Friday, November 17, 2023

Japanese Gaiwan Variations


When it comes to brewing Chinese tea, one would normally use a teapot or gaiwan (the one in white in pix).  Add tea leaves and hot water into the gaiwan, hold up the gaiwan and tilt the cover a bit and proceed to dispense the tea. Tilting the gaiwan cover a bit will prevent the tea leaves from being poured out so you can continue to make further infusions of tea. 

Japanese also use a teapot and a variation of the gaiwan to brew their tea. There are 2 major variations; shiboridashi (bottom left) and the Hohin(right). The Shibo has no strainer but has grooves incorporated in the design. You need not tilt the cover to dispense the tea. This is less risky than the gaiwan, in my opinion as it might reduce any accidental slips or spillage of the tea. The Hohin is a spouted gaiwan with a built in strainer. This vessal is also easy to use. 

I enjoy using Japanese tea ware. They are more elaborated in terms of design and material. My Japanese tea ware collection are vintage pieces so I am more careful and deliberate in my tea brewing when I used them. Fun to use. 

Thursday, November 2, 2023

2007 Changtai Ripe Pu erh Cake


This is Changtai tea factory ripe tea cake. Produced in 2007, this cake was a special order made for a Taiwanese tea shop called Jing Mei Tang.

Changtai tea factory does special orders for their oversea clients. I am aware beside Jing Mei Tang, Chang Tai also made cakes for Cloud Tea House, a Hong Kong setup owned by the famous tea writer Chan Kam Pong. Changtai had also produced cakes for a Malaysian tea shop as well.

Jing Mei Tang had stored a portion of their Changtai tea to age in Malaysia (for 12-15 years) before moving back the tea back to Taiwan a few years ago. My Jing Mei Tang collection is from this Malaysian storage and I am very pleased with their storage results.

It was also an opportune time to refill my ripe tea caddy. This cake is called 'yi wei' (translated as one flavour or aroma). This tea, when brewed is complex, with a mix of fresh bread and leather. This unusual aromatic combination somehow worked very well together and is quite addictive. Already more than 16 years of storage under its belt, this tea is smooth, mellow and sweet. I found that adding an extra gram when I brewed this tea was even better, amplifying both taste and aroma of the tea.