I have been ‘geeking out’ quite a bit lately with tea related content. I’ve been reading blog posts, surfing Instagram, watching Youtube, reading books, and so much more.
As I was watching an Instagram live video recently, the host was talking about feeding his tea pet.
“Tea pet… what the heck is a tea pet,” I thought to myself.
Some quick google action: “what is a tea pet”… returned over 9 million results.
“Okay. So this is a thing apparently,” I thought to myself.
I clicked the first result from wikipedia…
“A tea pet, also known as a tea lover’s pet, is a small clay figure which is kept by some tea drinkers for good luck.” (Wikipedia “Tea Pet”)
What is a tea pet?
Basically, a tea pet, is a small figurine that some tea drinkers keep and treat as a pet.
It is generally made of Yixing clay, which is the same clay as Yixing teapots.
They will attend to it while they are preparing and drinking tea.
And… you actually feed it.
What do I feed it?
You feed it with the water you use to heat up your teapot and teacups.
You feed it with the wash from when you rinse your tea leaves.
And if you have leftover tea…(GASP!)… you can feed it that too.
Because the tea pet is made from the Yixing clay, just like your oolong teapot, the pet will become seasoned over time and will absorb the water and smell from the “feed”. It may even change colors.
Where did tea pets come from?
Tea pets supposedly go all the way back to the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368 AD). The origin can be traced to the Chinese city of Yixing, the same place where the famous Yixing clay teapot comes from.
So now you know.
I do not own any tea pets yet. The key word is yet… Now that I know what to look for, I imagine I will surely have one (or two, or three) soon.
It’s funny I was explaining this to my Mom tonight. We were talking on FaceTime and I was able to see her response… she looked a little confused.
“Yeah Mom, I know… I’m geeking out pretty hard over here…”
“And I love it!”