- by vinux
Water is the mother of tea, and utensils are the father of tea. As a container to nurture and contain tea, tea sets are the medium for us to appreciate and drink tea soup. “The utensil is exquisite, and the more vivid the color of the tea”, so the selection and placement of teaware plays an important role in tea.
With the development of modern society and the changes in tea-drinking customs, varieties, shapes and connotations of tea utensils have been innovated, bringing not only delicious tea soup but also pleasant mind effects to people.
The kettle and stove are boiled.
A set of handy tea kettles can bring endless inspiration to tea masters. The Yushu Pei in the “Four Treasures of Tea Room” is a water kettle for boiling water, and Chaozhou stove is a stove for boiling water.
The Yushu pot is made of yellow-colored thin porcelain with a flat shape, and it can hold about 250 ml of water. When the water boils, the lid makes a “boo” sound, like inviting people to make tea. This kind of pot is rarely used nowadays; most tea houses use slightly larger purple sand pots from Yixing, often in the shape of a pumpkin or an East Slope lifting beam pot.
There are also iron kettles which are plain and elegant to look at. The boiled water from them is soft, with a velvety and sweet taste. Using it to steep tea can effectively enhance the flavor, although the iron kettle is quite heavy when lifted up. Silver kettles produce water with a soft sweetness, but they are not heavy and cost more.
The teapot is the center of tea utensils, and the size, clay material, shape etc. also affect the aroma and flavor of tea soup. In the Ming Dynasty, it was advocated that small is noble for pottery, “small pots make flavors not scattered, fragrances not concealed”.
Xu Ci-shu pointed out in “Tea Book · Ouzhou Annotation” that silver and tin pots are beneficial to tea soup, followed by porcelain pots with glaze inside and outside. Unfortunately, most of the old porcelain pots are not resistant to sudden pouring of boiling water, and the porcelain body is easy to crack. Although Yixing pottery teapots were highly praised by tea drinkers at that time, they still needed to avoid insufficient sintering temperature and muddy tea due to soil gas.
A good pot should have a tight lid. When selecting, fill the pot with eight tenths full of water first, then press the air hole on the lid with your finger and try to pour the water out. If there is no water flowing out, it means that the lid fits tightly.
In addition, the body of the pot should be symmetrical, and the mouth of the pot should be round; the spout, lid button, and handle should be in line with each other when viewed from above; take off the lid, place the pot upside down on the table top with the mouth and spout level.
Bring the water to a rolling boil, with the water column requiring it to be fast, long, round, and straight. If the flow rate is too slow, it will affect the quality of the tea soup; The spout of the teapot should have an even and clean cut-off point, without dripping or backflow.
The most important thing is whether a pot is handy and easy to use when lifted. Our hands are different in size, length, fat or thin, when choosing a pot, pick it up to feel if it fits well. If the handle of some pots are not easy to hold or the center of gravity leans forward and difficult to operate, it won’t be an ideal pot.
After the pot is filled with water, it can be lifted up evenly with one hand, and the feeling of pouring out the water is comfortable and convenient, which indicates that the center of gravity of this pot is moderate and stable.
Kettle Compliance: A traditional Chinese utensil, the kettle is seen as a symbol of compliance. This metaphor is used to describe the obligation and commitment one has to adhere to agreements and contracts. It’s a way to emphasize loyalty and responsibility in keeping promises.
The traditional function of the pot is to ensure the neatness and dryness of the table, to hold hot water from a pouring kettle. The purpose of the pouring kettle is to warm up the pot for brewing exquisite tea. When brewing tea that needs high temperature, one must select a deep-bellied teapot in order to accommodate the hot water from the pouring kettle.
When using a deep-bellied pot to brew tea, remember to pour out the hot water that has been poured over the pot at hand. Do not let the teapot stay in the cooled water for too long, otherwise not only will the temperature of the pot drop and it will not make a delicious tea soup, but after a long time, two parts of the body of the pot will produce different color tones.
When making some teas that don’t need to be poured with a pouring jug, you can freely choose various texture, color, and sizes of shallow dishes or frameless pads to match with the teapot body to emphasize the aesthetic of its lines.
Sometimes, even a piece of stone from the corner of the wall, or a pebble, can be carefully arranged by the tea master to become the main stage of the teapot, just like the lotus throne below Buddha.
Cover the bowl.
Cover bowls, also known as cover cups, are tea sets consisting of three parts: lid, bowl and tray. In the Qing Dynasty, flower tea was popular in the north. The capacity of tea soup was large, so the cover bowl with heat preservation function came into being.
The mouth of the bowl is wide, and when the lid was lifted, both the tea soup and the leaves were clearly visible. When drinking, it is best to stir with the lid, and it can be sipped directly from the bowl. The cup cover can also be picked up and held close to one’s nose to smell the fragrance.
A saucer can prevent the tea from burning your hands, and making the cover bowl look elegant and generous. When we choose a cover bowl, we have to pick it up and try it ourselves. Sometimes, if the diameter of the cover bowl is too big, our hands can’t bear it. At the same time, try to see if the lid is easy to move, so that it will be more convenient when scooping tea leaves.
The tea cup, also known as the fair cup, is named for its ability to distribute each cup of tea soup evenly. There are also those who call it “tea sea”. In chapter 41 of The Dream of Red Mansions, Miaoyu ridiculed Baoyu: One cup is a product, two cups are stupid to quench thirst, and three cups are like drinking cows and horses. What are you eating in this sea?
When buying a teapot, pay attention to its capacity being larger than that of a teapot. Since the teapot is used to mix tea soup, sometimes it must hold two steeps of tea, so the capacity of the teapot should be larger than that of the teapot to avoid overflow.
Choose a large opening for the teapot, which makes it easy for the teapot to pour in tea soup. In addition, just like the teapot, the outlet of the teapot is also important. When pouring tea into the cup, consider that the outlet of the teapot should be smooth and not spilled everywhere.
Cup of tea
A cup of touching tea soup is composed of various subtle causes and conditions, and the power of the teacup is enough to change the flavor of the tea soup.
We use cups of different textures, colors, shapes, sizes, heights, thicknesses to make tea, and the tea soup will show different qualities. Sometimes the difference is so great that it’s amazing.
No matter what kind of tea, if it is drunk in a good cup, the aroma, color and taste of the tea soup will be more delicate, rich and charming.
What kind of cup makes a good cup?
Choose the type of tea according to your preference.
Traditional Kung Fu Tea emphasizes the use of thin porcelain cups. Weng Hui-dong in the Book of Chao-Chuan Tea·Kung Fu Tea said: “The exquisite small cups, the diameter is not more than an inch, white porcelain made by kiln, thin as paper, color clean as jade, cover thin not to rise fragrant, dirty can not withstand the color.”
The interior walls are clean, such as a white or light blue cup, which can make the soup color stand out brightly.
Based on the season or weather, decide what type of tea to drink.
The cup made of clay is thick which can keep warm, and it’s suitable for using in winter. On the other hand, thinner cups are better to use in summer so that the tea can cool down quickly and be more convenient to drink.
A cup is like a close-fitting garment to a tea person. It can be low-key and soft without leaving any traces. At the tea table, it looks like a plain drink, but when it touches the lips it can bring out the taste buds and play on the fingertips to savor its flavor.
When purchasing, it is advisable to try whether the person’s lips and cup lip are “compatible”. If the lip of the cup body is not delicate enough, the tea soup entering the mouth cannot be fully appreciated by the taste buds.
The cup holder, formerly known as the cup holder. The cup holder and the cup are like a lady’s shoes and clothes: they can be strong, like boots; they can be grand, like crystal high heels; they can be low-key, like monk shoes.
The main purpose of the cup holder is to prevent scalding, and there are also hygiene considerations. In order to avoid direct contact with the cup edge, it is appropriate and elegant for the tea host to serve tea to guests in the form of a cup holder.
The key points in purchasing a cup holder are: the proportion of the cup holder should be consistent with the size, shape and color of the cup; the design of the cup holder should be easy to grip. If the cup holder itself is too large, too small or too low, the teacup will not be stable on top and it will not be an ideal cup holder.
If the surface of the tea table is flat and the shape of the cup is robust, when there is no medium-sized cup holder, it can be considered to directly use a soft cup pad.
Tea and teaspoon
When using tea leaves, it is best to use a spoon or scoop. Our hands contain sweat, lotion and other odors, so do not directly grab the tea leaves with your hand to avoid absorbing the odors.
The shape of tea leaves varies, some are shaped like globes and tightly packed while others are more loosely strung together like strands. The globe-shaped tea leaves are easy to place in a teapot, whereas a larger bamboo teapot is needed to properly scoop up the strand-like ones.
In addition to scooping out the tea dregs, a teaspoon can also be used as a teapot. With just a little trimming, you can make a graceful and natural teaspoon with the tender bamboo shoots that sprout in spring. If you put some pebbles from the riverbed beside them, it makes for a perfect natural setting for the teaspoons. Alternatively, you can use thin chopsticks instead of teaspoons so that you can pick up the dregs more freely.
A tea caddy, a container used to store tea leaves, should be kept out of direct sunlight and away from humidity. Therefore, it is often made of high-density porcelain or pottery with glazes inside and out. Metal containers should be avoided because they may become oily or rusty.
The material of tea caddies is rich, common ones are ceramic, purple sand, bamboo, tin cans, etc.. Tea leaves should be stored away from sunlight, so the most basic requirement is to put them in an opaque jar. Glass tea caddies on the market are mostly for aesthetics or display.
When buying a teapot, pay attention to its functionality, try to choose one with a larger diameter so that it is easier to use when faced with fluffy tea leaves, thus avoiding breaking of the tea leaves.
The tea tray is a shallow vessel used to contain teapot, teacup, tea pets and even tea food. There are various materials available for making such trays, including metal, bamboo and pottery. Metal trays are the most convenient and durable while bamboo trays are the most elegant and appropriate.
In addition, there are tea trays made of special stones such as jade, inkstones and purple sandstone, which are simple and heavy in texture and have a unique charm.
The style of the tea trays is also very diverse, with different sizes. There are round moon shape, chessboard shape, fan shape, square shape and so on.
No matter what material and style, the most important thing is: wide, flat, shallow, white. That is to say, the plate surface should be wide so that more cups can be placed according to the number of guests; The bottom of the plate should be flat so that the teacup will not be unstable and easy to shake; The sides should be shallow and the color should be white, so that the teapot, teacup and tea soup can set off each other beautifully and make them look elegant.
As for those elaborate and magnificent tea trays, they are not only unsuitable to serve as a peaceful and tranquil background at the tea gathering, but also will impair the enjoyment of tea. Additionally, when serving with a tray, one must remove the pot, cups, and fair cup from the tray; otherwise, one slip of hand would lead to “disaster”.
Water tray, also known as water pot, is used to drain the water from warmed kettles and teapots after pouring tea and washing leaves. When choosing a water tray, one should consider the space available when making tea so as to select an appropriate size that does not take up too much space and affect any movements during the process.
Generally speaking, if you want to place the water container on a tea table, it is best to choose a delicate small one. If a larger water container is needed, it is better to move it away from the guests, such as behind the stove. Place it in an inconspicuous but still convenient location.
As for the selection of colors, it is best to make a overall match with the colors and materials of other tea sets. Most water methods on the market are made of ceramic material. If there is already a tea plate in the tea set, then you can not use water method, because the basic function of tea plate can take on extra water, and other tea residue can be cleaned separately.
The tea towels, also known as jiefang, were originally used to wipe teacups. When drinking tea, people would always use a small jiefang (generally no larger than a handkerchief) that was delicate and compact.
When we brew tea with high temperature, after pouring the water out of the pot, we can put it on a clean cloth to absorb the hot water from the bottom of the pot and then pour out the tea liquid. This way, the poured water will not run down along the sides of the pot.