- by vinux
Essential Tea Ware for Brewing Oolong Tea! When brewing oolong tea, many types of tea ware are needed. Here is a brief introduction:
The Yumesho (Ishi Ue) is a kettle for boiling water. It is a thin, flat pottery in ochre color with a capacity of about 250 milliliters. When the water boils, the lid makes a “bobobo” sound like calling someone to make tea. Modern kettles are rarely used now. Tea houses usually use slightly larger purple sand teapots from Yixing, mostly in pumpkin or East Slope Ti Liang shape. There are also stainless steel kettles that keep warm with electricity. In my desperate situation, I used a large glass teapot and boiled it in a microwave oven. Two points should be noted: one is to adjust the time and power of the microwave oven correctly to prevent the water from not boiling or being too old, which can only be mastered by repeated experiments; The second is to remove odors from the microwave oven.
Chaoshan stove is a kind of fire stove used to boil water. It is small and exquisite, with adjustable air volume, controlling the size of fire, using charcoal as fuel. This stove is seldom used in modern times. In a tea art gallery I visited, there were three kinds of utensils to boil water. One was a small zisha stove which can hold miniature solid alcohol lamps and matched with a big zisha teapot for boiling water; it seems there was also wax burning. However, no matter if it’s solid alcohol or wax, be sure not to make smells and smoke; another one was an electric heater which keeps warm and has stainless steel pot on the heating plate; another one was an induction cooker with glass pot (with stainless steel at the bottom?) on the induction panel. Among these three utensils, zisha stove with teapot has most artistic conception which conforms to the way of tea appreciation; however it’s heavy and easy to break so not convenient for carrying far away.
Mengchen Pot is a teapot for making tea. It is a Yixing purple clay pot, the smaller the better. Mengchen is the master potter of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Huimengchen, whose small pots are very famous. The size of the pot varies depending on the number of people, generally it is a small pot with a capacity of less than 300 ml.
Ruochen ou is a porcelain teacup. It is a small and shallow cup made of white porcelain with a capacity of about 10-20 ml. There are two types of cups commonly used nowadays (distinct from aroma cups). One is white porcelain cup, the other is purple sand cup, with white porcelain inside. There are also pure purple sand cups, which I personally think should be avoided, as they are not conducive to the color of tea.
There are two kinds of tea sets: the tea boat and the tea tray. The tea boat is usually shaped like a plate or bowl, with the teapot inside to warm cups and pots. The tea tray is used to hold the teapot and cups. Nowadays, there is often a combined type of tea tray, with holes on it, placed on the top of the tea boat. This kind of design is due to the complexity of brewing Oolong tea and its need for hot water each time. The double-layered tea boat makes sure that the water can flow down without wetting the countertop. Tea trays come in different materials, such as purple sand and bamboo. I have a small purple sand lotus-shaped one myself which looks very delicate and beautiful.
The tea sea. A shape-less open-mouth teapot. Brewing oolong tea requires extremely precise timing, just a few seconds difference can greatly alter the quality of the tea soup. Therefore, even during the mere tens of seconds when pouring tea soup from the pot, the concentration of tea at the start and end will be very different. To avoid unevenness in concentration, first pour all of the tea soup into a tea sea, then divide it into cups. This also allows for precipitation of tea sediment and fines. Nowadays stainless steel filters are often used on top of a tea sea to filter out sediment from the tea soup as it flows through. I think this method is not suitable because stainless steel itself has some taste to it. At least for fragrant second infusion teas, filters should not be used.
Chahai. Usually shaped as a semi-sphere with a handle, it is made of either porcelain or bamboo, used to hold dry tea leaves for appreciation and put into teapot. A good quality porcelain chahai itself is an artwork, yet unfortunately many tea houses hardly ever use it, which is such a pity.
Smell Cup. Used to smell the fragrance, with a long and slender shape which is a special teaware of oolong tea, it is mostly used for brewing Taiwanese high-fragrant oolong tea. In combination with drinking cup of the same material, adding a tea tray forms a set of Smell Cup.
Spoon. Mostly made of bamboo, nowadays there are also yellow poplar wood. One end is curved, used to pour the tea into the pot and scoop out the tea residue from the pot.
In addition, there are auxiliary tea sets such as teacups, tea clips, tea rules and teapots, with a variety of varieties. It is not necessary to use them when making tea, so we will not discuss it in detail here.