• Tiaosha and Pear Skin Zhuni

    Where does Pear Skin Zhuni come from? How is this bumpy texture created?

    Sometimes marketed as being an exotic variety of zhuni clay, or old storage “lao” zhuni clay, pear skin zhuni is produced through a very old technique that is still practiced in Yixing today, called 调砂 Tiaosha.

  • Yixing Clay: Hongni

    Where does it come from and what exactly is it? Hongni is one of the most enigmatic clays in Yixing. 

  • Seasoning an Yixing Teapot

    One of the first things that you will read about Yixing Teapots is that they “season” with use.

  • Don't Boil that Teapot!

    Before first using a new Yixing Teapot, there are a few short steps that should be taken, and a few simple rules to follow to keep the pot in good condition for future tea sessions.
  • Yixing Teapot Pairing or Which Tea for which teapot?

    We always recommend trying a new teapot with as many different kinds of tea as possible. You may be surprised by what goes well with a certain kind of clay.

  • The Sound of an Yixing Teapot

    Can you tell if an Yixing Teapot is real by banging the lid against the body? What does a real Yixing Teapot sound like? Should zhuni ring like a bell?
  • Making Chinese Lacquerware Teacups.

    The lacquer is made using sap from the Chinese lacquer tree (Toxicodendron vernicifluum, also known as Japanese sumac and varnish tree). After filtering and heat treating, the sap is mixed with pigments and applied as layers of varnish to the outside of the cups. The video above shows each step in this process. 
  • Achieving blue, white and red: Jihong and Qinghua Porcelain

    A deep yet brilliant red, Jihong is one of the classic glaze colors of Jingdezhen. Although the ingredients in the recipe are known, the difficulty of firing this glaze has meant that many porcelain studios choose an easier, more modern recipe to achieve a red glaze. Porcelain pieces that are made with the original glaze recipe for jihong are known as "fanggu" porcelain for their adherence to the original recipe.
  • Taiwan Oolong's Long Harvest

    Spring Taiwanese oolongs begin to arrive in the market in early April, but the last of the Taiwanese oolongs arrive only in late May/early June. Why do some oolongs arrive relatively early while others arrive at the beginning of summer? Why is the oolong season so long in Taiwan? The answer is elevation.  
  • Frost in DaYuLing

    The photos above show the tea fields at the 100K Tea Garden in DaYuLing a day apart. Frost struck early this week, reducing the number of leaves that can be harvested from an already small number.
  • 4 Famous Clays of China

    In 1953, The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Chinese government classified Four Major Clays, they are Yixing Zisha, Qinzhou Nixing Clay, Jianshui Zitao, and Chongqing Rongchang Clay.

    Some of these clays, such as zisha (Yixing Clay), have enjoyed more attention. Each has its own history and uses. Below is a very brief description outlining the basic history, differences between these four famous clays, and what they are most often used for in China. 

  • What is Heini? Wuhui and Black Yixing Teapots

    (Originally published March 26, 2020) If you’re looking at a “Heini” 黑泥 (Black Clay) Yixing Teapot, chances are you’re looking at a teapot that h...