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3. Tea Tray
4. Tea cups or mugs
Pu’er tea belongs to black tea. It is named because its production place used to be Pu’er Prefecture in Yunnan (now Pu’er City). Now it generally refers to the tea produced in Pu’er Tea area, which is made from sun-dried green maocha accepted by the public in Pu’er Tea Area, and processed by post-fermentation. Its external shape is brownish red, and its internal quality soup color is red and bright; its aroma is unique and mellow; its taste is mellow and sweet, with a reddish bottom of leaves. It can be divided into raw tea and ripe tea. Raw tea ferments naturally, while ripe tea ferments artificially through piling up.
“Getting more mature the more fragrant”, is widely acknowledged as the biggest feature that separates Pu’er tea from other teas. “Fragrance fills the nine fairs of Fuhai, savoring a thousand-year-old Pu’er emotion”. Pu’er tea is an “edible antique”, unlike other teas which are valued for being new, it is cherished for getting “mature”, and thus increases in value over time.
Tea sets, in its narrow sense, refer to teacups, teapots, teabowls, tea cups, tea plates and tea trays which are used for drinking tea. Chinese tea sets have a wide variety of types and beautiful shapes. Besides practical value, they also have high artistic value and thus are famous both at home and abroad and favored by tea lovers throughout the ages. Due to different materials used in production and places of origin, they can be divided into several categories such as pottery sets, porcelain sets, lacquerware sets, glass sets, metal sets and bamboo/wooden sets.
There are many tea sets suitable for brewing Pu’er tea. Since humans started drinking tea, there have been 26 major categories of containers for drinking tea according to their texture:
Different types of tea sets, such as stone ware, wooden ware, earthenware, tile ware, bamboo ware, pottery, porcelain, gold ware, silver ware, jade ware, agate ware, copper ware, tinware, ironware , antimonyware , aluminumwares , purple-clay wares , enamel wares , glass wares , plastic wares , lacquer wares , paper wares and shell-inlaid works etc., can all be used for brewing Pu’er tea from Yunnan. Gold ware, silverware and other precious material tea sets are elegant and gorgeous but out of reach for ordinary tea lovers. They have been commonly used in the palaces of royals and aristocrats in feudal times. Among the remaining tea sets; purple-clay wares , pottery and porcelain are best for brewing tea leaves; while ironware s、paper wares and plastic wares are the worst.
Brew Pu’er tea with high tenderness, using teaware with good temperature and air permeability is recommended. These include covered bowls, thin-walled purple sand pots, glassware (such as Yixing Cup, etc.), and it is better to use small amount of water.
The best tea ware to use for brewing older and rougher Pu-Erh tea is one with good heat retention, such as ceramic, porcelain, or thick-walled purple clay teapots that hold slightly more water.
Processed Pu’er tea made from coarse old material should be heated with earthenware, tile ware, copper ware, tin ware, antimony ware and aluminum ware in order of heat resistance.