Here is the translation of the information about tea utensils for brewing Tie Guan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) Oolong tea:
- Covered Bowl - Ceramic Tea Set
The covered bowl tea set is a type of tea utensil consisting of a lidded bowl with a saucer underneath. It is also known as the "Three Realms Bowl," where the lid represents the heavens, the saucer the earth, and the bowl symbolizes humanity. Tasting tea from a covered bowl is a delightful experience. The tea lid is placed inside the bowl, and if a stronger tea is desired, the lid can be lightly scraped on the water's surface, causing the entire tea to flip and creating a nuanced flavor—light scraping for a milder taste and heavy scraping for a stronger brew, adding to its charm.
- Tea Sea (also known as "Fairness Cup")
The tea sea, also called a tea cup or fairness cup, resembles a handleless, wide-mouthed teapot. Given the precise timing required for brewing Tie Guan Yin Oolong tea, even a difference of a few seconds can significantly alter the tea's quality. To ensure uniform strength and avoid variations in concentration, the entire tea is poured into the fairness cup before being distributed into individual cups. The tea sea serves the purpose of evenly distributing tea strength and settling tea residue.
- Scent Cup
The scent cup, designed for appreciating the aroma of Tie Guan Yin Oolong, differs from a tasting cup with its slender shape. Paired with a drinking cup, the scent cup shares the same material. Placing a filter over it aids in straining tea leaves and residue. The scent cup is used for "turning the universe upside down," where after pouring the tea into the scent cup, it is gently lifted, allowing the tea enthusiast to deeply inhale the fragrance, enhancing the overall tea-tasting experience.
- Teapot - Made of Purple Clay or Vermilion Mud
Choose a teapot with a capacity for three or four cups (one-third full of dry tea leaves, producing enough water to fill the teapot when fully steeped). Precision in controlling water quantity is crucial. The selection process is quite meticulous.
- Tea Tray - Wide and Flat
Whether made of bamboo or wood, the tea tray, ideally not plastic to avoid any odors, is indispensable, especially during the first and second tea infusions, where precise timing is crucial. It helps in preventing uneven strength and allows for easy disposal of tea residue.
- Tea Spoon and Tea Hoe - Tools for Measuring Dry Tea Leaves
These tools, part of a set, are stored in a cylindrical container, collectively known as the "Tea Ceremony." They can be made from bamboo, wood, stone, or bone, with rosewood being a good choice. Accurate measurement of tea leaves directly influences the strength and flavor of the tea, requiring precision in usage.
- Stove and Water Kettle
Both electric and alcohol stoves are suitable, as long as they do not produce any odors during heating. These are essential, as most Gongfu teas require boiling water. It is crucial not to substitute them with water dispensers or electric kettles, as their set temperatures usually range between 90 to 95 degrees Celsius and the constantly boiling water may affect water quality.
- Cups - Thin-walled White Porcelain Cups
White porcelain cups with thin walls are preferable, as they do not affect the tea's color and flavor, and are easy to clean.
- Tea Storage Canister
Opt for a paper canister with an outer seal to secure airtight conditions. The paper canister provides light protection, while the airtight seal prevents odors and moisture. Store it in a cool and dry place, avoiding tin canisters with visible welding seams, as the welding agents may not be completely washable, resulting in undesirable flavors mixing with the tea.