Appreciating the Use of Tea Ware

Tea ware generally refers to items such as teapots, teacups, tea bowls, tea saucers, tea trays, and more. In China, there is a wide variety of tea ware, which is not only practical but also holds significant artistic value. It is renowned both domestically and internationally, and it has been favored by tea enthusiasts throughout history. Tea ware is divided into several categories based on the materials and origin, including Yixing clay tea ware, porcelain tea ware, lacquerware tea ware, glass tea ware, metal tea ware, and bamboo and wooden tea ware, among others. Below is a detailed introduction to the types and uses of tea ware:

  1. Usage of Teapots: Among all tea ware, teapots play a central role. Common types include Yixing clay teapots, porcelain teapots, and glass teapots. The choice of teapot should match the type of tea being brewed. For example, Yixing clay teapots are suitable for brewing oolong tea, porcelain teapots work well for green tea, and jasmine tea can be brewed in ceramic or glass teapots.

  2. Usage of Teacups: There is a wide variety of tea cup types, shapes, and sizes, and it's best to use different teacups for different types of tea. In recent years, there has been a trend of using scent cups for smelling the tea aroma while drinking. It's recommended to select teacups that complement the teapot in terms of shape and color. To appreciate the color of the tea and facilitate cleaning, the interior of the cups should ideally be glazed and of a white or light color. The cups should be comfortable to hold and sip from.

  3. Usage of Tea Trays: Tea trays are used to hold teacups and other tea utensils and to collect the tea that may spill or be poured out during the tea brewing process. There are various types of tea trays, including plastic and stainless steel products, available in circular and rectangular shapes.

  4. Usage of Gaiwan (Lidded Bowl): A Gaiwan consists of a tea bowl, a lid, and a saucer. It is used to hold tea leaves, add hot water, and brew tea. The lid is used to steep the tea, and the tea is sipped directly from the bowl. Typically, one steeping is sufficient, and it can be resteeped if desired.

  5. Usage of Tea Strainers: Tea strainers are placed over the teapot's opening when pouring tea to prevent tea leaves from spilling out.

  6. Usage of Tea Spoons: Tea spoons, also known as tea scoops, are used to scoop out used tea leaves from the teapot. They are essential for removing tightly packed tea leaves from the pot, which can be challenging to do by hand.

  7. Usage of Tea Towels: Tea towels are used to dry the teapot and remove any leftover water at the bottom of the teapot or tea pitcher before serving tea. They can also be used to wipe up any spills on the table.

  8. Usage of Tea Canisters: Tea canisters are used for storing tea leaves. They should be airtight, free from odors, and should not allow light to pass through. Common materials for tea canisters include tin, stainless steel, and ceramics.

  9. Usage of Tea Measure (Chazé): Tea measures are used to transfer tea leaves into the teapot. They are often made of bamboo.

  10. Usage of Tea Tongs: Tea tongs, also known as tea chopsticks, serve a similar purpose to tea spoons. They are used to remove tea leaves from the teapot and can also be used to pick up and clean tea cups without touching them directly.

  11. Usage of Tea Needle: Tea needles are used to clear any blockages or residues inside the teapot, ensuring smooth water flow.

  12. Usage of Tea Boat: A tea boat is a vessel used to hold the teapot. After brewing the tea in the teapot, it is poured into the tea boat to keep it warm. The hot water from the tea boat can also be used to rinse tea cups.

  13. Usage of Tea Pitcher (Chahai): A tea pitcher, also known as a fairness cup or chahai, is used to hold the brewed tea. It allows the tea to be evenly distributed into individual cups and can also include a strainer to remove tea debris or leaves.

  14. Usage of Tea Hoppers: Tea hoppers, similar to tea measures and tea strainers, are used to transfer tea leaves from a tea canister to a teapot. They can also serve as decorative items and may be made from bamboo or folded paperboard if a dedicated tea hopper is not available.

These are the various types of tea ware and their uses in the traditional Chinese tea culture.

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