Yixing clay is a type of clay from the region near the city of Yixing in Jiangsu province, China. Its use dates back to the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279). From the 17th century on, the Yixing wares were commonly exported to Europe. The finished stoneware, which is used for teaware and other small items, are usually red or brown in color. They are known as Zisha ware, and are typically unglazed.
The term “yixing clay” is often used as an umbrella term to describe several distinct types of clay used to make stoneware:
Zisha or Zi Ni (紫砂 or 紫泥 ; literally, “purple sand/clay”): this stoneware has a purple-red-brown color.
Zhusha or Zhu Ni (朱砂 or 朱泥; literally, “cinnabar sand/clay”): reddish brown stoneware with a very high iron content. The name only refers to the sometimes bright red hue of cinnabar. There are currently 10 mines still producing Zhu Ni. However, due to the increasing demand for Yixing stoneware, Zhu Ni is now in very limited quantities. Zhu Ni clay is not to be confused with Hong Ni (红泥, literally, “red clay”).
Duan Ni (鍛泥; literally, “fortified clay”): stoneware that was formulated using various stones and minerals in addition to Zi Ni or Zhu Ni clay. This results in various textures and colors, ranging from beige, blue, and green (绿泥), to black.
Yixing teawares are prized because their unglazed surfaces absorb traces of the beverage, creating a more complex flavor. For these reasons, yixing teawares should never be washed using detergents, but rather with water only, and connoisseurs recommend using each tea vessel for one kind of tea (white, green, oolong, or black) or sometimes even one variety of tea only.
Picture credits: 台湾 玉凡轩
photo by Thierry Del Socorro
Ajiri Tea packaging
Women in the Kisii region of Kenya design and handcraft each label using dried bark from banana trees. Tea and bananas are the two biggest crops in this region of Kenya, and nearly every home has banana trees growing nearby. As the bark dries and falls off of the trees, the women collect it to create the labels for Ajiri Tea boxes. Using a razorblade, they cut out different designs from the bark. Each label is unique, and often features a scene from day-to-day life.
The paper used to make the boxes containing Ajiri Teabags is also handmade using water hyacinth, an invasive plant in Lake Victoria. Mike, the 29-year-old Kenyan who makes the paper, collects water hyacinth from the lake, and blends it with recycled office paper. The shade of each label can vary depending on the ratio of water hyacinth: office paper that he uses.
Inside of each box of tea is a twine made from banana tree bark and decorated with bright paper beads. The women hand cut, roll, and lacquer long, triangular strips of colored magazine paper to make the beads, and twist dried banana bark to make the twine.
In Kenya, it is especially difficult for women to find employment. But once employed, women tend to reinvest nearly all of their earnings back into their families and communities. Currently, five different women’s groups, totaling over 60 women, are creating artwork for the Ajiri Tea Company.
text from Ajiri Tea website [X]
Go check it out!
Majani Tea packaging
Check their website: http://www.majaniteas.com
难得一见的清朝制茶老照片 Rarely seen old photos of Qing Dynasty tea production
Tea is one of most important commodities for international trade in ancient China, as well as nowadays. But old photos depicting tea production and manufacture are still a rare sight, much less this series of photos. This set of 19th century glass photos recorded some scenes of the tea production industry during the final years of the Qing dinasty. It goes without saying how important they are to thestudy of chinese tea history. Thus we share it with all tea lovers.
1. 当时的民居，也是茶农的家。Dwellings at that time, were also the houses for the tea farmers.
2. 茶叶作坊 Tea workshop
3. 茶叶筛选 Sifting the leaves
4. 茶叶挑拣 Selecting the leaves
5. 茶叶分级 Grading the tea
6. 制作茶砖 Making tea bricks
7. 包装定型 Finishing packing the tea
8. 封外包装 Sealing the packages
Translated by me. Original post here: [X]
Gorreana Tea Factory, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal
The only tea plantation in Western Europe is found on the island of São Miguel in the Azores. No doubt the tea bushes feel at home at Gorreana on the humid north coast. The close-cropped tea bushes run in dense rows across the hills of the plantation. The old machines in the factory are mostly of English provenance. You can visit the factory and, before you leave, you can buy freshly fermented, green or black tea with its superb flowery flavour. You will only be able to watch all stages of tea processing from April through September, when the leaves are being picked.
Video and text by Andy Stieglitz
Still having problems accessing Tumblr here in China.
But since I’m in Macao for two weeks and the internet here is free of restrictions, I’ll share we you pictures of the two teacup sets (lotus flower and bamboo) and the plum bloom shaped coasters that I bought here in China.