Same tea, different teapots, different results. Hopefully this is interesting to you! I find clay to have an enormous effect on the taste/texture of a tea.
The first teapot is a 90 ml Jianshui teapot from crimson lotus tea. I’ve found it to work well with young sheng and emphasizing sweetness.
The second vessel is an unglazed shibo from Miroslava Randová. It has very sandy coarse clay with a red tone. I wonder how this will compare!
Tests were done with 5.4g of w2t 2019 snoozefest in the jianshui and 5.7g in the randová shibo.
Immediately on the first steep after the rinse there is a difference. From the jianshui it is soft and sweet. In the randová shibo there is more of a robust character. It’s still sweet, but more mineral and tart also. I would consider the shibo to taste more complex but less smooth. But this is just the first infusion!
I’m very surprised how restrained the tea is in jianshui. Sure, there’s a little bitterness, but the infusion is more quiet. There’s some fruitiness and a lot of sweetness. In the Randová the tea is more expansive with more astringency to coat the mouth. There are more vivid notes of powdered sugar and frosting.
Third infusion, in jianshui it’s quite strong with nice sheng gasoline notes, better aftertaste in the shibo. Starting to be more similar.
Fourth infusion on: jianshui is more rounded, contained and cohesive. Randová is emphasizing more of a rustic taste profile with a lot of focus on the sides of the tongue. The temperature of the tea seems hotter from the shibo. Very satisfying from the shibo, really potent. Much more leafy/astringent in the shibo, and mouth cooling, thick and smooth in the jianshui. Mouth cooling also shows up in the shibo. Still astringent in jianshui on a pushed steeping, but it doesn’t show up until the tea is in the mouth for a long time. I would say the randová shibo has much more flavor up front. It also produces tea with more character.
I’m very surprised how much of a smoothing effect the jianshui has despite being very dense and having a low porosity. For a tea like snoozefest, which is a very characterful sheng, I think I prefer the randová shibo with its mineral-rich taste and emphasis of the outlier character of the tea. For a more comforting, soothing brew, I would reach for the jianshui.
In terms of aesthetic feel, the shibo is quite bulky and natural, where the jianshui is smooth and shiny. They correspond to different moods. I’m glad to know that both of these teapots “work” for young sheng but emphasize different aspects of the tea. You can still taste the wild fruity character of the snoozefest in the jianshui, but it’s deeper within the core of the tea rather than at the forefront.
Let me know if you want me to compare two other clays/vessels with different tea. Thanks for reading!