You may fall in love with the leaf, but soon you will also find that you have an amazing collection of teaware (and accessories). When people first get into tea, they work on procuring good tea and get to know that tea as well as they can. But eventually their focus turns to teaware, either to fill a gap in their ability to brew tea properly, or – finding an impressive teapot or teabowl – to satisfy their aesthetic sensibility.
Teaware vs. tea basically boils down to permanence vs. impermanence. A cup or teapot should last for a long time – maybe not forever – but certainly for a lot longer than it would take to drink a cup of tea, setting aside clumsy tendencies on the part of the tea drinker. So the question becomes: would I rather spend $30-40 on a cup, or on the tea to put in it? We know full well that we will eventually drink the tea and it will be gone, whereas the cup – if we are lucky – may outlast us, and be passed on.
I also like to think that we can foster a love of our teaware. With some pieces, it is love at first sight, whereas with others, it is a love that develops gradually. I actually like those pieces of teaware best that I have come to appreciate gradually through constant use.
For many of us, we have learned to love the leaf so much that we wish to treat it with the utmost respect. We want to serve it in special vessels like an offering to an ancestor or at an altar.
There are many steps to enjoying the leaf, and many different types of leaf to enjoy. But the great thing about teaware is it will hopefully last, allowing us to enjoy many more teas as things of beauty.