Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New Clay

We test new clays regularly and there is nothing so special about that. But clay I used for this teapot can be labeled as fully natural. It was picked by our friend near her house, when some workers were making trench for water pipe. Yes, she is potter and living in village which is known for traditional ceramic, she is always looking around for local clays.

 Few months back, she give me backet of rough material to try. After soaking in water, sieving, drying and a lot of kneading I got few kilos of a bit too sandy, yet nice clay. Few tests later I created several teapots and some cups to see how they will stand the fire. On pictures here you can see first of those teapots. It was fired by one of our students in our small wood kiln last weekend. I am happy about the final result. And I was even more happy that Michal Zajacek of Harmony of Tea was present during unloading of that kiln. As photographer he is professional and his passion for tea is very live. What a combination! Thank you Michal.

This unglazed teapot can hold 120ml. I put some dry horsetail weed on the top before firing- it created the green-yellow ring on the lid. The clay reminds me some shigaraki pieces I saw. I hope to get more of it soon. I am quite curious how it will work with tea and how it is going to age.

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Yiwu MaoCha to drink in 2023

After testing the MaoCha from TeaUrchin, I coudl not help myself, but there was idea hovering at the back of my mind. How woudl such fine, clean and yet powerfull tea age? What difference will make if it will be maocha and not a cake? I do not belive in my storage condition to that point that I would invest in few tongs of  tea which is not, let say, from one of the cheapest. Anyway, I have know that I would go back to this question again and again with another fresh leaves so I was thinking about going from ideas to actions. When Eugene of TeaUrchin offered me the Maocha for friendly price (in order to make me happy and also to make space for fresh, 2013, tea leaves) I asked him to send me all what they have left. They have prepared several hundred grams of Luo Shui Dong and Manz Huan in small sample bags. Those will serve us my thank-you-for-your-support gifts for my customers.

And then there was also 500g of Gao Shan Zhai, which was, based on my testing notes, the winner of my testing. I am going to keep those leaves for myself. The idea is to let it sealed (waxed) in ceramic jar for 30  20 10years. You may say that using the wax is not nessesery. Thruth is, that it have to be there. Other wise it would be too tempting to not open it several times a year (at least), that I know. I used clean natural beeswax and label it with some basic informations.

 I was more then supriced how bulky can 500g of maocha be. I have used Mirka's ceramic jar which was made for 200-250g cakes and it was close shave. You can fit there nine 250g cakes, which makes 2.25kg of tea. Or, after light shaking, you can put there 500g of this Gao Shan Zhai. Some sources say that pressing tea was invented for better transportation and storage, and here we can see the point.

Call for expressions of interest: During April of 2023 I will open this jar and I will be happy to share with anyone around. If you are interested, please write that event in to your calendar. Just let me know that you are interested in advance (during March 2023 will be best). Cup of eleven years old Maocha from Gao Shan Zhai will be ready for you.

note: In Czech, we had this proverb (or rather pearl of wisdom): Plant a three, Build a house, and Father a son. I have to say I miss there "Stash a tea" When the three will be tall and bear a fruits, your son will be looking for his own house, you can sit quiet in your chair and break the seal on one of yours tea jars...

Thank you for reading!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Gem number fourteen- The End of the Winter

This new Gem is already with us for a while now. I was still waiting for a sun to make pictures, which will make a justice to that piece. But the winter did not want to give up, sky was keeping to be steely grey and some flake of snow have been landing on my hairs even yesterday, seventh of April. But today, the brake is here. Morning was freezy, yet sunny blue. And I know, we will sit on the fresh green grass, sipping brew of fresh tea leaves from 2013 harvest pretty soon. Really looking forward to it!
Till that, enjoy those "End of the Winter" pictures. I can imagine that for some pre-QingMing Dragon Well it would do a great job.

And one more thing...before looking at new pot, please say goodbye to the Gem number four "A Stone behind grass". My friend, who have reserved this piece, is now on his trip around tea gardens of Yunnan. But I  believe that he will steep some 2013 maocha in it soon.

For more pictures of the new piece please visit this page. If the Ten Gems of The Ten Kilns project is new for you, then please read this post first.

Thank you for reading. 

And of course, enjoy some fresh spring teas! As every spring, it is once-in-a-lifetime...