- by vinux
1. Yixing Clay Teapots: These teapots are made of purple clay, and are highly valued for their ability to retain heat and flavor.
2. Gaiwan Sets: This set includes a small bowl, cover, and saucer that sits on top, making it easy to prepare a tea infusion.
3. Gongfu Cha Sets: This intricate set consists of a teapot, gaiwan (for steeping), cups, pitcher, and tray to collect the used tea leaves.
4. Ceramic Teapots: These simple and elegant teapots are ideal for everyday use because they can be used for various types of teas without imparting any flavor of their own.
Kung Fu Tea is a way of making tea that requires certain Kung Fu skills. This method of brewing tea has some level of difficulty. Let’s take a look at what makes Kung Fu Tea unique.
There is a four-character proverb when selecting teacups: small, shallow, thin and white. Small cups can be filled with one sip; shallow cups will not hold water; white as jade to set off the color of tea; thin as paper to bring out the fragrance. Tea-lovers usually favor wide-mouthed and shallow teacups with a blue and white pattern, and deep antique teacups are cherished but hard to come by.
Tea tray, a tea tray is used to hold the tea cups, and there are various styles such as round moon shape, chessboard shape… But no matter what style it is, the most important thing is the four words: wide, flat, shallow and white. That means that the tray surface should be wide enough to accommodate more cups according to guest numbers; the bottom of the tray should be flat so that the tea cup won’t be unsteady and easy to shake; the side should be shallow and the color should be white, all for setting off tea cups and teapots and making them look beautiful.
Choose a teapot according to the four criteria: small, shallow, even and old. Teapots come in two-person, three-person, four-person and other variations. The ones made by Mengchen, Tiehuaxuan, Qiupu, Eupu, Xiaoshan and Yuansxisheng are especially treasured. There are many types of teapots in different shapes – small as tangerines, large as oranges; melons, persimmons, diamonds, drums and plum blossoms. Most of them are drum shaped because they look solid and upright. They also come in different colors – red sandalwood color, antique iron brownish red color, purple mud color, yellow stone color or blue sky color. Regardless of the style or color of the teapot , it should be small rather than big and shallow rather than deep because bigger size means less skillful workmanship.
A tea mat, which is smaller than a tea tray, is used to place the teapot. There are various types of mats, but in general, it should be remembered that the thickness should be thinner in summer and thicker in winter. In winter, more boiling water is added when pouring pot to prevent tea from getting cold. The tea mat is made by frying silk gourd according to the shape of the tea mat. Therefore, silk gourd should be used instead of felt cloth to avoid odor. The purpose of felt cloth is to protect the teapot. After sprinkling tea, the teapot should be inverted to prevent water from accumulating in the pot. Even a little bit of water can make the tea taste bitter due to tannic acid dissolving.
There are many shapes and colors of tea washing bowls, which looks like a large bowl. It is necessary to have three of them when making tea: one main bowl and two auxiliary bowls. The main washing bowl is used for immersing the tea cups, the auxiliary washing bowl is used for immersing the teapot and one for holding the water for washing cups and already brewed tea leaves.
The water bottle is the same as the water pot, both of which are used for storing water for tea. The water bottle has a neck bent down to the shoulder, a flat bottom and a handle, which is best made from plain porcelain and blue flower. There is also one with a collared neck and mouth decorated with chilong dragon, called Chilongzun, which is also good. The water pot is also used to store water for tea making, which is equal in size to an ordinary flower pot and there are many styles. The red gold color made in Ming Dynasty was made with five metal glaze, painted golden fish with two tails on the bottom of the pot. When scooping up water, the water moved like a golden fish moving, which was very rare treasures.
Red clay, small stove red clay small stove, Chaoan, Chaoyang, Jieyang are made, the style is very nice. There are also various forms, the characteristics are long shape, high six or seven inches, the furnace heart with charcoal is deep and small, so that the fire is even and save charcoal. The small stove has cover and door, no need to talk when it is closed one by one, which not only saves money but also is convenient. There is usually a very elegant couplet on the door of the small stove, which adds to the tea pleasure.
A feather fan and steel chopsticks are used to fan the fire when making tea. One must put effort into the fanning, yet not over-fan past the left and right sides of the furnace, in order to maintain a certain heat. This is also a sign of respect towards one’s guests. Therefore, specially made feather fans not only reflect skillful craftsmanship, but also show elegance with white goose feathers on its head and silk tassels on its bamboo handle. Together with red, green, white tableware and deep purple tea, it naturally displays an exquisite charm. Steel chopsticks are not only used for clamping charcoal and picking fire, but also keeps one’s hands clean.
Dragon Tank, a large dragon tank is similar to a lotus tank planted in the courtyard, or smaller. It is used to store a large amount of spring water, tightly covered with wooden tables underneath and placed in a corner of the study for an antique look. Dragon tanks are also made of plain porcelain blue and white, made in the Ming and Xuande years, but they are hard to find.
Cha Kettle, also known as “Sand Kettle”, is the most famous one made in Chao’an Fengxi. It is made of sand mud and it is light weight. When the water is boiled, the lid will lift up automatically with a sound. The boiled water is just right for making tea. Although steel and aluminum kettles can also be used to boil water for making tea, they are not quite as good as those made of metal because they lack craftsmanship.