Mad Monk Tea Glossary – Teaware
Bamboo Cha He
Not to be confused with the desert that shares its name, Brown Betty is a classic teapot design from Britain. After the discovery of red clay deposits in the Stoke area of Staffordshire in 1695, artisans began to develop a brown glaze ceramic teapot unique to the area. As the years went on the unique Staffordshire red clay and the innovative wide design of the Brown Betty became regarded as the best teapots. The red clay was credited with better heat retention and improving the flavor of tea.
A cha he is a tea presentation vessel. It allows the tea pourer to display the beauty of the dry leaves to guests before brewing and is designed to easily allow the loose tea to be poured into the teapot or gaiwan. Some cha he for oolong and rolled tea are long and narrow half cut sections of bamboo. Twisted loose tea such as white and green use a ceramic cha he with a wide mouth on one end and a narrow funnel for transferring to the pot on the other end.
A tea table cloth used in dry table style gong fu brewing. The cloth is folded or cut to be a narrow but wide runner on the table. This serves as a centerpiece and staging area where the tea brewing is performed.
Also known as a gong dao bei, or fairness cup. A cha hai is a tea decanter used in chinese style tea brewing. Tea is brewed in a teapot or gaiwan and is then poured into the cha hai where the final tea brewed can mix together evenly before being presented to guests.
A traditional Japanese curved wooden scoop used for Matcha. The curved chashaku has no sides and requires precision and skill to lift a small amount of matcha into the chawan at a time.
A tea bowl used for preparing and drinking powdered tea. Chawan were imported to Japanese tea culture from China and over time have become identified with Japanese tea culture as the Japanese tea ceremony emerged with its own innovations along with influences from Korea. Modern Japanese chawan are high walled and flat on the bottom, ideal for whisking up matcha into a froth.
Cloths and napkins are present in every incarnation of tea culture. Experienced tea pourers know they should be available to quickly mop up any spills and used to wipe down dripping teaware after use.
A style of tea tray that allows for the draining of spilled water and tea onto the surface of the tray. These are essential for wet style gong fu tea brewing and allow the tea pourer to douse teapots with hot water during the session. Drain tray’s come have two main design styles; raised surfaces with catch tray underneath, or a hose system leading water down to a bucket under the table.
A new style of gaiwan with a secure fitting lid and spout. Very similar to a hohin.
A circular filter with a shallow funnel shape designed to sit on top of a cha hai. At the center of the funnel there is either a silk, mesh, or metal filter to strain out small bits of tea escaping the pot or gaiwan.
森正洋デザイン研究所 (Mori Masahiro Design Studio, LLC.) / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)
A chinese tea brewing vessel. A gaiwan is a wide cup with a lid and saucer designed to easily pour out the tea with the lid holding the leaves back.
A Japanese teapot that is somewhere between a kyusu and a gaiwan. A hohin has no handle on its sides. It has a circular chamber that is about as tall as a typical kyusu. The spout is wide and open, good for fast pouring.
A device that holds loose tea leaves while being submerged in hot water. Strainers can be egg shaped, cylindrical, or include novelty shapes. Also refers to the part of a tea pot which prevents the tea from flowing into the spout.
A device used to heat water for tea. Can be designed for an open flame or electric.
A traditional bamboo whisk used in making matcha. Water and matcha are whisked together with an “M” shaped motion to whip up the matcha suspension with the desired froth.
A central Asian tea vessel that combines kettle and teapot together. A samovar is a large beautiful device that dispenses strong tea and hot water, allowing an individual to dilute their tea to their preferred strength. A common social tool for tea gatherings in Iran, Russia, Turkey and the near East.
In technical tea brewing tea is weighted on a scale in grams prior to brewing. Experienced tea makers don’t always use this tool, but because tea varies wildly in its density knowing the weight is important to keep the desired leaf to water ratio.
A Japanese tea brewing vessel similar in shape to a gaiwan or hohin. The shibordashi has a very shallow brewing chamber with a small grill to filter tea when pouring. Shibordashi are effective at brewing the sensitive shade grown gyokuro green tea. The wide, shallow chamber exposes more of the water’s surface to the air which promotes cooling, which is desirable in brewing sensitive green teas.
A water bowl used in dry table gong fu style brewing. Waste water and spent leaves can be easily discarded into this decorative bowl that sits on the table.
Invented in 1903 in the United States as a way of packaging tea samples, the tea bag is a porous sack containing tea. The tea bag can be submerged in water, allowing the water to permeate the tea and holding the loose tea inside. The tea bag has grown over the course of the 20th century to be the most popular and ubiquitous method for making tea in the world. In recent years silk pyramid shaped tea bags have been used to hold higher grade tea with more room to fit the larger leaves.
The tea brush is similar bamboo calligraphy brushes. Its main purpose in wet style gong fu tea brewing is to evenly distribute the water or tea poured on the clay teapots and other wet surfaces. Its helps the teaware look its best and shine with luster during a tea session.
A jar or box used to hold tea. Well made tea caddies are an essential tool in storing and ageing aromatic teas like white and oolong.
A small wood stick used in chinese style brewing. The tea needle is used to touch any surface the pourer would not wish to come into contact with their hands. It is used to coax loose tea out of a cha he and unclog teapot spouts and filters.
Tea pots are vessels for brewing loose tea. Designs vary widely but the basic concept is that tea and hot water are put into the primary chamber from a lid in the top and the brewed tea is poured out a spout at the other end. There is often a filter between the brewing chamber and the spout to separate the leaves from the tea. Tea pots can range from over 1 liter to less than 100 milliliters.
Tong used in gong fu brewing that allows the pourer to handle tea cups without using their hands.
A modern tea brewing tool designed to make tea while away from the tea table. Tea tumblers are used to brew tea in the chamber, sometimes with the help of a detachable infuser basket.
A specialized dull knife designed to pry loose tea from compressed cakes and brick. The two main styles of tea knife are wide and needle thin. The wide variety is useful for loose compression cakes while the needle variety is better suited for heavy compression.
A Japanese cast iron kettle. Testubin are renown for their effect on water quality and heat retention.
A Chinese clay teapot made from zisha, purple clay. Yixing pots are named after the city of Yixing near the mines and kilns that produce this sought after clay. Zisha has a profound effect on tea and water and are said to increase in quality and value as they become antiques.
A Japanese style of tea cup used in everyday tea drinking. There are no handles but are made with thick material and much taller than they are wide.
A Japanese tea tool used to cool water. Japanese green tea is steamed which causes it to be more sensitive to boiling water. In lieu of a thermometer, the boiling water is poured from the kettle into the wide open yuzamashi to cool before it is poured over the tea.
極地狐 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)
Barry Donnelly, Mad Monk Tea
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