Sunday, 19 December 2010

shrinking my teapots

Recently I was asked several questions by Jordan Williams at Tyros of Tea (, and one of them was about the teapots I use. I have a few Art Deco teapots that I happily use, but have not branched into other tea gear. When I read about Gong Fu , I resolved to get a teapot specifically for such brewing. But in the meantime, I was making do with a large measuring cup and a strainer. Needless to say, I never made photos of my ridiculous contraption.

But now I've been given a more suitable teapot. Although the ideal size seems to be much smaller than I'm used to, I'm slowly moving my way down. I like to brew a proper pot of tea. So here's my considerably smaller teapot that I've decided is only for Oolong.

So I did a bit of searching, but don't know what this type of teapot is called. Until I know, I'm going to call it Compromise. It's not nearly as small as it probably should be, but it's as close as I can get until now.


  1. It looks like something between a Duanni and Zhuni clay pot, judging by the colour.

  2. That is an unusual and nice looking tea pot. Do you know where it came from? I noticed you said it was given to you. I don't know what you'd call it either. Actually it reminds me a bit of a coffee pot because of its elongated shape. Yes, I realize it isn't one. Wonder what the Chinese on it means?

  3. Is it made of clay?
    And I second Jackie's question on the meaning of the Chinese on the pot.

  4. Brewing is totally a matter of personal taste; find what works for you.

    I've found that if you attempt gong fu style brewing in too large a teapot, the leaves unfurl more fully and more quickly, which can require you to shorten the steeping time. But if you take this into account and take time to master the particular teapot you are working with, the results can be just as good.

    I think gong fu is more about figuring out how to work with what you have than it is about doing it the "correct" way. Gong fu translates to "great skill", not "great teapot".

  5. Fox-I looked at pictures of both of those teapots, and neither looked that much like mine. But I'll keep looking.

    Jackie & Ice-the Japanese or Chinese script is a mystery to me. I'd certainly like to find out what it means.

    Alex-Thanks. That's exactly what I needed to hear. I did let some tea steep a bit too long yesterday, and I've learned the hard way not to repeat that experiment.

    Mr Devotea-your suggestion is under consideration.

  6. The teapot is an Yixing tea pot. Made in Yixing from the local 'purple clay'. Yixing is an area which is also famous for tea. Though the clay is unique to the area.
    The clay varies in coloyur from beige through to brown / puple but can be coloured with metal oxides.
    In its plastic (unfired) form it is highly plastic and can be formed by hand into moulds to make very smooth pots, as the clay dries it can be carved & this together with different colours means that an artist can make a pot worth thousands of dollars. Yet in the nearby villages to Yixing the cottage industries can make quite acceptable teapots for a few Yuan - I think my first cost 13RMB - less than US$2.

    When the clay is fired (biscuit fire) it obviously stronger but it is still porous - so when you make tea in it it absorbs the tea into the fired clay. The legend is that after a life time of use it will have absorbed so much tea you won't need to add any tea, just hot water to get as brew.

    Because it absorbs tea it's often recommended you use a different pot for every different tea you want.