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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by Tead Off » Aug 12th 09 1:42 pm

Herb_Master wrote:
Oni wrote:For Chao Zhou gong fu tea ceremony one needs a CZ stove, a CZ teapot and jingdezhen porcelain cups, Herbmaster would be the only one beside Imen to own all the right equipment for Dancong, I am looking forward to reading your posts.
Nope, sorry, I have yet to acquire a CZ teapot, it is near the top of my hit list, for the pots I am using right now are not thin walled.

There is a lot of inquisitive talk about clay and CZ teapots on this thread, NOTE that Imen wrote about them in her blog on August 3
Why use a Chao Zhou clay pot?
For Dan Cong teas, Chao Zhou is preferred over Yixing, because it's made to enhance Dan Cong for number of reasons:
1, clay has the same composition of minerals as the tea trees are grown
2, the wall is thin so it doesn't simmer the leaves
3, shape is also made to accommodate the leaf shape of dan cong
4, spout is medium to big that is easy to control pouring speed since dan cong is extremely sensitive to timing and temperature.
5, size of pots are small, makes 3 to 4 little cups of tea, just enough to drink it fast while it's hot.
6, it's also a timer, after pouring hot water over the exterior, when dried, the tea is also ready for the first 2-3 brews.
More can be read here http://tea-obsession.blogspot.com/2009/ ... t-how.html
Hahaha. I love the marketing. Why not take advantage of the sudden interest in inexpensive ZZ pots. Does anyone think you cannot get a yixing pot that matches all of the criteria of a zz pot?

The clay and the tea have the same minerals? Is this possible? :shock:

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by Maitre_Tea » Aug 12th 09 2:41 pm

Possibly, since Wuyi Yencha get their mineral flavor from the nearby mountains, which are chock full of copper.

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by wyardley » Aug 12th 09 6:46 pm

Maitre_Tea wrote:Possibly, since Wuyi Yencha get their mineral flavor from the nearby mountains, which are chock full of copper.
I don't think anyone debates that the quality / type of soil can affect tea (or wine, for that matter), but I don't think there's scientific basis for asserting that the taste comes *directly* from the minerals in the soil (i.e., you're not literally tasting the minerals).

See this interesting article (which is about wine, but similar concept) by Harold McGee and Daniel Patterson:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/style ... ref=slogin

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by Herb_Master » Aug 12th 09 7:41 pm

The Mcgee - Patterson article is quite good, but very one sided.

The best descriptions I have read over the decades insist that to think of 'terroir' as soil is far too simple a viewpoint. It is as has been pointed out more to do with substrates and must include a relatively shallow topsoil, it needs aged vines but uqually important a uniquely beneificial micro-climate.

For 10 to 15 years a vine will only access the top soil, but with age it's root system will penetrate the substrate. When vines have ideal moisture, and nutrients in the topsoil they will concentrate on producing new branches, and leaves. When they struggle they will put the best of their efforts into producing fruit which may effect the survival of the species.

Where the topsoil, substrate and microclimate coincide to provide such a situation, the local vignerons know that tended properly OLD Vines can produce far superior wines than younger plants. Many appelations will not permit the designation 'Vielles Vignes' unless the vine is 30 years old, some insist on 40.

My personal experience is that nowhere is this difference seen more markedly than in the wines of Chinon. The 'Vieilles Vignes' wines produce a depth of flavours, deep and profound while betraying little of the fruity flavours described as typical of ordinary Chinon wines.

Chinon is worthy of note additionally, for many vineyards are above limestone, whilst others are on alluvial clays, and a third group 'entre deux' on the slopes betwixt. The locals claim it is easy to tell from tasting a wine on which soil the vines were growing. My palate was not sufficient to detect these differences, but easily detected the difference made by 'old vines'.

30 to 40 years is but nothing for a fine old Dan Cong tree, and microclimates are a known factor in the identification of good Feng Huang sites.

Like you I am sceptical, but would not rule out the possibilities.

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by tingjunkie » Aug 13th 09 12:11 am

I was thinking about purchasing one of these too, until I read this quote from Imen's blog...

"For normal usage, soak the pot in room temperature water for 20 minutes before adding hot water. Else it can crack. (It's not always the case for every pot, but I don't think you want to take the chance.) They are very thin, so more prone to easy breaking. I cracked half a dozen pots myself, it took me that many times to figure out what to do."

a) I'm too lazy and strapped for time to soak the thing for 20 minutes first, and b) I don't think I'm that lucky anyway- it would be broken within the month!

Good luck to the rest of you though. I'll be very interested to hear if the pots begin to season at all.

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by wyardley » Aug 13th 09 12:48 am

Herb_Master wrote: The Mcgee - Patterson article is quite good, but very one sided.

The best descriptions I have read over the decades insist that to think of 'terroir' as soil is far too simple a viewpoint.
I don't think anyone's debating that the quality and type of the soil doesn't affect the way wine (or tea) tastes, or that old plants may produce different (even, arguably, better) product, and I don't think they are trying to make the point you are talking about - in fact, I think you are both making pretty much the same argument. The authors lay out in the first paragraph that they are responding to people who take the concept of terroir very literally (and yes, these people do exist).
For example, many will say the characteristic minerality of wines from Chablis comes from the limestone beds beneath the vineyards (although, when pressed, they generally admit that they’ve never actually tasted limestone).


See also the quotes in the third paragraph. The article goes on to say:
How can a place or a soil express itself through wine? Does terroir really exist?

Yes, but the effects of a place on a wine are far more complex than simply tasting the earth beneath the vine. Great wines are produced on many different soil types, from limestone to granite to clay, in places where the vines get just enough water and nourishment from the soil to grow without deficiencies and where the climate allows the grapes to ripen slowly but fully. It’s also true that different soils can elicit different flavors from the same grape.
[The stuff right after this is also pertinent, but I'll let people who are interested read the whole article rather than taking up more space than I already am here]

In other words, I don't think the article is taking issue with people who take a more sensible, and less literal, approach to the concept of terroir. Rather, the authors are arguing that you cannot literally] taste the minerals directly in the final product. When people say that a wine or tea has a "mineral" taste, that taste is not actually tasting the minerals from the soil directly in the wine, brewed tea, or whatever. And, as McGee points out, since few, if any, have tasted limestone, it's hard to imagine that anyone knows for sure how it tastes (of course, people have *smelled* limestone, and smell and taste are very closely intertwined, but I think McGee is arguing that any parallels are either a coincidence, or in the imagination of the person who claims to smell / taste those characteristics).

You will sometimes hear people say that the taste of wine or tea comes either purely from the land, or purely from the processing, and I think the truth lies somewhere in between. Both how the plants are grown (the soil, air, light, altitude, etc.) and the processing profoundly affect how wine and tea taste.
tingjunkie wrote: I was thinking about purchasing one of these too, until I read this quote from Imen's blog...

"For normal usage, soak the pot in room temperature water for 20 minutes before adding hot water. Else it can crack.
I have one or two pots from the same maker, as well as another Chaozhou pot, and I don't personally bother to do this... I treat them just as badly as I do my other pots.

There are other ways to gradually bring a pot up to temperature that are a little quicker / easier, though. With older or more fragile pots, it might be smart to put room temperature water in the pot halfway, and then add some warmish / hot (but not boiling) water to that.

YMMV; don't blame me if you crack your pot. But keep in mind that these pots aren't that horribly expensive in the first place.

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by tingjunkie » Aug 13th 09 1:03 am

Thanks for the info wyardley. So have your CZ pots become seasoned with use? From what I have read, they are more dense/less absorbent than Yixing, so I have been wondering about that aspect.

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by wyardley » Aug 13th 09 1:18 am

tingjunkie wrote:Thanks for the info wyardley. So have your CZ pots become seasoned with use? From what I have read, they are more dense/less absorbent than Yixing, so I have been wondering about that aspect.
In my experience, they do tend to season a little more slowly (hard to tell because many of them have makeup clay on the outside that's a little shiny to start with). chrl42's comments actually indicate that Chaozhou clay is *more* porous than Yixing clay (by quite a bit), so I'm not sure why they tend to season more slowly and bring out harsh flavors, when you'd expect the opposite to be true. It's possible that the makeup clay on the outside is denser than the inside clay.

They will pick up a nice shine eventually... patience is the key.

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by Herb_Master » Aug 13th 09 1:32 am

Will, it seems there are so many similarities between tea and wine, happy are those who enjoy them both :D

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by chrl42 » Aug 13th 09 2:14 am

wyardley wrote:
tingjunkie wrote:Thanks for the info wyardley. So have your CZ pots become seasoned with use? From what I have read, they are more dense/less absorbent than Yixing, so I have been wondering about that aspect.
In my experience, they do tend to season a little more slowly (hard to tell because many of them have makeup clay on the outside that's a little shiny to start with). chrl42's comments actually indicate that Chaozhou clay is *more* porous than Yixing clay (by quite a bit), so I'm not sure why they tend to season more slowly and bring out harsh flavors, when you'd expect the opposite to be true. It's possible that the makeup clay on the outside is denser than the inside clay.

They will pick up a nice shine eventually... patience is the key.
I'm not sure if porosity has to do with seasoning. If then, Zhuni should be the last one to be seasoned. Also, my fastest seasoning clay so far has been Mo Lu ni, which does not breathe, 3 times of using already turned more glossier than year-old Di Cao Qing..from experience, aged clays tend to be seasoned a lot faster than new clays

Also, there are a lot of stories behind the porosity of CZ clay. I've noted it's 'to 7%'....omitting 'beginning from 0.5%' :P

I've no experience with CZ clays, or about its clay manufactering. But I do hear people claiming its muting taste ability to its none breathing ability. These stories, also vary a lot depending on its size of particle, content of oxide powder, temperature of firing etc.

The only conclusion I could get was because CZ clay is of 'clay' 泥性(yixing clay is of 'sand' 沙性). From what I know, 'clay' type basically doesn't breathe so the porosity of CZ clay in this case, must be due to its low-temp firing, none-crystallization. But this type, over-using might close its breathing holes. High-temp fired 'sand' type Yixing clay breathes from beginning to end............... was opinion of a member of China Yixing Teapot Collector Association, not me :)

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by Maitre_Tea » Aug 13th 09 2:26 am

tingjunkie wrote:I was thinking about purchasing one of these too, until I read this quote from Imen's blog...

"For normal usage, soak the pot in room temperature water for 20 minutes before adding hot water. Else it can crack. (It's not always the case for every pot, but I don't think you want to take the chance.) They are very thin, so more prone to easy breaking. I cracked half a dozen pots myself, it took me that many times to figure out what to do."

a) I'm too lazy and strapped for time to soak the thing for 20 minutes first, and b) I don't think I'm that lucky anyway- it would be broken within the month!

Good luck to the rest of you though. I'll be very interested to hear if the pots begin to season at all.
I share your worries too, because I'm super paranoid that I'll pout in some boiling hot water...and hear the sound of cracking. I soak the thing for like 30 minutes just to be on the safe side. I want to ask Imen if there's a shortcut around this (maybe leaving room-temperature water in it at all times), but I've already badgered her enough about CZ clay-related questions. I'm quite happy with my pot, and about the seasoning, didn't Imen also write in her blog with daily consumption of old single-bush DC you'll have a nice patina in a few weeks?

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by tingjunkie » Aug 13th 09 3:01 am

Maitre_Tea wrote:...didn't Imen also write in her blog with daily consumption of old single-bush DC you'll have a nice patina in a few weeks?
Not that Imen's reputation isn't great, but if I sold tea, I would advocate daily consumption of old single-bush DC too! :lol:

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by Maitre_Tea » Aug 13th 09 3:14 am

tingjunkie wrote:
Maitre_Tea wrote:...didn't Imen also write in her blog with daily consumption of old single-bush DC you'll have a nice patina in a few weeks?
Not that Imen's reputation isn't great, but if I sold tea, I would advocate daily consumption of old single-bush DC too! :lol:
true true, but at the same I think that patina might build up faster with nice quality tea. :?: I highly recommend trying old single-bush DC from Imen. Even some of her less expensive choices (which are still kind of expensive) can last beyond 15 infusions, and you only need 3-4 grams per session. So really, daily consumption is like one session of DC, I think :?

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by tingjunkie » Aug 13th 09 3:17 am

Yeah, it's definitely on my to do list! I've never had a tea with such stamina. I'd like to experience that.

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Re: Chao Zhou Teapot?

by Salsero » Aug 13th 09 3:28 am

wyardley wrote: It's possible that the makeup clay on the outside is denser than the inside clay.
Makeup clay. Is that the reason that the exterior of some of these pots is so stunningly shiny and smooth feeling? Is makeup clay a feature of Chao Zhou pots, all pots, only less expensive pots, or what? Of course I love to believe that the exterior surface is as it is due to the firing and the material's reaction to the heat, but it sounds like there is probably a veneer of the shiny stuff on a surface that otherwise looks more like the interior of the pot or more like some of my more drab pots. Is that the case?