Made from a special clay found only in the city of Yixing, China, this extraordinary teapot possesses the ability to absorb the flavours of the teas inside it over a number of years.
Those who have the privilege of owning and using one over many years are said to be able to brew tea simply by adding plain, boiling water to the pot.
Before the teapot is made, the mined-out clay is left in the sun in the form of large rocks after extraction to weather. This process will take in excess of a year before the clay is ready to be pounded into a powder and sieved to remove impurities. The clay is then placed in a large fresh water tank for three days, and is then allowed to dry out under sunlight. Finally, before it is ready to be sold, excess moisture is drawn out of the product using a vacuum processor.
Such preparation seems excessive, but it doesn’t end there. The potter artisan must make time for a further two days of processing, which involves pounding the clay with a wooden mallet while every so often adding some water, until there are no air pockets to be seen.
With such a lengthy process and renowned tea-brewing capabilities, Yixing teapots are not nearly as expensive as they might sound at first glance. The unfortunate truth, however, is that while commonplace in China, much of the Western World is unfamiliar with them.
An exciting opportunity has come about in the tea world recently, thanks to the hard efforts of the ITEI, or Internation Tea Education Institute. Hosted by four tea experts – Sylvana Levesque, Brigitte Horrenberger, Susan Peters and Sandy Li – a 10 day intensive is being held in Zhejiang Province, China, where you can learn about Chinese teas in a way that no other educational experience could hope to provide.
Students will take part in a large variety of educational tea activities from renowned local producers, growers, and experts. Focused on will be the famous Chinese green tea Dragon Well, or Long Jing.
The tour begins on September 15, 2014, and continues for a total of 10 days and 9 nights.
Included in the cost of the tour:
10 days and 9 nights in the Hangzhou region of Zhejiang Province. Beautiful five-star hotel accommodations are provided throughout the tour
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are all provided daily
Transport to all locations in the tour, including to and from Hangzhou Airport
A professional photographer to document your learning experience, as well as four tea experts to guide and educate you
All activities, entrance fees, etc. are included
An “Advanced Certificate for Education in Chinese Tea Study & Travel” will be awarded to each student upon their completion of the tour
Airfares (this allows students to extend their trip beyond the tour dates).
A tuition fee of $4,250 for ITEI and CTMA (Canadian Tea Masters Association) members, or $4,475 for non-members. Further details will be announced soon and displayed on the ITEI website in the tea tours section. For bookings and more information, please feel free to contact Sylvana P. Levesque, at email@example.com.
We continue our tea history lessons today with a small post on Confucius.
Confucius lived in ancient China (Circa 551 – 479 BCE) and today is considered to be the greatest philosopher in ancient Chinese history. Confucianism, a philosophy adopted by great numbers of ancient Chinese people, was first founded by Meng Zi (Confucius’ student) and Confucius himself, although the date of its establishment can only be guessed at.
Confucianism had a great impact on Chinese tea culture, and became an important starting point for the time-honoured and ancient Chinese tea ceremony. Tea was associated with harmony, etiquette, optimism and calmness, and this laid down the brickwork for the ceremony, which was partially based upon these four imperative principles.
The etiquette of simply serving tea (sans ceremony) was also influenced by Confucianism. Confucius himself was also noted as a consumer of the beverage.