It's one of those small world things... a good friend of mine has another friend who happens to be starting a tea biz. Old friend introduced us, and now I have the start of a new tea friendship. I am happy to announce that American Gongfu (beta site) is launching with my new tea friend James at the helm.
James sent me this "Joy of Tea" porcelain set for review. He framed it as great for travel or office use, and so I decided to field test it. I've been using it in the office for a few weeks now. I like it's compact 3-part setup. The bottom cup is thin and nice for drinking, while the inner brewing vessel is thick and sturdy. The lid fits both - a plus to keep my tea warm once I'm done brewing. Lid could also be used as a coaster.
With built-in teeth in the brewing vessel, loose leaf is strained as I pour. (Some leaf will escape and I wouldn't use this with a fine herbal like rooibos - but that's not what it's designed for). It's like a hybrid between a gaiwan and a tasting set.
A nice little side connection is that the set is by Taiwanese porcelain company Eilong. I have a few other pieces from this company, and it brings me happy memories of shopping the Yingge District of Taiwan.
My summary of this brewing set: I like the compactness and how it lets me brew loose leaf tea in conditions that may be less-than-ideal for that style. I like that the lid fits both vessels. I like the color options. It's not quite as smooth as pouring a traditional gaiwan (at least not for me), but I'm happy with the product's convenience and look. You can find the product here.
Raising a cup to the small world of tea connections!