It’s very hard to find good clean teas suitable for meditation and authentic gongfu teaware. Finding good places to source teas for my journey took a huge amount of sampling, time and money. So I want to share a few of my favorite resources so you don’t have to spend so much on tea which is not a suitable companion for meditation.
I have been ordering tea from EOT many years already. It was found by Kathy and David Collen in 2008. They focus on very high quality pu’er, dark tea, Wuyi cliff teas and authentic gongfu teaware. Authentic Wuyi cliff tea from the national park is super rare but these guys have it (as does Chanting Pines, more about them below). They were based in Malaysia many years but now have moved to Kunming, China. They find rare teas from collectors and source pu’er straight from reliable producers and make sure they are pesticide free with third party laboratory tests.
EOT is my number one choice for getting gongfu teaware. You are 100% sure to get a good value for your money and the the teapots are authentic zisha clay.
Nowadays vast majority of zisha teapots sold are not authentic. What I mean by that is that the clay of the teapot doesn’t come from the Yellow Dragon Mountain (黃龍山) or Blue-Green Dragon Mountain (青 龍山) in Yixing but is some other clay with sometimes metal oxides added to make it look nice. Authentic zisha clay has really extraordinary properties for gongfu tea brewing. Still I’m not saying that non-authentic Yixing pots make bad tea, the teapot can’t look nice or it doesn’t have good craftmanship. Just that the non-authentic Yixing pots don’t impact the tea in such an amazing way than the authentic ones do.
Global Tea Hut is a non-profit tea organization, community and tea magazine based in Taiwan.They also sell tea and teaware. The monthly ad-free tea magazine has articles from all aspects of tea and comes with a small amount of tea. Check out the past issues for free here. I have been subscribing to the magazine for years and I was always happy about the cleanliness & no-pesticides of their teas. They also have really nice side handles, kettles and other bowl tea equipment.
I haven’t made an order from the website myself but I know some of their teas and their source who is a rare gem in the crazy tea business world. As far as I know all of their teas are clean but haven’t tasted all of them. I especially like the traditionally processed liubao. Their teapots are authentic and from very rare quality clay. If you already have an authentic zisha pot I would highly recommend getting antique porcelain cups. I think they are the cheapest teaware which can take your gongfu tea to the next level.
In my experience randomly picked (meaning no selection for organic or no mention of no pesticide) pu’er from most online sellers are 98% not clean. Even with a certificate/mention about organic or no-pesticides about half are not clean. So it’s nice to stick to sellers from where you are sure to get good clean tea.
So there you go. I’m not saying other sources are necessarily bad but I can’t recommend them openly. This might be because all of their teas are not clean in my opinion, simply because I haven’t tasted their tea or some other reason. After all there are thousands of tea sellers out there.
I hope this gave you some small info how to navigate in the crazy business world of tea.