Yixing Tea Set for One


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Yixing Tea Set for One

Postby Noonie » Oct 14th, '13, 16:29

I was in a tea shop in Montreal and really enjoyed what I believe was a gongfu tea ceremony. I'm interested in buying the tea ware that was used. I already have a yixing pot. The other pieces were a pitcher, very small cup, another small cup (tall/thin) that I smelled tea from (I will try and explain - the infused tea was poured into the cup, flipped over with this other narrow cup, poured out and then I smelled the tea that was in it) and a tray that all the pieces sat on and collected the spilled water/tea. The pieces were all like my yixing pot (red clay), though the cup I sipped from May have been porcelain lined.

I searched for similar sets online and the ones I noticed had many other pieces I wasn't interested in.

Is this easy to find as a set, am I better to buy the pieces individually (probably won't match them, that's ok)?
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Re: Yixing Tea Set for One

Postby wyardley » Oct 14th, '13, 17:41

I would use glazed porcelain rather than stoneware / earthenware for the cups, faircup, etc.
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Re: Yixing Tea Set for One

Postby Poohblah » Oct 14th, '13, 23:52

Noonie wrote: The other pieces were a pitcher, very small cup, another small cup (tall/thin) that I smelled tea from
The pitcher is called a "cha hai" or "faircup" (or even just "pitcher") and the narrow cup is actually not a cup per se, although it is called a "xiang bei" or "aroma cup". You can usually buy matching drinking cups and aroma cups as an "aroma set".

They are extremely easy to find. In Shanghai, the cups went for 25 cents apiece in value stores. They are easy to find stateside but considerably more expensive. E.g.: http://www.taooftea.com/detail.php?pid=2419&catid=77

By the way: https://www.google.com/search?q=yixing+ ... h&imgdii=_
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Re: Yixing Tea Set for One

Postby Noonie » Oct 16th, '13, 05:42

Thanks.

wyardley - I presume the advantage of porcelain is that it can be used with different teas. I guess I could use my yixing with a specific tea as I do now, or a gaiwan with other teas. I can see why that's preferable.

poohblah - thanks, now that I know the names of the pieces I can find those pieces from numerous vendors. I like the selection and pricing from Dragon Tea House. I may order from there along with some tea. I'm guessing it takes around a month for the order to arrive...but if there is no duty (Canada) it will be worth it.
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Re: Yixing Tea Set for One

Postby wyardley » Oct 16th, '13, 17:42

Noonie wrote:wyardley - I presume the advantage of porcelain is that it can be used with different teas. I guess I could use my yixing with a specific tea as I do now, or a gaiwan with other teas. I can see why that's preferable.

That's part of it, and I think visually, white or light-colored porcelain also makes it easier to see the color of the brewed tea, and will color the taste and aroma of the tea the least.

Personally, I think that the aroma cups (wenxiangbei) are a little overly fussy most of the time, and can be dispensed with, especially with certain types of tasting cup, but it's your call. They do concentrate the aroma of the tea well, but I almost never use one.

Depending on the size of the cup(s) you're brewing into, you may also want to skip the fair cup (gongdaobei / chahai).

Both the aroma cups and the fair cup are relatively recent "innovations" from Taiwan, though they're widely used all over. Orthodox Chaozhou gongfucha doesn't use them.

I think a lot of people would say that gongfucha is not really a ceremony per se.
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Re: Yixing Tea Set for One

Postby Noonie » Oct 16th, '13, 19:40

wyardley wrote:Personally, I think that the aroma cups (wenxiangbei) are a little overly fussy most of the time, and can be dispensed with, especially with certain types of tasting cup, but it's your call. They do concentrate the aroma of the tea well, but I almost never use one.

Depending on the size of the cup(s) you're brewing into, you may also want to skip the fair cup (gongdaobei / chahai).

Both the aroma cups and the fair cup are relatively recent "innovations" from Taiwan, though they're widely used all over. Orthodox Chaozhou gongfucha doesn't use them.

I think a lot of people would say that gongfucha is not really a ceremony per se.


Interesting, I thought gongfu had always included those pieces. I agree about the fussiness though. Sometimes it's nice, though most of the time, with a young family, tea is more about the drink and less about the process. I was going to buy some pieces yesterday, but decided to go with my usual methods (yixing for wuyi, gaiwan for others...and a cup that holds the tea from each with no room to spare). I may spend some money on a nicer gaiwan and cup though.
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Re: Yixing Tea Set for One

Postby Evan Draper » Oct 17th, '13, 09:50

Noonie wrote:Interesting, I thought gongfu had always included those pieces.

"Chaozhou gongfu" is made out to be an ancient Chinese cultural feature that has always existed in its current form, but it's a recent invention with many East Asian influences. This essay bears repeated reading:
http://www.chinaheritagequarterly.org/f ... &issue=029
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Re: Yixing Tea Set for One

Postby ethan » Oct 17th, '13, 11:04

"History" of rulers, of wars, of the exceptional.... gets too much attention. Perhaps 0.1 % of Chinese households had a lot of fancy teaware. The great, ancient,"civilization" of China had 99% of its population farming very hard, all day, everyday. So how was tea prepared?
Ceremonies that would require a lot of time and/or special pottery, utensils, etc...... really?
A handful of tea quickly thrown into a big pot for quick infusions when the tea has power & longer infusions when it has very little flavor left to give.... one can picture that for the tired & poor. (I am poor & not ashamed to admit, that is much of my experience)
We may enjoy routines, ceremonies, methods ... but their history are sometimes just "stories" to sell something.
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Re: Yixing Tea Set for One

Postby chrl42 » Oct 17th, '13, 12:50

ethan wrote:"History" of rulers, of wars, of the exceptional.... gets too much attention. Perhaps 0.1 % of Chinese households had a lot of fancy teaware. The great, ancient,"civilization" of China had 99% of its population farming very hard, all day, everyday. So how was tea prepared?
Ceremonies that would require a lot of time and/or special pottery, utensils, etc...... really?
A handful of tea quickly thrown into a big pot for quick infusions when the tea has power & longer infusions when it has very little flavor left to give.... one can picture that for the tired & poor. (I am poor & not ashamed to admit, that is much of my experience)
We may enjoy routines, ceremonies, methods ... but their history are sometimes just "stories" to sell something.

I might agree with Wyardley, traditional 'Gongfu' didn't even have a pitcher :D they used a huge dish-like thing for just pot and cups, in case they rinse them with water, modern day we don't need them cos tea tables come with a tube. Likewise, tea culture changes...

I think Gongfucha had its peak during 18c~early 20c..among Cantonese and Fukienese..after it, Electric kettles replace Chaozhou stove, Gaiwan replaces Zhuni, Puerh and TGY replace Wuyi Rock-tea and the fashion of Gongfucha go throughout all over China, even to West, not only Guangdong and Fujian.


Answering ethan, Guangdong and Fujian (birthplace of Gongfucha) are the richest provinces in China, and the most serious tea drinkers they are. Hence the culture of 'fancing teawares' could be born...but that is not to say Gongfucha was the only properties of the richies..any Chaozhou people might perform gongfu when they happen to drink tea. But it's also true that not every Chaozhou people could meet the 'Gongfu inquiries' like Mengchen (Yixing Zhuni), Delicate Jingdezhen Ruoshen cups or Wuyi teas. Zhuni teapots were already pricey back then, and the one who couldn't afford them used Shantou (local teapot)....is what the book said.

IMO, a true revival of Gongfucha is not easy..not because of tea or Jingdezhen cups...it's that, finding a good Mengchen Zhuni pot is darn hard nowadays :mrgreen:
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Re: Yixing Tea Set for One

Postby ethan » Oct 17th, '13, 13:31

chrl42, Thanks for the good info,analysis, & summary.
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Re: Yixing Tea Set for One

Postby wyardley » Oct 17th, '13, 23:21

Evan Draper wrote:
Noonie wrote:Interesting, I thought gongfu had always included those pieces.

"Chaozhou gongfu" is made out to be an ancient Chinese cultural feature that has always existed in its current form, but it's a recent invention with many East Asian influences.

Well, not ancient in comparison to Chinese history, but I think a lot of sources suggest that it began to emerge in late Ming / early Qing (viewtopic.php?p=220791#p220791 etc.).
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