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9 article dans la catégorie "Autour du thé"

A teapot as cultural flag: teapots and nations

Teapot

Each country has its tea tradition - and each country has its own teapot! The aesthetic and functional differences between teapots vary from country to country due to several factors. One thinks of different story, a cultural preference, a type of tea - or tea ritual - which matches the territory in question.

Japan:

Examining teapots of different cultures has a nice advantage: you inevitably end up finding shapes or surprising visual effects. The Japanese Kyusu is mostly used to infuse green tea. Its small size and light material allows the conservation of just enough heat in the teapot ... but not too much, so as not to "cook" your tea! We generally recognized them from their strange appearance, with their extra grip which extrudes their side.

South Korea:

The common material of Korean teapots is ceramic, its totem color is white. Although you will find various forms of tea in Korea, that which is usually associated to the country isn’t obvious at first glance. In its simple lines, Korean white teapot looks like a coffee cup with a lid. Sellers have turned this sleek object in real touristic sign, gaily adding printed flags or popular quotes and slogans.

Nepal:

The typical tea from Nepal is easy to recognize once you get to know its salient features. Of bronze or of copper, the most remarkable Nepal teapots wear a flashy shade of turquoise and red coral. Be there inlaid gold or not, this teapot is so amazing that we imagine it enhancing the decoration of a room by its mere presence.

The first teapot, or: look at the history of tea and its containers

tea pot

A late birth

Since the history of tea is of several thousand years, one would imagine that the history of teapot too is as old as well, back to the time before Christ. But this is not the case: the teapot made its first appearances several centuries ago, certainly, but no for a full millennium. It is by searching in texts related to the Yuan Dynasty (13th-14th century) that we find the first mention of a teapot. Previously, the Tang Dynasty was boiling molded tea in a cauldron, pouring it then into bowls. The Song Dynasty, used to put the molded tea directly into service bowls and poured boiling water. Does that remind you a little of gestures of soluble coffee?

So it is with the Yuan dynasty that the teapot was born, loosely based on wine jugs of olden days, it is at this period that the tradition of precise infusion was born. For a flavored tea reveals much better flavors in a teapot! Once established, the teapot has never lost its relevance. From the next dynasty, the teapot was a common object, popular and appreciated. Thus, if the bowl (and therefore the Gaiwan) first made their appearance once the teapot came to life, she never went out of the spotlight.

A historic teapot: The Yixing teapot

The first officially recognized teapot goes under the name of "Yixing". Its color immediately catches attention: the Yixing teapot is made of red or purple clay. Over time, artists and potters began to paint these teapots, always making them more pleasing to the eye and thus not only giving them a useful function, but also decoration. Many also are encrusted with silver and gold: the Yixing teapot also suddenly became an object of admiration and envy.

The queen of the tea service: focus on teapot

Théière

Small history on the development of our teapots

The first teapots were born in China in the Yuan Dynasty. Before this age, we could do without it. Without the teapot, we boiled water and poured it into a bowl - the tea was added in directly in the cauldron or bowl, and each partial solution had its drawbacks. Yuan adapted wine containers to facilitate the preparation of tea, and in the next dynasty, teapots were a universal and beloved accessory. The oldest preserved teapot date from 1513 - it is exposed in the Flagstaff Museum in Hong Kong, specifically in its "Museum of Tea Accessories" section. We know: you're burning with the desire to go there!
At the time, teapots were very small - their function was then to infuse tea for a single portion, not repeating the infusion repeated steps. It is said that the Oriental tea drinkers drank out of the spout. Teapots are rarely so small in our time, their role being to keep tea warm (this works best when the volume is high). Furthermore, given the social function of tea - tea time or the Japanese tea ceremony - it is not surprising that a container of larger infusion is preferred so that tea can be shared rather than just prepared for one person.

The aesthetics of a teapot

The shape of the teapot has become a symbol in itself. It varies widely - elongating or blistering at taste - but no matter the changes, it remains recognizable by its beak and curved end, its handle and lid. Teapots materials also vary. When tea was gaining popularity in Europe, it was a porcelain teapot that was associated with it, because tea was a luxury, and imported porcelain symbolized that luxury. Today, porcelain is the material of choice, as well as ceramics and silver. Glass is also a great material, especially when you infuse flower tea or colored tea (tea with raspberries, mint tea, tea blueberry, etc.)

How-to: the tea infuser, the accessory for all modes

Tea infusers have a little broken history. Dynasty after dynasty, China did not think about it. Necessity being the mother of invention, it appears that the Chinese did not need it: they just poured their hot water over the tea leaves, leaving the leaves swell and infuse water from the teapot. Instead of infusing, the Chinese invented accessories to remove the leaves.
It was in Britain that the infusers emerged and their popularity exploded in the late 19th - early 20th century. However, when a merchant named Sullivan sold tea in silk bags, disposable tea bags were invented and gained popularity in the market.

Disposable bag or infuser?

Teas sold in bags have mixtures and pre-decided amounts, and most of the time, these individual disposable bags comprise venting tea rather that the leaves themselves. It is possible to buy individual disposable infuser paper ... but with the return of loose tea, Chinese or here, infusers are increasingly fashionable. They control the desired quantities and produce a well-brewed tea - without having to sift, sort, or provide issues fishing the floating particles following the infusion. Practical and useful!

Freedom of Choice

Another reason behind the new "boom" of tea infusers: the impressive array of shapes and different looks. Although tea infusers may be very common (metal mesh balls, for example), you will find fun and original variations. Infusers surmounted by shark fins or by a plastic duck with infusers having the effigy of animals or humans taking a dip in your cup, these infusers are not only useful: they are pleasing, perfect to offer as a gift. Who would not melt immediately in front of their unusual charm?

When talking about tea Accessory, talking about a teacup is obvious, unmistakable, it even creates expressions around the subject ("It's not my cup of tea") whose origin is then forgotten.
Yet, there are several characteristics to that cup of tea! Its forms and materials have evolved since the first models were fashioned in clay, a marvel of Oriental pottery dating back centuries before the year 0.

The eternal pursuit of progress: the modern tea accessories

cup-hand-mug-potatoes-large.jpg

The history of tea is a long story of love, through centuries, dynasties and continents. Just as there are books dedicated to the history of tea, you will find tea services and teapots in museums. This shows how tea is part of the tradition! If traditional accessories vary slightly from country to country, the fact remains that when we think of "traditional accessory", we rather imagine the pretty teapot ancestry rather than the electric tea heaters and D.E.L. lights!

Tea Boxes:

One must keep his tea somewhere! If today, individual packages are very common, it must be remembered that this is a fairly recent phenomenon. In yesteryear, one kept his tea leaves in a tin containers, lacquered wood, porcelain, ceramic - or even aluminum.

Gaiwan:

The Gaiwan is a typical tea accessory from China. In fact, there is a covered cup to better infuse the delicate teas (like white or green tea) than a teapot. The Gaiwan can be used for any type of tea, though. As the infusion container is less bulky, water also cools faster.

Yuzumashi:

This accessory is a Japanese classic. It can have a very simplistic look, a little like a gravy boat, but can also take an elegant or cute appearances in different materials and colors. Its role: to help cool the water after boiling, to arrive at the proper infusing temperature!

Chasen:

Halfway between the kitchen whisk and the garden rake, the Chasen is traditionally made of bamboo and used to whisk the matcha. In Japan, matcha has a range of traditional accessories: spoon matcha (chashaku), the appointed box (Natsume), and of course the chasen and the Tate Chasen, where one rests chasen.

A fully equipped tea: collectibles and to use

The world of tea is a rich universe. There are the most traditional teas (green tea, white tea, black tea, oolong or jasmine tea, for example) and today's more elaborate tea blends (their names are often peculiar and they combine unctuous flavors, like chocolate and caramel, or fruity, such as orange, lemon or pineapple, to types of green teas or chai). There are also tea accessories.

Basic material, in all its forms

There are tea accessories that you already know, must-haves, if you will. Even a child who has never seen tea in his house will know what a teapot is (only thanks to Alice in Wonderland!) And, of course, a cup. The cups can be printed mugs to your taste, just as they can be tiny or delicate, like the more traditional tea cups. Also, if you buy loose tea instead of tea in a tea bag, you will need an infuser to avoid tea leaves or other components with every sip!

Yesterday and tomorrow

We are more and more used to having tea ready in a few minutes (thanks to powerful electric kettles) which stays hot for a long time (thanks to insulating thermos). With a new way of life comes new equipment, after all! And modern tea accessories are often as practical as they are aesthetic. Light but durable material; sometimes eccentric and delirious forms ... but above all, more control and flexibility in the ways of using and drinking tea.
Traditional accessories, for their part, are often made of heavy materials (tin kettle, for example) or very fragile (glass or porcelain), but they have the irresistible charm of a tea service "à l'au old ", where each object has its function. Using traditional tea accessories also calls for slowness and meditation: drinking your tea thus becomes a privileged experience.

How tea is made: From Last to First in a tea life

Producing tea is very complex. The tea leave must go through several steps before it becomes a little tea bag that the consumer drops in a cup with hot water or a tea that we put in a filter using a tea spoon. And if the consumer can’t choose one of the tea, he just has to pick assorted teas to taste various kinds. The production process will follow after this short message of someone who has a lot on the heart.

tea bag

Logic: I never understood why we must follow the alphabetical order. Today, let’s be crazy! Let’s just rewind a journey in the pants of a teacup instead of fast forwarding it.

Before we talk about how tea is made, we have to know that there is only one root of tea, but two species: Thea sinensis (China) and Thea assamica (India). The difference in taste lies in either the production method or by adding different flavors or aromas to make flavored tea (such as cinnamon or vanilla) or both of these reasons.

This kind of planting is probably one of the last agricultural products that is being harvested by hand, by the old school method. The quality of the tea is associated with the quality of the leave, which will be picked up by hand with love. It can also be done by machines, but they can decrease its quality.

Now, here are the steps of the production. Just imagine that you are a cup of tea and that you will rewind to the first second of your processing.

V: Before you buy your tea, it goes by the firing (or drying) step. It has to be under 3% of moisture. Your tea is not fired like coffee, it’s rather heated.
IV: The tea will go by an oxidation process. This step will be longer for darker teas (black teas) and much shorter for light teas (oolong). Oxidation makes the leaves darker because the chlorophyll (what makes the leaf green) is destroyed. It’s like when we leave an apple on the table, it turns to brown and some flies come and stay for 3 weeks, just because we forgot to put a piece of apple in the trash…
III: The third step is about rolling (not in the deep, here, unless you want to sing a song for tea processing!). Leaves are rolled, compacted to push out their water.
II: The leaves will start to wilt and wither (withering and wilting step, obviously…) outside under the sun.
I: It all starts with a picker who will choose, in early summer or late spring, the best leaves to harvest. He will take each leave with his thumb and his forefinger.
The IV step shows us why we can find aged teas (mostly black teas) which will be subject to the fermentation (a process that comes beside the oxidation).
And then, you will be able to buy your tea and enjoy your tea in peaceful surroundings, thinking about how hard it is to make tea.

How to drink tea: Drinking tea is not like drinking simple water

Drink Tea

There are several ways to enjoy tea offered to us. Preparing tea is mostly an art, but, for one time in your life, it’s an art which is accessible to everybody, including you! No need to have technical skills or an artistic talent.

A tea is not simply a beverage. You will notice – I do not have any doubt – that your sense of smell is well activated when you are preparing it. What comes to your nose is what we call the “aroma”. Smelling tea is a part of the process. You can’t miss this step. Plus, you will be able to admire its color, which can be dark or pale, depending on what tea you chose. For example, a Pu-erh tea will be a lot darker than a Darjeeling tea.

And, obviously, what you have in your cup not only serves to be observed, you have to taste it! And now, you can find it sour, bitter, tart, aromatic, complex, spicy, raw, strong, fresh, soft, biting, nervous, creamy, soft, sustained… I would have 1000 other qualifiers to tell you, but I’m already out of breath just by thinking about it. I suggest you to choose the qualifier you find yourself, feel inspired.

The first way consist in using a bowl that will receive the tea from a serrated cup with a lid. This set is used to prepare Darjeeling, but also for tasting teas before choosing one of them in the industry.

The second method is the “kyusu”. It is a kind of teapot employed to make green tea. It is made of clay or porcelain. It possesses a handle (to lift it, obviously, this is not rocket science) and a metallic grid to prevent that your Sencha organic tea, infused, is found in your cup and that your tea get more spicy.
Finally, the last but not least way, is to use the “zhong”, most commonly called “gaiwan”. It’s similar to the cup used in the “kyusu”, but it’s only a cup with a lid. We use it for infusions and teas. This method allows us to see the tea leaves changing from the first second to the last one.

Even if we learned some manners to prepare a tea, it’s not only about it. We have to follow several rules.

  1. Used water must be low mineral and with high-standard (spring water would be perfect).
  2. Never use boiling water. All teas have their own temperature.
  3. Wash the teapot with boiling water (you now know that you have to throw it away if you read the rule number 2).
  4. The dosage is made according to personal taste.
  5. The infusion time should be respected.

Enjoying tea is an extraordinary moment that combines all our senses. We should take more time to do this. But, be careful to not burn your lips, tongue and mouth… We all know that it’s very annoying and long to heal. Now, enjoy your tea time!

53/5000 Tips for preparing a good cup of tea

Tea Preparation

Preparing the perfect cup of tea is not as simple as you think. For this, T-surprise gives you some tips and tricks for a better appreciation of your tea:

  • Use a teapot, never your microwave to boil the water and even less to warm your cup of tea if it cools.

  • Put some hot water in your teapot beforehand to warm it up. Empty the water and then put the tea leaves in bulk for a few minutes before filling the teapot with hot water again.

  • If you have two teapots, use the second to serve tea. However, it will be necessary to warm it up in advance also before adding the tea already infused.

  • It is preferable that the water is mineral or filtered. Avoid distilled water or water that has already boiled.

  • A rule to follow especially for loose tea: a tea spoon per glass of water per person. Some add a tea spoon and more "for the teapot"

  • Some tea leaves can be used several times. According to the Chinese, the second or even third infusion is the best!

  • For loose tea, do not wait like bagged teas until the water reaches 100 degrees to brew. Stop your teapot just before the first bubble formation or let it cool a bit before pouring. For the meticulous, we recommend for:
    o White and green tea: 70-85 ° C
    o Black tea and Oolong: 85-95 ° C
    o Infusions: 100 ° C except for chamomile at 90 ° C

  • All types of tea do not need the same brewing time. Note that for stronger tea, add more tea instead of infusing longer. You can let the tea infuse for at least:
    o One to three minutes for green tea
    o Three to six minutes for black tea
    o Six to eight minutes for Oolong tea
    o Seven to 10 minutes for white tea
    o Eight to twelve minutes for infusions

  • If your teapot is without filter, you can use a separate filter to stop the brew on time.

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