Tea is an important part of Chinese culture, and it has been brewed for many centuries. In fact, Chinese have come up with teaware and accessories for brewing tea to make the whole experience feel as classic as ever- bamboo tea tray, clay teapot, tea scoop, just to name a few.
Without these teaware tools and accessories, you cannot find the genuine taste of Chinese tea. The best thing with these tea tools and accessories is that they have a cultural background. For instance, the clay teapots date back to the 15th century and are made using Zisha, a special clay found in the Yixing region.
Well, history aside, let’s discuss the most popular and basic Chinese teaware tools and accessories:
Known as “chá zé” in Chinese, this traditional tool is used for measuring tea leaves and for preciseness when placing them in a teapot. Scoops are made from bamboo, metal, or bone, while others can be made from valuable antiques.
In native Chinese, they are recommended for beginners to help them get the standard measurement right and make it easier for them to handle tea leaves.
You may have seen it in movies and wondered why on earth would Chinese drink their tea in such small cups? However, there is a meaning behind the size. Although shallow and very small as compared to Western cups, Chinese teacups emphasize ‘quality over quantity.' In fact, this is one of the aspects of Gong Fu Cha, where concentration is savored in every drop of tea.
Although they are available in different shapes, their wide, small size enables one to pick them when they are full of hot tea without burning your fingers.
Just like anywhere else, Chinese uphold hygiene when preparing their drinks and meals. Tea tongs, also known as tea chopsticks, ensure proper handling of tea leaves when preparing tea. They are inexpensive and are indispensable tools for picking up and cleaning any stray leaves from your tea preparation area.
Tea tongs are also used to pick teacups to avoid the person serving from inappropriately holding tea cups.
This teaware tool is used to re-direct or collect the water that splashes out when pouring tea. A tea draining tray, also called Gongfu tea tray, keep the table from getting wet and messy. These trays have in-built water reservoirs that lead to an external reservoir. Nowadays, they feature modern, beautiful design, but they still retain their classic look.
When choosing a tea tray, make sure it is wide, flat, and stable. Bamboo or wooden tea trays will never get out of style and will help create a natural elegance on your table. After use, ensure to clean the tray to keep them from stinking.
How can Gongfu Cha Tea be complete without these distinct unglazed clay teapots? Currently, there are over 200 basic styles of teapots having different handles, bodies, bases, and lids. Teapots not only makes serving Gong Fu Cha tea easier but also makes it taste better.
When choosing a teapot, go for one with a lid that fits the body’s opening to keep heat and flavor locked inside.
Rounded-body teapots are better since they spread out tea leaves and make the tea flavor even. Some of the common materials you can check out for include porcelain, glass, purple clay, or even stone. Purple clay teapots are the most preferred thanks to their air permeability and low thermal conductivity, which means they help tea retain its temperature.
This a porcelain cup with a lid for making, drinking, and serving tea. It can be used in place of teapots. Their hard surface makes them neutral, and thus, they do not alter the taste of your tea. It is used to steep tea and measures tea to ensure everyone gets a fair share of tea.
They are small and are usually made of Zisha, ceramic, or glass with volumes of 100-150ml.
Also called fairness cup, a pitcher is used in cases where tea strength is different for each cup. To use a pitcher, you pour tea from each teapot and serve it directly from there into the teacups. It is normally used by beginners when starting out to ensure everyone drinks tea with the same concentration.
For those who wouldn’t want to buy one item at a time, you can consider going for the starter kit package. It is normally inexpensive and can include a teapot, a tea tray, pitcher, teacups, Gaiwan, and tools, although different brands differ in the composition of starter kits.
At least now you know a thing or two about Chinese teaware tools and accessories. Which other tools do you think we have left out? Feel free to engage us in the comment box below.