A study in the subtle dialogue between tea and the vessel that holds it.
One of the things I strongly believe in is the importance of the vessel on the taste and experience of tea-drinking, perhaps even more so than water. The right vessel changes and influences the tea-drinking experience through multiple facets:- aesthetically, textually, and scent, touch and taste-wise; just as a tranquil environment may help to lead one into a calm, meditative state.
Imagine drinking a High Mountain Oolong through Hong Kong’s favourite white paper cup dotted with orange flowers. The cheap, flimsy cup invokes a fast, cheap image in one’s head. The paper cup may be too thin to safely hold the hot liquid, and drinking through the plastic lid scorches the lips and adds an unpleasant “plastic” taste to the tea, all in all destroying the subtle characters of the High Mountain Oolong. This is an extreme example of a bad selection of vessel, but you get the picture.
Drinking through the right vessel, on the other hand, can greatly elevate the experience. A well-made glass cup, for example, can be a joy to look at with the beautiful, changing colours of each pour of tea. A thick rimmed clay cup can add a raw, soothing feeling to the lips, while a Zi Sha teapot over time can enhance the flavours of tea.
To learn more about how different materials can affect tea, come visit our “Textualised” Exhibition, or join a Dialogue between Tea and Ceramics on the 14th December.There will be a panel discussion and tea tasting session to experience how different materials can affect and enhance the taste and texture of teas. Click HERE for more.