Tea wares are made of a variety of materials which affect the taste of tea.
In this article, I‘m going to introduce the materials used in tea wares.
Types of materials
When it comes to ceramics, “pottery” and “porcelain” are famous, but surprisingly there are various materials that can be used.
Porcelain is white, translucent, finely textured, and has a smooth touch.
Feldspar and silica, which are often found in the clay used to make porcelain, have the property of crystallizing and hardening when fired at high temperatures.
This makes it possible to make thin and light ceramics while maintaining its strength compared to pottery.
In addition, since it does not absorb water, it is hard to get color and stain, and it is often used for daily tableware.
Typical examples of porcelain include Arita ware and Kutani ware, and Meissen is a famous foreign brand.
Pottery is a “earthenware” made from porcelain clay, and it is often seen in a tea ceremony.
Since pottery is fired at a low temperature, the components contained in the raw materials have a weak connection and pottery are more fragile than porcelain.
For that reason, it is made thick so that it does not break easily.
The thicker container prevents heat conduction, so that the brewed tea does not get cold easily, and you can enjoy it deliciously for a long time.
In the long history of tea, pottery has produced many masterpieces of tea wares.
Mashiko ware and Hagi ware are famous.
Stoneware is made of stone. It is a ceramic which is formed by mixing clay and powder made by crushing rocks, and it is located between pottery and porcelain.
When you hit it, it makes a high sound similar to porcelain, but it doesn’t have water absorbency or translucency like pottery.
Stoneware is rather more pottery in appearance and has a simple and serene atmosphere unique to Japan.
Stoneware is not as well-known as pottery and porcelain, but there is a wide range of ceramics made from Stoneware, including Echizen ware, which is characterized by the natural glaze produced by melting wood ashes, Shigaraki ware, which is famous for its raccoon dog figurines, and Tokoname ware, which has the largest share of teapot in Japan.
Heat-resistant glass is used in tea wares made of minerals such as silica sand, borax, boric acid.
Glass tea wares have a wide range of uses, and they are useful for brewing not only green tea but also black tea and Chinese tea.
In particular, when brewing flower tea, a kind of Chinese tea, you can enjoy the tea time before you drink it as you can enjoy the elegantly swaying tea leaves that gradually open in the hot water.
Glass tea wares are easy to maintain and handle, so even beginners can use them without worries.
Although most tea ceremony bowls have a strong image of ceramics, during the summer, you can often find beautiful glass teacups that are handcrafted one by one by.
Common materials of metal include iron, stainless steel, copper, and aluminum.
It is used as a kettle to boil water for tea or a tea strainer to make tea, but the most commonly used material for tea wares is copper.
Since copper has moisture regulating properties, tea leaves in a copper tea caddy keep their flavor longer.
Differences in taste due to materials
Tea is a delicate drink, so the taste changes depending on the materials.
Porcelain and glass do not absorb water, so the aroma and ingredients are hard to absorb, allowing the flavor and aroma of the tea to be served straight away.
On the other hand, pottery is highly absorbent, so the tea wares absorb excess components and astringency, and produce a clean mild taste.
Stoneware, which has both porcelain and pottery properties, absorbs tannins, which gives it a mild taste with less astringency.
Copper, with its copper ions, decomposes the impurities in tap water and makes the water taste mellow.
In addition, copper’s excellent thermal conductivity expedites the flow of tea, making tea with less astringency and more sweetness and aroma.