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Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by victoria3 » Mar 14th 17 4:09 pm

I'm still traveling and ran out of cups and servers so added a brandy snifter and small vertical glass to my line up. I was pleasantly reminded how much aroma came out of the glass brandy snifter during and after tasting a buttery LiShan. I've tried those vertical porcelain tea 'aroma cups' and never found them very effective, instead glass stemware with a wide body and narrower mouth perform really well for me. Here is my porcelain Meiji Seifu Yohei traveling cup making tastings smooth as silk, a glass brandy sniffer and small vertical glass, the brandy sniffer outperformed the others capturing aroma for a very long time. If I were back at home I'd include other cup shapes and sizes as examples but for now; What has been your experience with cup shape and material bringing out aromatics?
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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by .m. » Mar 14th 17 4:41 pm

That Seifu Yohei cup is beautiful. A fancy choice for a "travelling cup". ;)

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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by ethan » Mar 14th 17 5:55 pm

A low fairly wide bowl has the drinker's nose close to liquid that is all around it. I haven't found material to matter. cheers

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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by cwj » Mar 14th 17 8:17 pm

That's interesting Victoria.
My porcelain aroma cups are collecting dust atop my tea cabinet, and for some reason I've never considered using my glassware. I have so many snifters, and crystal glasses of all shapes and sizes...I just may give them a try :)
Plus I imagine that they would look quite stunning when filled with beautiful tea, such as in your photo.

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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by kuánglóng » Mar 14th 17 8:26 pm

As strange as this may sound to me the material is just as important as the shape, especially when it comes to the leng xiang (cold fragrance) in an empty cup - what aroma cups are made for. Some of my shengs, e.g. the 2003 Feng Qing Jia Ji Er Deng, if brewed correctly, can leave a pretty intense fragrance in the cup that can last for up to 5-6 days! but only in some, not in all cups. It works best with some small porcelain sets that I bought back in Yunnan - they keep these residual fragrances much, much longer than any of my other cups, including porcelain cups of similar size and shape. Again, pretty strange but some of my friends have noticed these phenomena as well.

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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by cwj » Mar 14th 17 8:41 pm

kuánglóng wrote: As strange as this may sound to me the material is just as important as the shape, especially when it comes to the leng xiang (cold fragrance) in an empty cup - what aroma cups are made for. Some of my shengs, e.g. the 2003 Feng Qing Jia Ji Er Deng, if brewed correctly, can leave a pretty intense fragrance in the cup that can last for up to 5-6 days! but only in some, not in all cups. It works best with some small porcelain sets that I bought back in Yunnan - they keep these residual fragrances much, much longer than any of my other cups, including porcelain cups of similar size and shape. Again, pretty strange but some of my friends have noticed these phenomena as well.
I'm curious, does leng xiang mean the same as the aroma that one would get from the lid of a gaiwan after steeping?
Forgive me I'm trying to improve my lexicon a bit :)
And what would the aroma from the tea liquid in the cup be called?

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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by victoria3 » Mar 14th 17 9:08 pm

cwj wrote: That's interesting Victoria.
My porcelain aroma cups are collecting dust atop my tea cabinet, and for some reason I've never considered using my glassware. I have so many snifters, and crystal glasses of all shapes and sizes...I just may give them a try :)
Plus I imagine that they would look quite stunning when filled with beautiful tea, such as in your photo.
Indeed, I've been using glass bar ware for a while. The aroma lasts for quite a while in the vessel after tea is gone. My cups are much smaller at home though so don't hold as much aroma as the brandy snifter. Here are a couple of shots in action with green teas;
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11862&hilit=Living+tea&start=4215

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=14327&p=290624&hili ... an#p290624
Last edited by victoria3 on Mar 14th 17 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by victoria3 » Mar 14th 17 9:16 pm

kuánglóng wrote: As strange as this may sound to me the material is just as important as the shape, especially when it comes to the leng xiang (cold fragrance) in an empty cup - what aroma cups are made for. Some of my shengs, e.g. the 2003 Feng Qing Jia Ji Er Deng, if brewed correctly, can leave a pretty intense fragrance in the cup that can last for up to 5-6 days! but only in some, not in all cups. It works best with some small porcelain sets that I bought back in Yunnan - they keep these residual fragrances much, much longer than any of my other cups, including porcelain cups of similar size and shape. Again, pretty strange but some of my friends have noticed these phenomena as well.
Often when people come to my house they ask why I have used cups on my table with other teaware, my reply "so I can smell the tea for days :D " Honestly the longest I've had aroma last in a cup is maybe 24hrs, haven't clocked it though. In my case with the cups I have I've found rotund glass cups with smaller opening work the best at holding aroma the longest. Also, small wine decanters do this really well.
Can you describe your long lasting aroma cups, shape, size, porcelain decade...?

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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by kuánglóng » Mar 14th 17 10:02 pm

victoria3 wrote:
kuánglóng wrote: As strange as this may sound to me the material is just as important as the shape, especially when it comes to the leng xiang (cold fragrance) in an empty cup - what aroma cups are made for. Some of my shengs, e.g. the 2003 Feng Qing Jia Ji Er Deng, if brewed correctly, can leave a pretty intense fragrance in the cup that can last for up to 5-6 days! but only in some, not in all cups. It works best with some small porcelain sets that I bought back in Yunnan - they keep these residual fragrances much, much longer than any of my other cups, including porcelain cups of similar size and shape. Again, pretty strange but some of my friends have noticed these phenomena as well.
Often when people come to my house they ask why I have used cups on my table with other teaware, my reply "so I can smell the tea for days :D " Honestly the longest I've had aroma last in a cup is maybe 24hrs, haven't clocked it though. In my case with the cups I have I've found rotund glass cups with smaller opening work the best at holding aroma the longest. Also, small wine decanters do this really well.
Can you describe your long lasting aroma cups, shape, size, porcelain decade...?
Simple 35ml drinking cups, ~5cm top diameter, porcelain from the 90s. Regarding the duration of the fragrance nothing else comes even close and I have quite a collection of chinese porcelain cups from different eras. Since this thread is about aroma I haven't even mentioned taste and viscosity. Whenever I have guests I give them 2-3 different cups to drink from and usually they're amazed at how much of a difference it makes, especially when it comes to similar teas like two first flush Darjeelings and one works better in cup A whereas the other tea only really shines in cup B or vice versa.

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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by victoria3 » Mar 14th 17 10:21 pm

kuánglóng wrote:
victoria3 wrote:
kuánglóng wrote: As strange as this may sound to me the material is just as important as the shape, especially when it comes to the leng xiang (cold fragrance) in an empty cup - what aroma cups are made for. Some of my shengs, e.g. the 2003 Feng Qing Jia Ji Er Deng, if brewed correctly, can leave a pretty intense fragrance in the cup that can last for up to 5-6 days! but only in some, not in all cups. It works best with some small porcelain sets that I bought back in Yunnan - they keep these residual fragrances much, much longer than any of my other cups, including porcelain cups of similar size and shape. Again, pretty strange but some of my friends have noticed these phenomena as well.
Often when people come to my house they ask why I have used cups on my table with other teaware, my reply "so I can smell the tea for days :D " Honestly the longest I've had aroma last in a cup is maybe 24hrs, haven't clocked it though. In my case with the cups I have I've found rotund glass cups with smaller opening work the best at holding aroma the longest. Also, small wine decanters do this really well.
Can you describe your long lasting aroma cups, shape, size, porcelain decade...?
Simple 35ml drinking cups, ~5cm top diameter, porcelain from the 90s. Regarding the duration of the fragrance nothing else comes even close and I have quite a collection of chinese porcelain cups from different eras. Since this thread is about aroma I haven't even mentioned taste and viscosity. Whenever I have guests I give them 2-3 different cups to drink from and usually they're amazed at how much of a difference it makes, especially when it comes to similar teas like two first flush Darjeelings and one works better in cup A whereas the other tea only really shines in cup B or vice versa.
That's small to hold aroma so long, very interesting. 5cm is the opening on the brandy snifter I posted but it's much larger than your 35ml. Pictures? Are your cups flared or narrower at top? I wonder if it also has to do with the type of glaze used? ...

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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by kuánglóng » Mar 14th 17 10:22 pm

cwj wrote:
kuánglóng wrote: As strange as this may sound to me the material is just as important as the shape, especially when it comes to the leng xiang (cold fragrance) in an empty cup - what aroma cups are made for. Some of my shengs, e.g. the 2003 Feng Qing Jia Ji Er Deng, if brewed correctly, can leave a pretty intense fragrance in the cup that can last for up to 5-6 days! but only in some, not in all cups. It works best with some small porcelain sets that I bought back in Yunnan - they keep these residual fragrances much, much longer than any of my other cups, including porcelain cups of similar size and shape. Again, pretty strange but some of my friends have noticed these phenomena as well.
I'm curious, does leng xiang mean the same as the aroma that one would get from the lid of a gaiwan after steeping?
Forgive me I'm trying to improve my lexicon a bit :)
And what would the aroma from the tea liquid in the cup be called?
Leng Xiang 冷香 (Cold fragrance) usually refers to the aroma that's left in the empty cup which differs from the aroma you'd get from the lid, soup or the leaves. I have a list of chinese tea terms somewhere but would have to dig first - i could post it later.

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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by kuánglóng » Mar 14th 17 10:30 pm

victoria3 wrote:
kuánglóng wrote:
victoria3 wrote:
kuánglóng wrote: As strange as this may sound to me the material is just as important as the shape, especially when it comes to the leng xiang (cold fragrance) in an empty cup - what aroma cups are made for. Some of my shengs, e.g. the 2003 Feng Qing Jia Ji Er Deng, if brewed correctly, can leave a pretty intense fragrance in the cup that can last for up to 5-6 days! but only in some, not in all cups. It works best with some small porcelain sets that I bought back in Yunnan - they keep these residual fragrances much, much longer than any of my other cups, including porcelain cups of similar size and shape. Again, pretty strange but some of my friends have noticed these phenomena as well.
Often when people come to my house they ask why I have used cups on my table with other teaware, my reply "so I can smell the tea for days :D " Honestly the longest I've had aroma last in a cup is maybe 24hrs, haven't clocked it though. In my case with the cups I have I've found rotund glass cups with smaller opening work the best at holding aroma the longest. Also, small wine decanters do this really well.
Can you describe your long lasting aroma cups, shape, size, porcelain decade...?
Simple 35ml drinking cups, ~5cm top diameter, porcelain from the 90s. Regarding the duration of the fragrance nothing else comes even close and I have quite a collection of chinese porcelain cups from different eras. Since this thread is about aroma I haven't even mentioned taste and viscosity. Whenever I have guests I give them 2-3 different cups to drink from and usually they're amazed at how much of a difference it makes, especially when it comes to similar teas like two first flush Darjeelings and one works better in cup A whereas the other tea only really shines in cup B or vice versa.
That's small to hold aroma so long, very interesting. 5cm is the opening on the brandy snifter I posted but it's much larger than your 35ml. Pictures? Are your cups flared or narrower at top? I wonder if it also has to do with the type of glaze used? ...
Like I've said, I suspect it's the material - the glaze, since similarly sized and shaped cups don't come even close to 5-6 days but this only works with a couple of pretty perfumy shengs from my stash; above 2003 Jia Ji, some Mengkus and Bingdaos to name but a few.

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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by Bok » Mar 15th 17 2:55 am

I have found that aroma lasts the longest in glazed porcelain. It also gives the most nose-feedback while drinking, apart from sniffing the empty cup.

I can’t be bothered with fragrance cups, unless I am buying and tasting new teas. What lingers in the empty cup is usually enough for me. I have seen fragrance cups with a more bell-like shape where the aroma lingered much longer.

I tend not to use porcelain cups with certain more tricky teas in order to smoothen them out. Usually wood-fired cups.

I use a glass gaiwan for most teas, but somehow do not like to drink from it. Glass feels more suitable for cold things for me. Highly subjective impression. I have a fractured surface glass gaiwan that shows the colours of the brew brilliantly due to the reflections on the uneven surface. Better than with white porcelain which is never truly white, always off-white or blueish – thus altering the colours.

One material I absolutely hate as it noticeably alters the taste in a bad way is the glazes that Lin’s ceramics use. Both teapots and teaware perform terribly in my experience. Lots of people use it in Taiwan as it is a popular gift and they are in most shopping centers, so I have had plenty different types to test. Nice shapes, but performance is bad.

Same goes for a lot of European teaware, which are often using glazes which are not really suitable for tea.

As far as shape goes, the thinner the more pleasurable the experience seems to be (for me). Also how the lips interact with the rim of the cup has a lot of influence.

Personally I prefer tallish cups, the wide ones let heat and other things escape to quickly for my taste.

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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by kuánglóng » Mar 15th 17 8:30 am

Bok wrote: Same goes for a lot of European teaware, which are often using glazes which are not really suitable for tea.
Seconded but the same goes for some newer chinese porcelain as well which makes me wonder what exactly is going on here.
Some observations: usually new porcelain cups seem to need some breaking-in before teas start to sing in them but OTOH that doesn't seem to work with any porcelain, at least not with some porcelain cups I've bought lately - no matter what I've tried, for whatever reason they simply don't work for tea. As to 'breaking-in', some teas (Assams > heavy on tannins > staining) do a better job than others (First Flush DJs, green teas) but once the cups are sufficiently prepped I can clean them with hot water, even baking powder and they still taste better than new.
Re. those special cups I've mentioned (those that keep the aromas of some teas for 5-6 days) are far more easier to clean than an average porcelain cup; some water and a tissue are all it needs to remove stains whereas I need baking powder to get rid of the stains on other porcelain which makes me suspect that the surface structure of the glaze plays a major role here.
BTW, during my college years I've worked for one of Europe's biggest suppliers of ceramic glazes and pigments and while they didn't run a degustation lab they had all the stuff you'd need to take a closer look at the surface structure of a glaze or for a chemical analysis but then that's more than 25 years ago.

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Re: Aromatics: Teacup Shape & Material

by cwj » Mar 15th 17 6:53 pm

kuánglóng wrote:
cwj wrote:
kuánglóng wrote: As strange as this may sound to me the material is just as important as the shape, especially when it comes to the leng xiang (cold fragrance) in an empty cup - what aroma cups are made for. Some of my shengs, e.g. the 2003 Feng Qing Jia Ji Er Deng, if brewed correctly, can leave a pretty intense fragrance in the cup that can last for up to 5-6 days! but only in some, not in all cups. It works best with some small porcelain sets that I bought back in Yunnan - they keep these residual fragrances much, much longer than any of my other cups, including porcelain cups of similar size and shape. Again, pretty strange but some of my friends have noticed these phenomena as well.
I'm curious, does leng xiang mean the same as the aroma that one would get from the lid of a gaiwan after steeping?
Forgive me I'm trying to improve my lexicon a bit :)
And what would the aroma from the tea liquid in the cup be called?
Leng Xiang 冷香 (Cold fragrance) usually refers to the aroma that's left in the empty cup which differs from the aroma you'd get from the lid, soup or the leaves. I have a list of chinese tea terms somewhere but would have to dig first - i could post it later.
Thank you.
I learn something new every day here :)