• by vinux

People commonly use porcelain cups or glass cups for tea in their homes or offices, which is convenient but due to the tea leaves being soaked together with the tea soup, the tea soup can become bitter and unpalatable.
The more particular way of brewing tea is called tea art. It introduces artistic factors into our daily life. Firstly, a set of tea set including teapot, teacup, tea boat, teacup, tea towel and kettle, etc. should be prepared. Then pour the tea leaves into the teapot, about 1/3-1/2 of the pot capacity, fill with boiling water and cover with lid. The first infusion should be taken out after around 60 seconds by pouring back and forth between teacup and teacup to make it evenly concentrated. However, some people just leave the first infusion for a few seconds before pouring it into both cups and discard it without drinking. This is to increase the temperature of the pot and cup to facilitate the evaporation of aroma from tea leaves called ‘warmth infusion’. To drink the second infusion again, pour in boiling water and extend 15-20 seconds for each subsequent infusion before taking it out for consumption. There are big differences between today’s brewing art and ancient times’.
Since the Song, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties, a kind of copper “teapot” was used for making tea. According to “Chang Wu Zhi”, from the Song and Yuan Dynasties onwards, the utensils for making tea were called “teapots” or “feng pots”. In Lu You’s poem “Passing Zen An Poem”, it reads: “Teapot smoking rises in elation; chess pieces sound sparsely in my anguish”. From this we can see that there was already a name “teapot” during the time of Song Dynasty’s Lu You. During the Yuan Dynasty, a famous teapot was called “Jiang Zu Teapot”. The “Zun Sheng Ba Jian” said: “In the Yuanshihai capital there were two families who forged according to Jiang Niangzi and Wang Jifeng methods, renowned at that time.” These two forging methods mainly pulled out wax on the surface of the pot to make it smooth and beautiful, and also had exquisite embroidered patterns on the teapot. It is said that “the method is similar to ancient times; the style is admirable; it is also pure when smelting copper…or made”. This actually refers to gilding. From this we can see that teapots during Yuan Dynasty were very delicate, like handicrafts. By the time Ming dynasty came around, society generally used “copper teapots” as well with its main feature being delicate carving techniques. Amongst them was a particular type of Taoti Teapot which was most luxurious during Ming Dynasty. “Taoti” was an ancient evil beast name often seen in ancient clocks and tripods through engraving animal forms. It was a kind of exquisite carving decoration. From this we can see that teapots in Ming Dynasty mostly imitated antiques with prominent carving techniques.
Besides using tea pots to make tea, there was also a “teapot” specifically for boiling water. It was commonly called “tea blow”, or “tongs” and also known as “chain”. In ancient China, people used cauldrons and kettles to boil water. According to Huainanzi’s Shuishanxun, “tasting a piece of meat can tell the taste of a kettle”. Gao You commented: “There is enough day tripod, no enough kettle.” (In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, some areas in southern China called the “kettle” pot). From the historical records, it was not until the late Middle Ages that the ancient method of boiling water with cauldrons and kettles was gradually replaced by “teapots”.
Some writers in the past believed that “making tea”(namely, “brewing tea”) appeared in China around the Yuan dynasty, so the water-boiling utensils of that time changed (referring to re-designing teapot). However, according to historical materials collected by the author, water-boiling bottles had existed since the Southern Song dynasty. Here we quote two pieces of historical evidence. In Lu Da-jing’s “Heron Forest and Jade Dew”, it is recorded: “The Tea Classic lists fish eyes, springs and pearls as boiling water festivals. However, lately (referring to the Southern Song), fresh tea has come into fashion with cauldrons and kettles. Boiling water with bottles is hard to observe and should be judged by sound of boiling one boil, two boils and three boils.” According to Lu Da-jing’s meaning, in ancient times (before Southern Song), people used open-mouthed cauldrons and kettles for boiling water which was easy to observe how boiled it was. But then they switched to use bottles which had small mouths making them harder to observe boiling process inside so they tried judging by listening to sound of boiling instead. In “Heron Forest and Jade Dew” it also said: “Lu’s(Lu Yu) method for making tea is using powder. So he uses second boil as quality for adding powder.” Lu Yu was a Tang Dynasty person, author of The Tea Classic who is considered a founder of Chinese culture during this era. It can be said from such a tea master that Tang Dynasty still hadn’t used teapots yet. Another good example for using bottle for boiling water since Song Dynasty is Su Shi’s poem about making tea called “Tea Poem”: ”The crab eyes have passed fish eyes already; gusts are ready but soon silenced by pines …silver bottle pouring soup–second boil unknown by ancients when brewing”.