This is my 50th Steepster review! WOOOO! fireworks
I decided to do something special and be somewhat of a pioneer. I haven’t seen any tea pets here on Steepster but since they’ve begun allowing reviews for teawares I figured I’d introduce one of mine and see if this flies. While it is not essential to making tea, it is definitely a tea accessory and is a product made specifically for use with tea, so hopefully this is acceptable.
I ordered this tiger tea pet from a site called AliExpress. It’s an online marketplace where many vendors from Asia sell their wares. I’ve named him Inaba and he is my third tea pet. For those of you unfamiliar with tea pets, they are more often used in Taiwanese Gongfu Cha than in Chinese. They are little companions that sit at the tea table for use when rinse water is poured out from the gaiwan and tasting cups. The rinse water is poured over the tea pet, and in the case of this type, it causes him to rapidly and dramatically change colors! It’s kind of showy and some find that it distracts from the appreciation of the tea, so it is not used by all Gongfu practitioners.
As for Inaba, he is my favorite tea pet so far for a few reasons. First, the dramatic color change is really wonderful to watch. The color changes instantly as you douse him with hot water, so it looks like you’re rinsing him clean, but the dark color only returns over a period of a minute or two so it slowly grows more dark. Second, he is the smallest tea pet I own now. He’s only about 4.5 inches long and 4 inches tall, so he fits very well on even my small personal sized Gongfu table.
He is climbing on a hill of money, so maybe he can bring you prosperity, fortune and good luck if you offer him some delicious tea! Hehe. ;3
All in all, I find this tea pet to be a charming addition to a Gongfu Tea Table. I like that the initial colors make it appear to be a solid colored statue. If you are serving guests, it may come as a surprise when you rinse him and he shows such vivid colors! Tea pets are definitely a fun conversation piece for tea gatherings and can be a nice icebreaker if you are serving new guests.
I’m going to rate this guy very highly but not perfect. If you look at him up close the detail on the painting can be a little off in some spots. That is the only aesthetic downside to him, but it is not really too noticeable and for the price these usually cost, it is totally acceptable to me.
If you are considering getting a tea pet, I highly recommend him, though there are so many types out there it may be your personal preference to get another type. If you are looking for one with a strong color change, however, this one is awesome, and as mentioned before, he is very compact and unobtrusive to the tea area.
He brings elegance and power to the tea table! Rawr!