Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Teacups, Coffee cups and Hot Coco cups part 4

Expresso cup

 The cup has evolved itself into seven functions made into different volume capacity.
A cupful usually measures at 4 ounces.
Sizes of cups are determined by the time of day the beverage is served, the potency - strength of the beverage and whether the beverage is thick or thin.

Demitasse for Turkish Coffee

The cup is made in seven sizes, each with a different volume capacity:
          Breakfast cup
          Coffee cup
          Chocolate cup
          After-dinner coffee cup
  Demitasse cup

Large cups and mugs 

  made to serve thin, hot beverages during breakfast and lunch
E.g. - coffee, tea, cocoa, or cider on a cold afternoon.

Modern hot coco mug
Small cups 
  • made to serve strong-tasting beverages 
  • E.g. - espresso,  drinks with a thick consistency - hot chocolate made from paste and potent drinks made with alcohol - grog. 

Turkish Coffee Serving Set

Vintage hot coco cups

·       Regardless of size, cups and mugs are filled approximately three-quarters full, except for the demitasse cup, which is filled half full.

Coffee cup


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Teacups - Gaiwan part 3

The gaiwan or 'Zhong" is a brewing bowl as well a drinking vessel.
It is literally a "Lidded Bowl."
The components to this has a lid, saucer and a bowl.
In some gaiwan sets a tea strainer made of porcelain comes as an inset.
There are also gaiwan sets that include cups and makes an excellent traveling companion.

The capacity of a gaiwan is usually between 4 to 6 ounces without tea leaves and would yield brewed tea in the amount of 3 to 4 ounces. 
The larger gaiwans are used for steeping tea and the smaller ones are used as drinking vessels for the individual.

Most gaiwans are usually made of ceramic or porcelain.
This allows for the vessel to be used with any tea preferred and will not absorb the odor of the specific tea.
An excellent vessel for testing and using with new teas or even scented teas.
The northern Chinese prefer to use the gaiwan to steep scented teas.
The gaiwan (covered bowl) also goes by other names Gai bei (covered cup), Ju zhong ( brewing cup).
Because porcelain loses heat quickly oolong and green teas are best steeped in gaiwans as these teas along with scented teas respond best to lower temperatures.

Gaiwans traditionally have no handles and it takes an experienced person to handle the hot steeping cup. 
Although, these vessels are beginning to take an evolution over the last few years.
The brewing vessels are being designed with spouts and handles with treading around them for added insulation.

purple clay contemporary ju zhong

ju zhong with a metal strainer

Celadon ju zhong

porcelain ju zhong


 Handling the gaiwan

 Be extra careful when usng these vessels. 
It takes skill and tolerance to high heat for ease of handling. 
When drinking from a gaiwan, the tea is sipped through the narrow gap between the lid that is angled and the rim of the cup.
Handling the gaiwan is done by balancing on one hand while the other hand tilts the lid over the top of the bowl to restrain the leaves.

See the following for further information on Steeping tea in a Gaiwan.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tea and Teacups - part 2

In tea culture, tea aficionados choose tea cups according to the color of the tea.

         Light-yellow oolong/Yellow tea - white ceramic tea cups with a decorative pattern (especially gold pattern)

         For bohea tea/Wu Yi style teas (the color is a little deeper than oolong tea) simple white ceramic cups are most suitable.

         For black tea (with a bright transparent red color) celadon stye tea cups are best.

    Green tea simple teacups are best.

Appreciating the tea leaves unfolding in the water is another enjoyment during tasting green tea.

        Yellow tea glazed ceramic cups are best.

      White tea (similar to a variety of oolong tea: Tit-guanyin) use simple white ceramic cups for deep-color tea, and cups with a light color and decorative pattern for light-color tea.

Dark tea - light-color tea cups to highlight the deep-color of the tea.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Teacups - part 1

The first cup moistens my lips and throat,
The second cup breaks my lonliness,
The third cup searches my barren entrails,
The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration,
The fifth sup purifies me,
The sixth cup calls me to the realms of the immortals,
The seventh cup - Ah, but I can take no more........

7th century Chinese poem

17th -18th century Chinese teacups - made of rhinocerus horns

Chinese: 茶杯 /chaa bay/ chá bēi
There are two kinds of tea cups: 
  • large teacups for making tea and holding tea 
  • small teacups for tasting tea.
Gongfu teacups for tasting tea

Most tea cups are made of ceramic, porcelain or purple sand earthenware. 
In tea culture, tea aficionados choose tea cups according to the color of the tea.

Chinese teacups are small when compared to the Western teacups.  
The cups generally are small and contained 2 or 3 sips of tea.
Some teacups are slightly larger particularly the Japanese and Korean styles.

The 'Zhong' or Gaiwan are also considered drinking cups as well as a brewing vessel. 

Gaiwan - for drinking and brewing tea

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Yixing teapots -18th/19th century

Three miniature Yixing teapots, 18th/19th century
Each of globular form with conical spout, loop handle and domed cover with knopped finial
 All with impressed seal marks -- maximum 4 in. (10 cm.) wide. (3)

Five Yixing teapots, 18th/19th century
Variously moulded with confronting dragon and phoenix, bamboo, rope motif, one with incised caligraphy, four with impressed marks -- maximum 5 in. (12.7 cm.) high. (5) 

A group of Yixing pottery teawares, 18th century

Each piece of cinquefoil form, variously decorated with cream relief moulded floral decoration, comprising a milk jug and cover, a teabowl and saucer, a larger saucer, and a cup with loop handle; and a cinquefoil teapot stand, similarly decorated -- maximum 6¼ in. (15.8 cm.) wide, 4¼ in. (10.5 cm.) high. (5)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Nanking Cargo - Zhuni Yixing Teapot

This teapot was discovered from Nanking cargo shipwreck.
 c1750 dated to Qing dynasty
Qinglong reign (AD1736-1795)
 Glaze degradation due to extensive immersion in seawater 
The original cover intact. 
This is consider middle size teapot with plain motif.

Period: Qing Dynasty
Condition: Excellent.
Measurement: L-18.5cm, H-14cm

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chinese Porcelain Teapot Early Ming Dynasty

Blue and white glazed porcelain teapot with peaches
 China, early Ming dynasty (1368-1644); unmarked. 

Dimensions: 16"H x 12"W x 7"D

Condition report:
Pockmarks and chipping to top; overall good condition.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tea Ware Care

Primed on the left and unprimed on the right

Cleaning teaware is about nuturing it.
Teaware is an investment to the practice of the art of brewing and drinking tea.
It will become your heirloom pieces.
Great care must be taken in the cleaning process.
Tea ware are tools.
Like all tools, when well cared  for will last a lifetime, perhaps becoming an heirloom.
Wash teapots in hot water with no soap.
Teapots that are made of clay must be primed before first use.
This will remove the residue of any loose clay sediments.
Teacups, if they are porcelain, wash it with soap and hot water.
If the cups are unglazed rinse well in hot water rubbing it with a paper towel, no soap.

After use

•Remove the old tea leaves from the teapot.
•Rinse thoroughly in hot water without soap and leave the teapot to air dry.
•When the teapot is dry, you may rub the teapot with a clean tea towel
  to remove water stains and to polish it.
•Make sure your teapot is air dried completely before doing the following.
•Put a little of the unbrewed tea leaves in the dried teapot and store away until next use.
•This will infuse the pot with the with its aroma.

Priming a brand new teapot

•Rinse the pot in hot water a few times.

•Soak the teapot in a strong infusion of the particular tea you will use for that teapot.
•Leave the teapot overnight in the infusion.
•Next day, remove the teapot from the infusion and rinse thoroughly in hot water without soap.
•Air dry the teapot before storing away.

It is recommended that ceramic/clay teapots be designated for one type of tea per teapot.
Ceramic/clay takes on the characteristic of whatever it contains and will therefore influence flavors and aromas.
Porcelain teapots may be used with multiple types of tea.

The teapot to the far left is about 15 years old and used with an aged puerh tea.
The teapot in the center is about 2 years old and used with a raw puerh tea.
The teapot on the far right is about 13 years old and used with Alishan premium tea.

Winter is Coming - Ginger Tisane

 The warmth of summer is slowly fleeing as the September nights and mornings hint at the coming of winter. Ginger tisanes are perfect to pr...