September 30, 2010

Nerd Stuff

A scientist friend of mine gifted me this righteous graduated cylinder. With it I'm now able to precisely measure the volumes of my teaware.

For instance, this little "70ml" qing shui ni pot? Well, it's actually 80ml. I'm not sure what sellers use to measure their teaware before estimating the volume, but I find it generally varies 10-20ml from the professed volume, which can sometimes be a bit of a pain--like the time I bought a "65ml" pot that was actually 50ml, a noticeably less practical size.

Of course, this sort of preciseness has little bearing on the intuitive tea brewing of a gong fu mystic (which is what we're all trying to be, right?), but the nerd in me really would find knowing the exact volume of his teapots very interesting. You didn't see, but I just pushed my imaginary nerd glasses back up the bridge of my nose. Really, though, on the occasions when I round up four or five pots to compare how they brew the same tea, it's pretty helpful to know exact volumes so I can either attempt to fill the pots differently or use a different proportion of leaf when setting the parameters of the comparison. Other than that, this cylinder is a nifty but impractical addition to my ironic quasi-high school science class tea setup!

In other news, for those who are looking, I added a nice tea boat to the blog's "Teaware for Sale" section.

I'm on the verge of branching out to a couple of new tea vendors--Dragon Tea House on eBay and Camellia Sinensis of Canada. My tea budget isn't anywhere near its high water mark (which means I'm unfortunately unable to splurge on things like aged pu-erh at the moment) but I'm running out of my staples--good, old-fashioned Yan Cha and roasted Taiwan oolong. Time to venture out!


Olivier said...

Nice lab tool ;)

Another very useful stuff I use often to measure volumes of teaware is a simple electronic kitchen scale!

Just tare it zero with the teaware on it, then fill with water... you ll get the volume on the screen ;)
(1L = 1000g, 1ml = 1g)

Quick and convinient...

David said...

I use my digital scale to weigh my pots when empty then full (of water.)

The only problem : I lost a scale once when spilling water everywhere on it...

Zero the Hero said...

Hi guys,
I agree--yet another reason why the metric system is superior.

I've actually used my balance scale to measure a few teapots, but the difficult issue is that most of the teaware is too heavy to tare the scale AND see how much water it holds.

Another funny thing about kitchen stuff in the US is that most recipes call for Teaspoons, Tablespoons and Cups rather than weight measurements, so most people don't even own a kitchen scale! I've definitely been at a loss the few times I've needed to use a recipe from Europe or elsewhere. I wonder if this country will ever accept metric.