October 15, 2015

Favorite Tea Ware - Mervyn Clarke aka Murphcha

As a tea drinker, and I am sure this is true for you, I adore teaware, from bombillas to matcha whisks. Everyone has their favorites! This series showcases the favorite teaware of folks in the tea blogging community. Today's faves are from Mervyn Clarke. Mervyn is a trained accountant but was the Director of Tea House Operations at the Tea Institute at Penn State from 2013 to 2014. His Instagram handle is @murphcha.

"The gaiwan is the ultimate tool for learning about tea and for this reason alone the gaiwan is my favorite tea ware.

This is undoubtedly my favorite gaiwan that I own. I picked this gaiwan out while browsing through the tea districts in Kunming, China. My buddies and I were looking through this huge tea ware shop when I saw this out the corner of my eye. This gaiwan has an all-white matte finish with a dark brown rim. The thinness of this ware was really something that stood out, I could hold it up to the light and see right through it. With this type of thinness I do not have to worry about over brewing delicate teas or burning my hands. The wide base of this gaiwan makes it very practical for brewing a wide range of teas.

A lot of my friends really seem to like this gaiwan and I do too! This gaiwan was the first gaiwan I bought from Yunnan Sourcing a few years back. It’s made out of clay, which means that this gaiwan may be seasoned to a particular type of tea. My tea of choice is sheng puer. My favorite memory of with this ware is trying to season it by boiling a full sample of sheng puer in a pot and leaving the gaiwan to sit inside for a few hours. I learned later that the only way to truly season a ware is to use it continuously with the same type of tea.

This cup is my next favorite ware. I literally put this cup in my pocket and take it everywhere. I picked this cup up at a small antique shop in Taipei, Taiwan. While my friends were talking to the shop owner and trying to spend big money on a teapot. I saw this little cup in a small box off to the side of the counter and decided to buy it. It was inexpensive so I just wrapped in a small cloth and threw it in my bag. Since then its been with me for some incredible shots. Below is a small college with some of the pictures I have taken with this cup."

Thank you, murphcha! From your Instagram feed I learned about Penn State's Tea Institute. I think a lot of tea folks wouldn't mind such as institution at their alma mater, or local university.

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