Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The purple beauty - Zisha

Zisha (literally, “purple sand”), was discovered around lake Tai, in the Jiangsu province of China. Aside from the beauty of the natural material, Zisha is renowned for its heat retention properties and resistance to oxidation, hence preserving the flavour of the tea for a longer period.

Zisha is also known for its ability to absorb the delicate flavours of the tea – allowing the teapot to become more seasoned with each use. It is believed that after years of use, one can brew tea by simply pouring boiling water into an empty teapot. The validity of which I am about to establish with my recent purchase.

One thing is for sure though, the properties of this clay certainly help to refine tea infusions and is especially prized because of this functional quality. Unfortunately, the authenticity of many Zisha pots found on the market leaves many of us often in doubt. What can be promoted to consumers as Zisha could also be poor quality clays mixed together to achieve the desired colour. This leaves much to be discovered about the inner beauty of a true Zisha vessel.

Blogeintrag auf Deutsch: Die violettfarbene Schönheit - Zisha

Monday, February 27, 2012

Making tea – an art or a science?

Tea making techniques are regarded both from a scientific and an artistic viewpoint. Yet the actual operations involved in the tea making process render it very difficult for scientific measurements when it comes to further analysis.

Seemingly subtle factors like the strength of sunshine, density of mountain fogs, ventilating conditions in the tea processing facilities all contribute to the characteristics of the end product. It is very often up to the expertise of the tea farmer to judge which, when and how different factors can be leveraged upon to ensure the best quality tea produced.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Hongni (red clay) yixing teapot 1970s, 380 USD
We ship worldwide. How to order? 

Floral and fauna pewter saucers, set of five
Sakura-shaped Kyoware, set of three, 21 USD
- A pair of sun and moon Yixing saucers 
- Sakura-shaped saucers, Kyoware
- Floral and fauna pewter saucers, set of five

Multi-purpose giant tea cloth in wave design (Measures ~ 120 by 200 cm)
Tea display plates
- Sea green porcelain tea plate  
- Ivory white tea display plate in leaf design
Pewter tea display plate, made in the 1970s-80s, 19 USD each
Water/ tea bowls and tea boats
- Handmade craquelure blush chawan with a two-toned peach and beige coloured glaze 
- Waste water/ cup rinsing bowl from Lin's ceramic studio 
- Japanese dark green teaboat with painted scene
- Double fish celadon tea boat
Tropical colours absorbent tea cloth, 19 USD each
Chaxi accessories  
- Kimono silk tea cloth in silver grey or gold weaving (Measures ~ 65 by 9.7 cm)
- Hand-painted tropical colours absorbent tea cloth (Measures ~ 34 by 103 cm) 
Waste water bowl
A touch of Antiquity 
- Watch this space!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Seasonal changes and tea picking

The same tea breed displays variation in flavour as a result of climatic changes. This directly influences the quality of the tea leaves from one season to another.  Spring and winter are regarded as better seasons for producing high quality tea leaves. Why is that?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Origin matters 山头气

The area of origin, climate and soil conditions all play a role towards the inherent qualities of the tea leaves, which influence the taste of the infusion. The growth and development of the tea plants are closely linked to the soil quality and its nutritional composition, such as the presence of essential elements. The same plant grown in different soil types will result in nuances in both fragrance and taste.

The impact on taste as a result of differing geographical conditions is distinct. For example, high-mountain tea from a particular region  is influenced by both the local mountainous soil and the thinner, cooler and cleaner air of the mountains that result in its characteristic scent and taste. This is loosely termed as the air of the mountains and holds the key to reviewing teas and making professional recommendations.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A conversation with tea 与茶对话

Tea, like a recluse, hardly gives away a lot, quietly awaiting the right person to come its way before emanating a fragrance and sweetness that overwhelm and inspire. This conversation with tea can only flow when one understands the intrinsic and extrinsic elements that contribute to its very existence. The former being the tea variety or tea breed and the latter being a combination of factors that include terroir, local conditions and tea making techniques.

Based on one tea variety from various tea regions where differences in soil, climate and environment are obvious, it is not impossible to use tea manufacturing techniques to obtain the desired tea form. Hence, one variety is easily processed into different forms depending on the prevailing market demands. Anything from fragrant to rich, lightly roasted to heavily roasted teas can be made easily available.  

A thorough comprehension of tea varieties lets you make an informed choice without relying on labels and pricing. The crux lies in an overall understanding of the extrinsic elements that influence the development of a particular tea variety.