- by vinux
If we talk about the most life-like pot among all kinds of pots, it would be the teakettle used in old time teahouses. The solid handle and robust body, with a layer of charcoal black after smoked by fire… The teakettle in the teahouse is not as elegant as the ordinary teapot, but has its unique rustic charm.
As the saying goes: “Seven things to open a door – firewood, rice, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar and tea.” Every morning when day breaks, the teahouse is filled with the sound of clinking and clattering. When the street vendors come out early in the morning, there is a scent of tea wafting from the teahouse, attracting people who went out to buy breakfast to come in and have a look. At this time, breakfast and tea are already prepared in the teahouse.
After dinner, the teakettle on the stove was still warm with water. Beside the long tea table in the shop, there were often tea guests sitting down. Some brought birdcages to play; some even brought their own teacups and tea leaves, buying only water upon entering, while drinking tea and listening to the storyteller telling “Water Margin” in the teahouse.
Nowadays, the teahouse is no longer bright with its kettles boiling, nor do we see a storyteller. Although it is quiet and peaceful, we still feel that there is less atmosphere and lost some of its interest compared to before.
However, when it comes to the most exquisite pottery, nothing beats a teapot. Every step of making a teapot must be done carefully: from forming mud strips, shaping clay plates, wrapping shape-forming tubes, making pot covers and spouts. Even the slightest mistake could ruin the teapot.
After quenching and tempering, the teapot looks majestic. As if mud turns into bones, it makes a sound of jade when knocked. The most exquisite part about the teapot is that it can be its own landscape, without even needing to make tea.
Different materials of teapot embryos are fired at different temperatures, and after quenching they always show different textures and patterns: Potter’s antique simple, black porcelain’s concise and thick, celadon’s elegant and graceful, lacquerware’s beautiful and delicate… All have their own merits, not inferior to each other.
The skillful craftsmen shape the body of the pot into oval, square and petal shapes, and also carefully draw exquisite patterns, making these pots seem to revive from a painting. It should not be too much or too little, just standing there calmly and gracefully.
The most simple and concise teapot among them is the purple sand teapot. As mentioned in Ming Dynasty’s “Chang Wu Zhi”, “Those made of sand are the best, for they not only keep the aroma but also eliminate the cooked tea smell.” The hue of purple sand teapots is plain and rustic, and its texture is delicate. Moreover, it can store the flavor of tea. Often the tea brewed with a purple sand teapot will be more mellow and fragrant.
Every purple clay teapot made by traditional craftsmanship is born with its unique spirit in the melting of fierce fire and mud. No wonder ancient literati were so fond of purple clay teapots when reciting poems.
It is from Ouyang Xiu’s poem “Happiness to share cups of purple and shout, admiring your grace with surplus clearness”, and from the book “Illustrated Record of Famous Pots” comes “As gentle as a gentleman, brave like a husband, elegant like a poet, graceful like a lady, shining like a hermit, free-spirited like a youth, short and clever like a dwarf, simple-hearted like an honest man, flowing like an immortal maiden, upright and pure like a righteous person, unsophisticated like an ascetic monk”. It portrays the beauty of purple sand pots in various different poses.
Using a purple sand teapot to brew tea, the tea aroma is rich and long-lasting. The mouth of the purple sand pot is small and tightly sealed, and the inner wall of the pot is relatively rough, which can effectively prevent the aroma from dissipating too early. After long-term use of the purple sand teapot, a layer of brownish red tea rust will be attached to the inner wall. The longer the use time, the more tea rust accumulates on the inner wall, so that after brewing tea leaves, the soup will be more mellow and fragrant. Even if no tea is put in a long-term used purple sand teapot, only pouring in boiled water can still make it attractive with its tea aroma – something that ordinary teaware cannot do. So what kind of tea can be brewed in a purple sand pot?
I. What kind of tea is suitable for a purple sand pot?
Purple clay teapot is best used for brewing semi-fermented or fully fermented teas, such as Iron Guan Yin, frozen top Oolong, Puer tea and single bush. Of course, different sizes of purple clay teapots have different characteristics, so different sizes of purple clay teapots are suitable for brewing different types of tea. Let’s talk about them in detail.
Two: What tea is best for a purple sand teapot?
To make tea in a purple clay teapot, generally the one with higher sound frequency is suitable for brewing tea with strong aroma such as green tea; while the one with lower sound frequency is more suitable for making tea with heavy flavor, such as oolong and Tie Guan Yin.
Tea pots with a capacity of less than 200cc are best for drinking Iron Guanyin Tea, as the pot can reach high temperature in an instant, which is just right to meet the brewing requirements of Iron Guanyin Tea.
For Pu’er tea and black tea, it requires long-term insulation. The best way to drink Pu’er tea and black tea is to use a deep and narrow purple sand pot with a capacity of about 250cc (such as Shi Piao and Xishi pots).
A teapot of around 250cc with a wide mouth is a better choice for green tea, as it does not require high temperature for a long time to brew. It requires the teaware to cool off quickly (such as antique pot, well lattice pot, etc.).
Third, what kind of tea is suitable for a square purple sand pot?
The key to making a square purple sand pot lies in the fact that the clay needs to be very uniform, and the difficulty and failure rate at the slice junction are high. The internal angles of the square vessel make it difficult for tea leaves to roll and water flow to be blocked; but its square shape is eye-catching in terms of modeling, so its beauty can be considered more important than practical functions. It is very suitable to use a square purple sand pot to brew ripe Pu’er tea, which can bring out all its aged flavor.
Four, What kind of tea can flat purple clay teapot be used to brew?
An example is a section of mud purple sand pot, used to brew roasted Wuyi tea. This purple sand pot can always cover the dry taste of baking, and fully show the charm that tea should have.
The ratio of Yixing Zisha teapots made in flat shape is relatively low. The reason is that the success rate of sintering (so-called “good rate”) of this pot shape is lower. This pot shape, which is flatter, has a full sense of stability and can let the strip-like tea settle in the pot and release its fragrant aroma with peace of mind.
When pouring water, due to the short walls of the flat pot, the water flow naturally has a buffer. Combined with the small space inside the teapot, tea leaves can easily be permeated in the water without over-cooking, and gently release their essence. The unique shape of flat pot leaves no room for any nonsense, just perfect for displaying Wuyi rock rhyme in brewing aged tea or reducing roasted taste of tea. Therefore, when brewing aged Wuyi tea or trying to reduce roasted taste of tea leaves, flat purple sand pot is most suitable.
Fifth, what kind of tea is suitable for the round purple sand teapot?
Why is a round purple clay teapot best for brewing oolong tea? Experience has shown that it is because the oolong tea leaves are curled into semi-balls, and the round teapot provides ample space for them to fully expand.
If you like to drink oolong tea, buying a round purple sand teapot is the most practical. The reason is that after pouring water into a round purple sand teapot for brewing tea, the circular walls of the pot can allow the water to flow smoothly inside, and more effectively bind the water and the tea leaves together, which is beneficial for tea making.
A teapot can preside over a tea ceremony. It is a small stage where water and fire blend. Tea leaves and water dance here, which can be elegant, refreshing, complicated or free. When the teapot is held up, unexpected changes arise and countless events come to mind. When tea leaves are infused in the moment, it’s like pressing a switch to change the world.
Tea, delicate and elegant, simple and unadorned; Pot, plain and natural, leisurely and comfortable. When they are combined, everything is light and one can enjoy the charm of ordinary life. When you hold a pot in your hand, drink alone boldly and naturally at regular intervals.
A sprinkle of sand on the teapot gives a feeling of antiquity, as if one can sense the chiseling and pounding of the purple clay artisan. When surrounded by friends for a tea ceremony, the round or square teapots with their simple elegance or intricately patterned beauty are all gems created by the purple clay artisan.
Tea pots, especially the purple clay ones, have long been symbolized in Chinese tea culture. It stands for the depth of research that tea connoisseurs have gone into and reflects the appreciation for tea. The atmosphere created by the combination and interaction between and amongst tea, utensils and chamber brings great delight to those who appreciate it.