Most of the time, I don’t have this problem since those travels are to tea places. I would literally spend virtually the entire day drinking tea and I use a taster mug to perform covert tea comparisons in the morning. Not to mention the fact that I like to buy some tea wares when I am in China as well.
Of course as my wife likes to remind me, there is more to life than my Chinese tea shop. Once in a while, I do take a real vacation. But even so, I don’t think I can truly relax and enjoy myself if my tea quota is filled with tea bags or mediocre tea.
This travel tea set is a lifesaver.
Not the most fanciful stuff but has the essentials.
1- Tea tray- which you can connect a drainage hose that links to the sink in this case
2- Small drinking cups
4- Cha Jia (茶夹) or Tongs to handle the cups either for hygiene or due to the heat
5- A Fairness cup
and of course most importantly- a Gaiwan
So you can really do a proper gongfu cha of sorts with this kit. It is not exquisite porcelain but in the circumstances it works.
Unless you have been to that hotel/resort before, you don’t really know the quality of water you are going to get.
If you look at the photo, you can see a bottle of Volvic in the background.
Probably the first thing I get when I am travelling is bottled water, if I am drinking distilled water or any old mineral water is fine. If it’s for tea, I usually go with one that doesn’t have too high a mineral content (but not too low as well), Volvic is my favorite, Fiji a second.
Boiled tap water tastes terrible, tea made with boiled tap water is mediocre at best.
In my opinion, this is the most important, even if you brew tea with the hotel glass or mug but use good water, it’s probably going to taste better than if you use a gaiwan but crummy tap water.
2. Tea leaves
This is obvious my personal experience but travelling with a 3 year old (a point of writing) means luggage has to be minimized. Not to mention the fact every holiday I think of it as a chance to complete some Hugo or Dumas tome (read: heavy).
My Dancong and Yancha are too wiry and easily broken to survive the journey intact and these rolled tea leaves take up less space.
Tieguanyin is kinda self-explanatory since nary 3 days go by without me drinking it while a Taiwanese High Mountain tea helps me get my green tea fix- sort of.
Sure I would miss my Dancong and Yancha but it sure beats seeing their crumbs when I remove it from my luggage.
– most hotels supply kettles. Not having stayed in the Shangri-Las and Ritzs of this world I usually see crummy plastic jug kettles.
At least check for the scale residues and ask for a replacement/baking soda if it needs descaling.