It’s been more than a week and half since I got to Shanghai, and yet I still haven’t properly brewed tea at home. I have a tea tray, a water heating unit, and a gaiwan now, but I lack a cup and perhaps a fairness cup.
I finally opted for the cheapest gaiwans there are. Most of the gaiwans available here are very nice Jingdezhen ones. They are those hand painted ones (or allegedly hand-painted ones anyway) and they look quite nice. For a while I was rather tempted to buy one here, but if I do, it would have to be brought back as I don’t want to leave it here. With this 5 RMB gaiwan… I feel no qualms about just leaving it here so whenever I come, I’ll have a set to use.
The same problem is there for cups, and to an even greater extent, the fairness cup. The issue is that with a cheap fairness cup (the cheapest I’ve seen is around 10 RMB)is that the pouring is poor. The spout is shaped like a semi-circle, and those generally pour very poorly, with the thing dripping all over while you try to pour. Ideally, the spout should be long and tapered. The fairness cups that have that nice spout, however, are expensive and generally well decorated. It seems rather stupid to buy an expensive fairness cup to go with the dirt cheap gaiwan (and the dirt cheap tea tray). It just doesn’t match.
The same is true for teacups. I can buy the cheapest thing, but they don’t look so nice. Anything slightly nicer is expensive. I also want one where all the contents of the gaiwan will fit in one cup, eliminating the fairness cup all together (unless I’m serving guests), so that limits my choices. There just isn’t much middle ground here, as opposed to Beijing. Mind you, even the expensive stuff clock in at under 100 RMB, but when a gaiwan can be had for 5…. it seems like a lot.
What to do, what to do??