Sunday, December 2, 2012
I managed to lugged home 3 tea trays from my last Guangzhou trip. Chinese tea drinkers should get a tea tray when they visit Guangzhou - its cheap, you save the costs of freight if you had ordered online and you have a wider choice of trays to choose from. You will ask....why did I buy 3 tea trays? Well, to show off I have 3 tea trays, I had extra luggage space and I am deep into Chinese tea. But seriously, they are very nice to look and would make nice gifts (I can't bear to part with them).
There are many types of tea trays for sale that are used for Chinese tea brewing. They can be made from wood, bamboo, stone and even metal. Larger versions have the luxury of a hose attached to the tray where discarded tea and water is drained away by the hose to a container that is usually tied to a foot of a table.
You will observed from the above pictures that that all 3 tea trays are pretty portable, in that, you can set it on any table or flat surface and start a tea brewing session. They are usually about a foot wide (36cm) and are quite light to handle.
The 1st tray is made up of wood, where the top lid can be removed for easy cleaning. It comes with a plastic sliding tray that holds tea and discarded water easily.
The 2nd tray is a simple aluminum tea tray with a removable lid. This will outlast, in terms of life span, the rest of the other 2 tea trays shown, and is a very popular tea tray used by the older Chinese tea drinkers. You can consider making this tea tray a family heirloom as well.
The 3rd tea tray is also made from wood. It is unique in that no nails are used to assemble this tea tray. It is very well constructed with very precise and tight joints. I found this last tea tray most appealing to the eye.
Do remember to wipe down the tea tray after use. These would, especially for the wooden and bamboo tea trays, extend the life span and keep the trays in good condition.
Is the tea tray necessary in a Chinese tea brewing set up? No, you can just use a gaiwan and a couple of tea cups to enjoy a tea session. A couple of my friends use 2 large bowls. He rest a teapot in the bowl and use the other bowl to collect discarded tea and water. You can brew Chinese tea anyway you like or do it where it is practical and convenient to you.
But, I would suggest you get a tea tray. It makes tea brewing a better experience. I cannot qualify or quantify this experience........You are just deep into Chinese tea.