User avatar
Sep 13th, '15, 00:32
Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 12th, '14, 00:37
Location: Wisconsin

Effect of teapot shape on tea

by Jaymo » Sep 13th, '15, 00:32

I went back and was re-reading some of the Yixing discussions lately and while there has been a lot of talk collected in various places about opinions on various types of clay, it seems like my searches came up with mentions here and there of the effects of teapot shape on brewing, but not much information collected in one place. I'm curious to hear thoughts from those of you with experience brewing with many different sized/shaped pots.

Obviously smaller pots will often cool faster and it seems like flatter pots often do the same. I've seen mention of taller pots or those with more open bodies like "dragon egg" shapes for certain oolongs, etc that are tightly rolled so they have room to expand, and then sometimes there is a preference for a pot that keeps the leaves compressed more. Anyway, as I said, I was hoping to get some collected discussion here of how size/shape affects brewing various teas. (If you have links to photos of the pot shapes mentioned, so much the better!)

User avatar
Sep 13th, '15, 02:17
Posts: 1751
Joined: Jul 8th, '09, 23:39
Location: Maui

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by tingjunkie » Sep 13th, '15, 02:17

The most obvious way shape affects tea pairing is making sure to use a pot with a wider lid opening for teas with long leaves such as yancha, dancong, or some loose puerhs.

Other than that, pots with a round shape work well for balled oolongs which expand a lot. Pot shape is important, but aside from the basics I just mentioned, the importance is far enough down on the list that I don't worry too much about it. Clay quality, firing level, wall thickness, pot size, and aesthetics all rank as more important to me.

User avatar
Sep 14th, '15, 23:26
Posts: 115
Joined: Mar 29th, '12, 00:23
Location: NYC

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by javi_sanchez » Sep 14th, '15, 23:26

I don't have much to add to this but since you mentioned cooling, pots with legs seem to hold heat much more. I'm assuming it's because since the base is lifted up, it does not conduct heat into whatever it's resting on. If you submerse the pot in a pool of water than it's a moot point.

User avatar
Sep 15th, '15, 00:26
Posts: 1900
Joined: Mar 22nd, '08, 22:26
Location: Yixing

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by chrl42 » Sep 15th, '15, 00:26

We've had lots of discussions about it before as well..

From what I've known (mainland sources)

Green tea prefers somewhat bigger and flatten shape (and wide lid)..cos green tea is brewed at lower temperature..wide lid enables the heat to go out quickly

the Japanese used small Yixings..which I think it also has to do with the process of making (steamed green easily gets bitter) and culture (their Chadao is not pretty much 'grandpa style' :) )

Black tea perfers the opposite, tall and small lid..because black tea is oxidised so this shape gives an concentrating effect, I've also seen round shape helps black tea to squeeze out juices quicker.

Oolong is traditionally brewed in a mini Shuiping teapot..which is round, small, thin and fast pouring. I've heard flatten Shuiping was the first choice for high-fired Oolongs..(doesn't leave water between the sessions etc)

Puerh has many stories..many people say bigger, porous Zini/Duanni teapot is better but I see many coastal Chinese use a small Zhuni/Hongni teapot for quality Puerh...many Koreans perfer high-fired teapot for Sheng....it's all relative though.

User avatar
Sep 15th, '15, 00:57
Posts: 1482
Joined: Jul 21st, '10, 02:25
Location: Oz

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by bagua7 » Sep 15th, '15, 00:57

Stephane from Tea Masters is very keen using tall pots to brew high mountain oolongs (1 & 2), I can see the logic behind it...not just physical (tight rolled balls expand a lot when added hot water to them) but also energetic (the pot emulates the environment in which the tea has been cultivated?).

For dancongs I prefer low pots with a wide opening as mentioned earlier...you don't want to break any of those lovely leaves.

For puerh, any pot is fine in terms of shape, IMO. But here I look for thickness as this tea likes heat, lots of it! :lol:

User avatar
Sep 15th, '15, 06:38
Posts: 1424
Joined: Oct 5th, '09, 05:03
Location: UK

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by Alex » Sep 15th, '15, 06:38

From a Japanese sencha perspective I can say that I prefer the taste of lower flatter wider pots these day. But defo a wider bottom seems to give nicer taste to me.
Last edited by Alex on Sep 16th, '15, 12:36, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Sep 15th, '15, 08:56
Posts: 541
Joined: Aug 19th, '15, 07:03
Location: on the road

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by kuánglóng » Sep 15th, '15, 08:56

chrl42 wrote: ...
Black tea perfers the opposite, tall and small lid..because black tea is oxidised so this shape gives an concentrating effect, I've also seen round shape helps black tea to squeeze out juices quicker.
...
As someone who mainly drinks Darjeelings/Oolongs and Keemuns the material of a pot is some places higher on my list of influential factors than shape, as long as the leaves have all the space they need to expand properly and we're not talking about something too exotic. Shape seems to play a bit of a role though, but it's hard to put my finger on it. I just got a lovely new 0,4l porcelain pot that brings out nuances of some trusty standby leaves that so far have escaped my attention when I brewed them in other porcelain pots or gaiwans. Looks like another blind tasting session this weekend - inquiring minds and all that jazz.

User avatar
Sep 15th, '15, 23:18
Posts: 1900
Joined: Mar 22nd, '08, 22:26
Location: Yixing

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by chrl42 » Sep 15th, '15, 23:18

kuánglóng wrote:
chrl42 wrote: ...
Black tea perfers the opposite, tall and small lid..because black tea is oxidised so this shape gives an concentrating effect, I've also seen round shape helps black tea to squeeze out juices quicker.
...
As someone who mainly drinks Darjeelings/Oolongs and Keemuns the material of a pot is some places higher on my list of influential factors than shape, as long as the leaves have all the space they need to expand properly and we're not talking about something too exotic. Shape seems to play a bit of a role though, but it's hard to put my finger on it. I just got a lovely new 0,4l porcelain pot that brings out nuances of some trusty standby leaves that so far have escaped my attention when I brewed them in other porcelain pots or gaiwans. Looks like another blind tasting session this weekend - inquiring minds and all that jazz.
I couldn't agree more.

Yancha and black tea are the most delicate teas when it comes to clay (at least, for me), no matter what shapes brewing with.

For black tea, it's so easily to lose out the tension of it when one using Yixing..Zhuni..early Hei Xing Tu (Jia Zi)..so far dense clays worked for me :)

User avatar
Sep 16th, '15, 00:52
Posts: 1482
Joined: Jul 21st, '10, 02:25
Location: Oz

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by bagua7 » Sep 16th, '15, 00:52

chrl42, what is your experience with Taiwan mountain oolongs like? I find them hypersensitive with Yixing, very hard to find a pot that pleases these fussy teas. Gaiwan is probably the safest bet.

Sep 16th, '15, 00:54
Posts: 743
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by Bok » Sep 16th, '15, 00:54

A caveat for tall pots for high mountain Oolong. How tall are we talking about? Too tall is definitely detrimental to the taste of the tea. Or better said tall and narrow. The leaves won’t be able to expand laterally and they can not really balance that out by expanding vertically.

The pots Teamasters is using are far from what I would call tall. “Taller” than the average is probably a better term. High mountain and high pot seems more like over-thinking the whole thing…

If anything, a clay from the area the tea was grown might be something worth considering.

I would not agree with the statement of some that pot shape does not matter much, compared to other factors. On my path learning to do my own pots I have tested a lot of different shapes. I always test them with the same kind of tea and water, so I have a very direct comparison. The one thing I found is, that shape has a lot of influence on the taste! Still closing in on the perfect shape (for me), but so far medium to medium/low profiles perform best.

The other parameters of the pot, like handle and spout and overall composition affect the handling, ease of brewing more than the quality of the tea itself.

User avatar
Sep 16th, '15, 01:05
Posts: 1900
Joined: Mar 22nd, '08, 22:26
Location: Yixing

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by chrl42 » Sep 16th, '15, 01:05

bagua7 wrote:chrl42, what is your experience with Taiwan mountain oolongs like? I find them hypersensitive with Yixing, very hard to find a pot that pleases these fussy teas. Gaiwan is probably the safest bet.
Many Taiwanese use Hongni/Zhuni shuipings for Gaoshan..

I currently use Qing Shui Ni for Gaoshan..before I used Lvni, Zhuni, Heixingtu and Niantaotu..I didn't find them too sensitive with clay...more like I liked them equally from different clays, different clay had a different attraction for me..maybe because I'm no heavy Gaoshan drinker :)

Sep 16th, '15, 01:20
Posts: 743
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by Bok » Sep 16th, '15, 01:20

bagua7 wrote:chrl42, what is your experience with Taiwan mountain oolongs like? I find them hypersensitive with Yixing, very hard to find a pot that pleases these fussy teas. Gaiwan is probably the safest bet.
Could it be the quality of the tea? Normally high quality Oolong from Taiwan is easy to brew, no matter the material.

User avatar
Sep 16th, '15, 01:23
Posts: 1670
Joined: Sep 2nd, '13, 03:22
Location: in your tea closet
Contact: kyarazen

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by kyarazen » Sep 16th, '15, 01:23

Bok wrote: I would not agree with the statement of some that pot shape does not matter much, compared to other factors. On my path learning to do my own pots I have tested a lot of different shapes. I always test them with the same kind of tea and water, so I have a very direct comparison. The one thing I found is, that shape has a lot of influence on the taste! Still closing in on the perfect shape (for me), but so far medium to medium/low profiles perform best.
indeed... it affects the rate of tea unfurling too... and the proportion.. with a flatter pot the leaves near the edges of the pots dont unfurl as much as those in the centre!

i've been using a 半菱 pot with a wider bottom than the top, the perpendicular straight edges from the base allows fast and homogenous unfurling so the tea is a lot fuller in the first few steeps for rolled oolongs.

Sep 16th, '15, 01:44
Posts: 743
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by Bok » Sep 16th, '15, 01:44

kyarazen wrote:
i've been using a 半菱 pot with a wider bottom than the top, the perpendicular straight edges from the base allows fast and homogenous unfurling so the tea is a lot fuller in the first few steeps for rolled oolongs.
Yes! That confirms my own explorations :D
This bottom wider, but overall medium profile is what I had the best brewing results with.

User avatar
Sep 16th, '15, 03:01
Posts: 1670
Joined: Sep 2nd, '13, 03:22
Location: in your tea closet
Contact: kyarazen

Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by kyarazen » Sep 16th, '15, 03:01

Bok wrote: Yes! That confirms my own explorations :D
This bottom wider, but overall medium profile is what I had the best brewing results with.
its on par with the ball shapes :D

here's a ball shape... 1st steep at 35 second mark.. decent unfurling already~

Image

+ Post Reply