Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My Purple Clay YiXing Teapot 宜兴紫砂壶

These are the pictures of my 1960's YiXing Teapot which is made of real purple clay.

The clay of this teapot is fine, and it has not been used yet. It'll look nicer and shinier after being used for a period of time. Will post the pictures again in future.

It's not even my palm size.

YiXing Teapots 宜兴壶

YiXing 宜兴 (pronounced ee-shing) teapots first appeared during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279) in the YiXing region of China, located in the Jiangsu province, about 120 miles northwest of Shanghai. The Jiangsu province is the world's only source for the unique clay from which YiXing teapots are made, called purple or red clay. YiXing teapots were relatively unknown for many years until the late Ming Dynasty (1600s) when their use and production began to flourish. Demand from Europe and throughout China fueled an active industry in which many artists developed their craft to high levels of mastery. For the next three hundred years, YiXing teapots attained renown throughout China and Europe. Although the Europeans strove to imitate the YiXing teapots, they could not compete with the unique purple clay only found near YiXing, China.

Purple clay's unique properties make it ideal for brewing tea. The quality most immediately apparent is the attractive color of purple clay. This color, sometimes augmented by natural pigments, is never hidden on YiXing teapots by glazes. Similarly, the inside of YiXing teapots are always left uncoated. The porous nature of purple clay absorbs the flavor, smell, and color of the tea that is brewed in it. Over time, YiXing teapots develop a seasoning from repeated use, making the tea brewed from a well used teapot a special treat. For this reason, most people will dedicate a single flavor of tea to a specific YiXing teapot, so that the seasoning is not disrupted by cross-brewing.
Copied from www.yixing.com

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gargling with tea to avoid flu

Usually spring comes with outbreak of flu. It is reported by People's Daily that according to Japanese investigation, catechins of tea is able to restrain the activity of flu virus. So that keeping on gargling with tea can effectively help people avoid infection of it.
Flu stems from virus proliferation in nose and throat, on protuberant cells of mucous membranes that may be covered by catechins consisting in tea. Therefore tea acts as a vaccination against flu when used as a mouthwash. In this aspect, green tea has the best effect, said by researchers. We can see clearly in experiment that virus of flu becomes not infectious in 5 seconds when mixed with 4 times diluted solution of ordinary green tea.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Herbal Tea- Jiao Gu Lan 绞股兰

I heard about Jiao Gu Lan tea from a friend a few days ago and I did a little finding as below:

Jiao Gu Lan 绞股兰 which is also known as Miracle Grass or "Longevity tonic" due to its many health-giving qualities and anti-aging effects. Jiao Gu Lan is indicated for anti-inflammation, detoxification, cough remedy, as an expectorant and as a chronic bronchitis remedy. Other traditional uses as a medicine have been anecdotally said to be for heart palpitation and for fatigue syndromes.

Jiao-gu-lan (gynostemma pentaphyllum)
This herb, native to the mountainous areas of southern China, Japan and South East Asia is receiving a lot of recognition for its use as an anti-aging tonic and adaptogen. The tasty tea made from the stems and leaves of this herbaceous perennial vine have 4 times more ginseng-like saponins than either American or Asian Ginseng. It has been used in Chinese Medicine to delay the aging process and increase energy.
Research in Japan shows that the herb has a powerful effect on numerous body systems. It has been used in Chinese medicine to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, enhance circulation, increase energy without being over-stimulating, improve focus and memory, support a strong immune system and can increase stamina and endurance for athletes.
This vigorous perennial vine is hardy to 10 degrees and can climb 20 to 30 feet in a season. Jiao Gu Lan prefers a moist, partly shaded location and responds well to a fertile garden soil. Quite easy to grow and will produce a large crop to harvest for tea.
This is a plant quickly gaining in popularity which is all the more reason to cultivate it in our home herb gardens.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Typical contents of a wrapped Pu'er

Pu’er tea is specially packaged for ease of trade, identification, and storage.

Typical contents of a wrapped Pu'er:

Nèi fēi (内飞): A small ticket originally stuck on the tea cake but now usually embedded into the cake during pressing. It is usually used as proof, or a possible sign, to the authenticity of the tea. Some higher end pu-erh cakes have more than one nèi fēi embedded in the cake. The ticket usually indicates the tea factory and brand.
Nèi piào (内票): A larger ticket or flyer packaged loose under the wrapper. Both aid in assuring the identity of the cake. It usually indicates factory and brand. As well, many nèi piào contain a summary of the tea factories' history and any additional laudatory statements concerning the tea, from its taste and rarity, to its ability to cure diseases and affect weight loss.

Recently, nèi fēi has become more important in identifying and preventing counterfeits. Menghai Tea Factory in particular has begun microprinting and embossing their tickets in an effort to curb the growth of counterfeit teas found the the marketplace in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Some nèi fēi also include vintage year and are production-specific to help identify the cake and prevent counterfeiting through a surfeit of different brand labels.

Pictures of Ancient Tea-Horse Road

These are some of the pictures related to Ancient Tea-Horse Road I have copied from Internet:

Six Major Routes of Ancient Tea-Horse Road

A Chinese expert researching the Ancient Tea-Horse Road recently found a complete map of the road drawn more than 150 years ago by a French missionary. The map reveals that the road traversed a series of towering mountains, with rivers flowing in between from the south to the north. There were six main routes:

Route One: Begins in Xishuangbanna and Simao, home of Pu-erh tea via Kunming to other Province in China into Beijing.

Route Two
: Begins in Pu-erh (via Simao, Jinhong, Menghai to Daluo) in Yunnan Province into Burma, then from Burma into Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Hongkong.

Route Three
: Begins in Pu-erh via Xiaguan, Lijiang, Zhongdian into Tibet, then from Lhasa into Nepal and India.

Route Four
: Begins in Pu-erh via Jiangcheng in Yunnan into Vietman, then from Vietman into Tibet and Europe.

Route Five
: Begins in Pu-erh via Simao, Lanchang, Menglian in Yunnan into Burma.

Route Six
: Begins in Pu-erh via Mengla in Yunnan into Burma.

Tens of thousands of traveling horses and yaks created a definite path with their hoofs on the once-indiscernible road. Today, although even such traces of the ancient road are fading away, its cultural and historic values remain.