October 20, 2016

Favorite Tea Ware - Jeff Cleary of UNYtea Guy

As a tea drinker, and I am sure this is true for you, I adore teaware, from the chasen to the yixing teapot. Everyone has their favorites! This series showcases the favorite teaware of folks in the tea blogging community as well as people who enjoy drinking tea. The series kicks off this fall with tea objects from UNYtea Guy blogger, Jeff Cleary. You can also find Jeff's luminous photographs of tea @unyteaguy on Instagram.

One thing that is equally exciting for tea lovers other than tea itself is teaware. There are so many different vessels and tools used to make tea. One person could look at a “gong fu cha” setup and wonder what all the clutter is about, but each piece has a purpose. So, here are my top pieces of teaware.

Totem non-slip tea tray
from Totem Tea

This tray is small and light and has a thin coating that keeps your teaware from slipping and sliding. I love using it with my cupping sets when I’m doing tastings. It also makes a great tiny travel tray.

180ml Duani yixing pot 
from Yunnan Sourcing (no longer available)

I bought this little guy very lightly used from a tea friend. A few factors make this a favorite. The unique lid and its simple, smooth design is what originally peaked my interest. The pot functions very well, it pours well and holds heat for an appropriate amount of time. 180ml is a little on the big side, but nobody says you have to fill it all the way!

Mixing cup

I bought this at a local market soon after receiving my Duani pot because I needed to find a cup that came close to matching my pot. After not being able to find anything that matched the way I wanted it, I “settled” with this cup for $3 at a local lounge. This cup is a perfect example that great teaware doesn’t need to be expensive or flashy. Everything about this cup works for me; its nice and smooth and feels nice against my lips, it stays warm but doesn’t get to hot to hold, and it holds the perfect amount of liquid (50-60ml). If you like oolongs or puerh tea and you're into that whole seasoning thing, get a simple yixing cup, you’ll thank me later.

Hu Cheng (pot stand/support)
from Bitterleaf Teas

Every now and then we all need a little support, even your teapot. This is more than decoration because it is made of clay and holds heat just like a clay pot or gaiwan. As your tea session goes you just pour a little water on your pot to keep it warm and cozy. Any excess water will drain into your tea tray helping maintain a clean, orderly setup.

I've long admired Jeff's Duani yixing teapot so am glad it's one his favorite tea objects. A non-slip tray seems almost essential when you are styling your teas and wares for photo shoots. Although these pieces were purchased from different vendors, they make a lovely set. A big thanks to Jeff for giving us a peek into his teaware collection!

P.S. Catch up on all the posts in the Favorite Tea Ware series.


  1. Nice choices! This is super helpful- I have been looking for a 'tea boat' instead of a tea tray and I didn't know it was called a Hu Cheng. I like the one from Bitter Leaf Teas!

    1. Notes on Tea10/24/16, 5:17 PM

      Hi, Sara, use the 12% off code NOTESPOTSUPPORT12 until 10/31/16!


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