Glass Teapots – More Than Just a Visual Gadget

Glass Teapot - Zen Style - see what you're drinking! (ETS image)
Glass Teapot – Zen Style – see what you’re drinking! (ETS image)

People starting to dive into the higher orders of tea preparation or studying the Chinese tea ceremony (Gong Fu Cha) will often respond with some curiosity to the obviously omnipresent, while seemingly redundant procedure of letting the tea liquor pass through a glass vessel on its way from the actual teapot to the final drinking vessel.

While the aesthetic component of such step, revealing the color of a tea’s liquor much clearer than any teacup will allow for, is something most people can catch at once, there’s much more to this:

  1. Just like the smell of a tea and the taste of a tea, the color of a tea is one integral element of degusting a tea.
  2. The way via the glass pot will, where done properly, allow for the tea liquor’s temperature to drop to just exactly that level that will enable normal human beings to swallow their degustation cup in the course of the 3 gulps “prescribed” by Chinese tea degustation culture (without the embarrassing experience of sitting there and waiting until you could actually do that).
  3. You won’t have to apply a sieve to the actual drinking vessel (which wouldn’t work with aroma cup set vessels anyway), but will use the sieve when pouring the tea from the clay teapot to the glass vessel.
  4. You will be able to distribute the clean (free of leave residues) tea liquor directly to the drinking vessels of all participants in the event, without having to add another ceramic teapot to the process chain, which would only serve the mere purpose of sieving the tea liquor without adding any real other additional value.
  5. The Chinese tea ceremony is more than just a perfected way of trying tea in practical terms, it is in fact the ritualized Chinese art  of savoring tea, and as such lives of playful and aesthetic elements as well, these often being of equal importance to the whole than the practical aspects.
  6. The glass teapot will add another element to the material components structure of the ritual, rounding the same up to being a more universal representation of the underlying (Chinese) holistic philosophy.

Uhhh, you thought it’s “just drinking tea” and you are asking why you would care for all these things in the first place? That’s okay, of course, you don’t have to, and a lot of people won’t, while still enjoying their tea, but just like with quite some other fields (such as their traditional healing and medicinal practices) , the Chinese tea culture has been nurtured by millenniums of more or less uninterrupted development, and has an enormous wealth of insights and wisdom to offer, especially for those of us, who still believe that our western ways are the ultimate blessing of human evolution.

See more of  Thomas Kasper’s articles here.

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