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Red Blossom Blog

Teaware Pairing: The Perfect Pot for Every Tea

Teaware Pairing: The Perfect Pot for Every Tea

With so many different tea styles and culturally distinct brewing customs from around the world, it can be difficult to know what equipment is best suited for making your favorite teas. In truth, most pots are capable of brewing almost any tea. But just as geographic isolation has led to the development of many different tea styles, it has also created parallel developments in teaware. Many teas are complemented by the teaware from nearby regions, where local tastes have refined teaware designs to best suit their most common teas.

Now that modern globalization has made these local specialties available around the world, the connections between tea and teaware are more obscure. Most important distinctions between brewing vessels can be boiled down to the size, material, and strainer type. With these factors in mind, here are our top teaware recommendations for each category of tea.

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5 Reasons to Brew Tea in a Gaiwan

5 Reasons to Brew Tea in a Gaiwan

Though the first gaiwans were developed in the Ming Dynasty, around the same time as the first teapots, the “lidded bowl” never caught on worldwide with the same fervor. Today, the close association between gaiwans and Chinese teas gives them an exotic reputation that can be intimidating for new brewers, but they’re actually a highly practical tool for both everyday brewing and serious tasting. We use gaiwans on a daily basis for tastings in our shop, and recommend them often for newcomers to gong fu cha. Here are five reasons why we love them, and think you will too!

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Picking the Perfect Teapot: Cast Iron vs. Ceramic

Picking the Perfect Teapot: Cast Iron vs. Ceramic

Picking the right teapot can be difficult, whether it’s for your first brewing set or just a new addition to your growing collection. Finding a single pot with the right combination of size, pour, and heat retention is critical, since these factors can directly impact the flavor of your brew. Add aesthetics to the mix, and the perfect pot can seem elusive, if not imaginary. One way to narrow the search is to consider the material the pot is made of.

Cast iron teapots, for instance, have gained great popularity in modern times, and are commonly used to serve tea in cafes or restaurants. In contrast, most tea connoisseurs opt for small pots, often made of unglazed clay, for their daily brewing sessions. What is the difference, and which material is the best choice for your next brewing vessel?

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4 Reasons Why Chinese Teapots Are So Small

4 Reasons Why Chinese Teapots Are So Small

You may know that Chinese culture considers tea an appropriate beverage for any moment of every day. So it may seem counterintuitive that despite the vast quantities of tea consumed in China, traditional teapots (like those from Yixing) rarely hold more than eight ounces of water. To those of us familiar with western traditions, the small size of Chinese teapots can seem unusual, if not downright impractical. But in fact, there are several very logical reasons to use small teaware, even if you’re not Chinese.

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Fine China: 4 Types of Porcelain Clay

Fine China: 4 Types of Porcelain Clay

Chinese pottery has a long history, and is an integral part of the foundations of modern China. One of the greatest early achievements of Chinese potters was the development of denser clay materials that could be fired at extremely high temperatures, resulting in stronger finished pieces. While Chinese tradition calls all of these high-fired clays ‘porcelain’ even today, English speakers typically think of porcelain as a bright white, fine-grained clay, distinctly different from more common ‘stoneware’ pottery. When used in teaware, this type of porcelain offers a white background that makes it easy to see the color of the tea and leaves, along with a light, easy-to-handle weight and a sharp pouring edge that prevents dribbles.

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Yixing Authenticity: Handmade vs. Slip Cast

Yixing Authenticity: Handmade vs. Slip Cast

Authenticity of Yixing pots is an amorphous concept: defined differently by almost every source, and practically impossible to prove in a finished pot. Experts and serious collectors may debate the quality of different source mines or master artists, but the most commonly discussed variable is the method used to craft the raw clay into a refined teapot. Since crafting methods often leave tell-tale signs in the finished construction, this is used as a measure of quality.

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Song Dynasty Celadon: The Five Great Kilns

Song Dynasty Celadon: The Five Great Kilns

China has a long history of ceramic artistry. In the Song Dynasty, around the same time that Chinese literati were developing tea culture into an art form, potters across China were creating the first true celadon glazes, colored with iron oxides and fired at high temperatures. The aesthetics of these early potters would become legendary, retaining popularity even into the modern day. Later writers in the Ming and Qing dynasty identified Five Great Kilns of the Song Dynasty, memorializing these styles and securing their legacy. Ever since, these distinct celadon glazes have been coveted and imitated, forming the inspiration for potters throughout history, in China and across the world.

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