Tea Writings

A blog about tea from the desk of Cecilia Tan

Virtual Pot Hunting

November 06, 2009 By: ctan Category: Tea Musings

My favorite tea pot broke the other day. It was a white china pot, with a blue fish on the side. I was attempting to scrub it out by hand after it had gone through the top rack of the dishwasher. It slipped out of my wet hands and smashed in the sink. When I say smashed I mean the spout broke into about 12 pieces plus many slivers of smashage as small as grains of sand. In other words, it shattered a lot like glass, and the slivers were even sharp enough to cut, as my thumb discovered shortly thereafter. It’s not reparable. (The teapot, that is–my thumb turned out fine.)

This pot was bought in Chinatown for four dollars about 12-13 years ago, and over the past five years or so has been used pretty much every day. One impressive thing about the inside of the spout where it couldn’t be scrubbed–which I can see now that it’s smashed–is the coating of tea residue. Pitch black and the texture of sandpaper. Wow.

I’m not mourning the pot much, but its loss left me in need of a replacement. All the other pots I have are either Yixing clay, and so not appropriate for the flavored teas (because the porous clay picks up the flavors too easily), or iron, which are not as good for sitting on my desk as a porcelain one. Having an every day teapot that is dishwasher safe is also a plus.

I’ve recently been searching for the “blue fish” pattern that used to be so common in all the chinatown shops, but it seems to have disappeared. I have bowls, large and small, serving platters, and tea cups, all with that pattern, and I would like to replace some of the chipped pieces. But that pattern seems to have gone by the wayside in the stores.

So of course now that I was in need of a pot, I turned to searching the Internet for a possible replacement. You never know what you will find on the net, right? Here’s what my Google-fu pulled up.

First, here’s a cute one at CentralChef.com, an 8 piece set for a decent price! But I don’t need MORE cups. Also, 28 ounces is a little large to be my desktop teapot. The one I am replacing had a 16 ounce capacity. In a 28 ounce pot, the last ten ounces will be too cold to drink by the time I get down to them.

Here’s one from the same site that even has blue fish on it! Though not the same design. But it’s too small. 9 ounces isn’t enough. I need one that holds enough tea to get me through an hour at least.

Now here’s one that’s the right size, and blue and white porcelain will match the plethora of cups I still have. But $20 seems like a lot when I can probably find the same thing for half that or less in Chinatown.

Still working my way down the first page of Google results for “blue fish ceramic teapot” and voila! at EnjoyingTea.com I found one nearly identical to the one I broke!

Nearly identical as this one is 30 ounces. I am looking for its little brother, half this size.

Ubiquitous Amazon comes up in my next search, of course, not with the carp pattern, but the right size at least… (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000CFNQX/ref=asc_df_B0000CFNQX950430?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=dealt1-20&linkCode=asn&creative=380341&creativeASIN=B0000CFNQX), and just $11.99 with free shipping if I buy some other stuff to get my order up to $25. Hmm. But I’m leery of having a teapot shipped, and equally leery of a couple of Amazon’s business practices lately.

In the end, I gave up the Internet search and went over to China Fair, a local retail outlet maybe a mile from my house for a housewares wholesaler and discounter in New England. Need five dozen ramekins and a soda charger? This is the place.

I ended up coming home with two teapots, one 18 ounces, blue and white porcelain with chinese characters artistically calligraphed all over it, and this larger one (34 ounces) which I couldn’t get the image for. I’ll have to take a digital photo of it and post it later. (Both are in the dishwasher at the moment.)

I’m sure the tea will taste as good as always…

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