Once you find yourself in China, you might discover that preparing tea is not as easy as it was in your own country. Numerous teapots, different cups, utensils that all have their specific usage, may confuse you in some extent. But, once you start working on your own collection of tea ware for perfect home brewing of your favorite Chinese tea, you will prepared to make the perfect cup of tea in the comfort of your own home. In China, you will find out that not all Chinese people own a proper tea utensils. Discover what the most popular way of brewing tea is, what you need for your own Chinese tea ceremony, and how to save money on teapots.
Is the Tea Ceremony Common in Everyday Life of Chinese People?
Answer to this question is quite simple. No. Chinese people do love their tea, but most of them brew it in the simplest way they can – by putting tea leaves in a regular western cup or glass and pouring hot water over them. Tea leaves are not removed from the cup because the tea is supposed to be sipped while still hot, and this way leaves can be used multiple times.
What You Really Need to Prepare Tea at Home?
Assuming you have already bought some high quality tea, the cup brewing option might not sound so appealing to you. All that beautiful tea ware is not only useful, but would look extremely beautiful on the shelf in your dining room. You might want to buy some Chinese teapots and cups, to prepare the tea in a traditional way. Although Chinese tea ceremony uses numerous different utensils, what you really need is either a gaiwan or a standard teapot and few little cups. A strainer is also needed, small pitcher is extremely useful, and some nice tea tray not to spill tea all over your table. These are the basic utensils you will need to enjoy making Chinese tea in a traditional way at home. There is other tea ware and utensils that are and should be used, but are not that necessary for a beginner.
Basic Types of Chinese Teapots
The most popular Chinese teapots are gaiwan and zisha. Yixing zisha from Jiangsu is a special handmade teapot made of Yixing clay. One should never wash it with detergent, and ideally use different teapots for different type of tea. They can be really small or bigger, so the best would be to choose one based on your drinking preferences. Other popular zisha teapot is called Zhuni, and it is extremely difficult to find. Gaiwan is yet another extremely useful teapot. It is actually a larger cup with a lid, and it takes a bit of practice to get used to brewing tea in it. Once you master the skill of using gaiwan, it could become your favorite tea ware. They are usually made of porcelain or glass and can get quite expensive.
Discovering Tea Cups
If you have a friend who has visited a tea shop while travelling to China, you may have heard that he or she drank at least ten cups of tea at once. You may have wondered how this is possible without having any consequences. The answer lies in the size of a tea cup. Chinese tea cups are very different from western cups. Their size varies from 15ml to 500 ml, depending on their purpose and style. 500 ml cups are of course western ones, and they can also be found in Chinese stores. However, traditional cups are nowhere close to be called standard for us.
Should Tea Ware be Inexpensive?
Beware of cheap tea ware. If you happen to find a good deal online for a Zhuni or Yixing teapot, you can be almost certain you will not be getting the real thing. Expensive tea ware should always be bought from a trusted seller and producer, and your trip to China could prove to be the best chance to do so. Porcelain tea ware is usually much cheaper, and you can find really cheap tea ware for everyday use. However, it does pay off to invest a bit more because your tea ware will not only serve you for dozens of years, but will also bring out the best from tea leaves.