On this recent trip to Boston I made tea twice at somebody else’s place, and at both places I am reminded of how tied I am to my own tea setup, how my habits of tea making are determined by the teaware I use. It’s not the yixing pots or the cups or even the tea that really determined my tea making. It’s one specific thing of my kettle — the spout.
This might sound a little silly, but the spout of a kettle really determines how it pours, and that in turn greatly affects how I make tea. At the first tea meeting, I kept overshooting my pot (easily portable) when I tried to pour water into it. The spout on the water kettle there makes sure the water comes out at an angle that is not the same as the kettles I use, and thus I kept misjudging the first few times I poured. At the second place there was no such problem, although I am still reminded of how much I miss my kettle and my whole setup at home.
Kettle spouts come in all shapes and sizes. These are the ones I have at home
The one on my current tetsubin is the second, and not surprisingly, it gives me the most control in the speed of pouring. The last one is my electric kettle. It looks a little too wide, although it doesn’t drip at all, even though it seems like it might. It actually can pour a very fine pour, but it takes quite a bit of practice. The first is a spout on a simple stainless steel kettle. It does the job, but very hard to pour a fine pour of just a little water. The third is the flat tetsubin that I now have as a spare. It pours fine, except that it does drip a little (shorter spout and less tapering) and also is quirky because of the level of water vis-a-vis the level of the spout. Over time, I tihnk I am used to the higher levels of control that my kettles’ spout affords me, and also the perculiar ways they are shaped. The comforts of home, in this case, includes a familiarity with my teaware when I make my tea, and coming back to it makes me very happy.