this is the start of a long lasting relationship, with many, many more tea sessions to come…