Monday, March 11, 2013

Learn Chinese on a Chaxi (Part 2)

Let's resume our lesson from Part 1, shall we?

Two weeks ago, some of the most common teaware items were introduced on my blog. They include: 1. 废水碗 Fei4 shui3 wan3, 2. 茶杯 Cha2 bei1, 3. 盘子 Pan2 zi3, 4. 茶布 cha2 bu4 ..... 7. 茶海 cha2 hai3.

I will continue this posting with 8. 茶叶罐 cha2 ye4 guan4, also known as a tea caddy. In a cha xi, tea masters seek out balance where different aspects come together harmoniously. Branding on tea packaging affects one's judgement as fancily packaged tea leaves could be perceived more favourably than a rather plainly packed tea leaves. By introducing a tea caddy into our cha xi, we can do away this problem and depending on the type of tea and the material of your tea caddy, tea can actually improve using a suitable storage jar under the right conditions. So far, I have no complaints about this pewter storage jar that I have available in two sizes: tea for everyday use at 50g in capacity, tea prepared for longer term storage at 100 g storage capacity.

9. 茶荷 cha2 he2 This is a tea leaves display plate that I use for apportioning a suitable amount of tea before brewing. By preparing the right amount of tea beforehand, you can immediately add tea into your teapot after preheating. Doing so, minimises heat loss (yes, a few seconds lost in tea makes quite a difference in taste) and the tea master's movements can appear swifter.

10. 水壶 shui3 hu2, water vessel. This is a Japanese pewter pot turned water vessel that I keep ready on the side when my boiling kettle needs a refill. The pewter further refines the water before pouring into the kettle.

Brewing with a Gaiwan 盖碗

11. 煮水壶 zhu3 shui3 hu2, boiling kettle. Water is an important component in preparing tea. Between using an electric kettle and a hot plate, I prefer heating water slowly on a hot plate to yield better tasting results. An electric kettle boils water in a much shorter timespan than a hotplate. However, the high speed of boiling water electrically means very little room for controlling the boiling process. In the end, there is always a tendency that water overboils in an electric kettle that explains for the harsher taste of water boiled in this manner.

Personally, I have heard a lot about boiling water over a charcoal stove. From the little bit that I understand, this is a very ideal method of bringing water the boil. The water as I experienced it was very soft, palatable and well worth the hassle! For the serious tea learners who would really like to give this a try, please make sure to keep your surroundings well-ventilated at all times to eliminate any risk of carbon monoxide posioning.

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