I was over at my brother-in-law's the other day, and he had a neat pot for making tea. I was intrigued, as I'm always on the lookout for better ways of making tea. The problem with loose tea, while it produces a superior flavour, the tea leaves, whatever is loose, often tends to float on the surface and interferes with the enjoyment of the drink, you're always spitting out something. With green tea, you can chew on the leaves, many people do, often to get the last of the goodness out. He gladly demonstrated the teapot, and I was further intrigued. I asked him where he had got it, and he told me that he had got it from a friend, who had bought it in China.
The other day I was in this Chinese supermarket, and I was finally able to locate one. I bought it, got it home, and had to bring it back to exchange, as it was broken (and learned a lesson about Chinese business people, they were suspicious that I had broken it and was lying that it was broken when I bought it - I guess I looked honest enough that they allowed me to exchange it).
The Xi Yue pot has three distinct parts to it, an outer glass pot, where the steeped tea goes once it is ready; and inner plastic pot, with fine screen and water-stop ball, where the tea steeps; and a plastic lid, to cover the tea while it is steeping.
Here is the inner pot, without the lid, with some green tea, waiting for the hot water.
Here is the steeping tea in the inner pot.
When the tea is ready, there is a water-release button, that, when pressed, lifts the water-stop ball (a ball bearing), releasing the tea into the outer pot, the screen filtering the tea leaves.
Here is the tea in the outer pot.
The tea pot works great, I find, you can add more hot water to the inner pot, to steep the tea a second, or third, time, but it makes only a small amount of tea, enough for half a mug of tea. Fine for one person, I guess, but for larger number of people, I would say that you need a much bigger one. I wonder if they do.