Exquisite tea enhance the tea experience
Drinking tea is pleasant, so tea accessories should be pleasing. A good rule for choosing tea accessories is that they bring you joy when you see and use them while brewing tea.
Aroma Cup (Wen Xiang Bei)
The aroma cup (wen xiang bei) is used to smell the aroma of an empty teacup. It usually pairs with the tasting cups and saucers to make a set and is made with the same material.
Mostly porcelain, but there are also zisha and pottery aroma cups with a white glaze on the inside.
It’s better to choose a porcelain aroma cup (wen xiang bei), because if it’s zisha, the aroma will be absorbed by the clay. If it’s used for sipping from, zisha is a good choice, however, if it’s only used for smelling the aroma of the tea, it’s better to select a porcelain one.
- For smelling, after pouring the liquor from the aroma cup (wen xiang bei) to the tasting cup, hold the aroma cup with both hands to smell, or smell the cup as you roll the cup between your palms.
- The aroma cup is used with the tasting cup and the saucer. It is rarely used alone. But some stores might put it on the tea table as a decoration.
Aged Shou Mei – 2014
$23.00 – $290.00
Dry Leaf: dried fruit, grape leaves
Liquor Colour: crystal clear golden-bronze
Liquor Aroma: sweet raisins
Flavour: prune (dried), lingering sweetness, creamy finish
Mouthfeel: full, bright & clean
Gaiwan Lid: light perfume
This Aged Shou Mei delivers many infusions of delightful sipping and can even be boiled after your finished with the gaiwan for further sipping! The dry leaves emit hints of dried fruit and grape leaves and brew to a clear, glowing golden-bronze liquor that reminded me of sweet raisins. The liquor flavour keeps that sweet aspect but leans more to the prune side and has a fantastic lingering effect that finishes with a creaminess that fills the mouth. Later infusions (7 and later) started to reveal some woody and mineral notes but still had a lingering sweetness. After many infusions the tea was still going strong. I also boiled this tea fresh (no gaiwan brewing first – but you can if you want). It doesn’t have any hints of bitterness or astringency.
Taimu Mountain, Fuding, Fujian Province.
3g/150ml at 95°C ~ 100°C for 1~2 min. About 5 Infusions.
Sealed well in a cool, dry, dark location.
It’s used to hold the tea filter.
Filter holders are made from porcelain, stainless steel, metal, etc. Filter holders come in many different styles and designs such as animal-shaped or hand-shaped, to enhance their decoration quality.
Metal ones might become rusty, so it’s better to choose porcelain or stainless steel filter holders.
Be sure to clean and dry the filter hold after use. Avoid prolonged exposure to water.
Tea Toolset (Cha Dao Liu Yong)
Tea toolset is the name for the six gongfu brewing tools, tea tool holder, tea needle, tea tongs, teaspoon, tea scoop, and tea funnel.
Tea pin(cha zhen): to clear blockages from the teapot spout.
Tea tongs (cha jia): to handle the teacups during warming and serving.
Tea scraper (cha shi): to sweep tea leaves from a tea container or tea holder.
Tea scoop (cha ze): to scoop dry leaves from the tea container.
Tea funnel (cha lou): to expand the teapot opening and preventing tea leaves from overflowing.
Tea tool holder (cha tong): used to hold the tools above.
Usually made with bamboo or wood. The tea tool container can come in different shapes such as cylindrical, square, or vase shapes.
Choosing a tea toolset (cha dao liu yong) is mostly personal preference. Vase shapes look elegant, square ones are minimalist, but ideally, it is matched with other tea accessories to increase the overall beauty and appeal of your tea table setup.
- When fetching the tools, the hand should not touch parts of the tool that will come in contact with tea.
- Tea toolsets (cha dao liu yong) are tools that help the brewing flow, making it elegant, smooth, and convenient.
Tea Appreciation Bowl (Cha he)
The function of the tea appreciation bowl (cha he) is similar to the tea scoop (cha ze) or tea funnel (cha lou). It’s used to get the dry leaves from the container to the brewing vessel. But the cha he also allows the tea leaves to be observed. It’s often used in tea ceremony performance to enjoy the look of the dry leaves.
There are materials like porcelain, bamboo, wood, stone, etc. They are most commonly white porcelain inside, which is elegant and practical.
- When handling the tea leaves, the hand should be touching the opening of the appreciation bowl (cha he).
- The way to hold a tea appreciation bowl (cha he): hold the bowl between thumb and index finger. Thumb holds one side of the appreciation bowl (cha he) while the other 4 fingers hold the other side as if it’s pinching it. The other hand holds the bottom of the cha he, present it to the guest.