November 02, 2008

The Karawan Teapot

Karawan.jpg This stunning and aptly named Karawan teapot is available at Mariage Freres in Paris. It's a remake of a nineteenth century orientalist teapot and comes in either sterling silver or silver plated metal. It has a porcelain interior. Although quite expensive (over 1000 € for the plate version), I find it a fabulous piece. It has exotic, traditional, luxurious, whimsical written all over it and combines in a single piece a lot of the values I associate with tea. Although I don't really use it (as I'm afraid to break it), I do have it exposed in my kitchen and just love looking at it whilst I make my morning cup. It's also a great example of why I like to call Mariage the Hermes of tea. They really do understand how transform tea into luxury (and gold ...).

May 26, 2006

The Magical Yixing Teapots

yixing1.jpgyixing2.jpgYixing (pronounced Yee-Shing) is a city in Jiangsu province in eastern China. It's very famous for it's reddish clay that has been used for centuries in teaware. It continues to be used today. The porous nature of the Yixing clay absorbs some of the tea aroma after each brew. Because of this, Yixing teapots are believed, over time, to enhance the flavor of the tea although to achieve this effect, one must always brew the same kind of tea in a specific teapot. This means that most people who use these teapots have several of them. For example, one for Ceylon, one for Darjeeling, one for Yunnan, one for Sencha etc... This tea enhancing property also explains their enduring popularity in China and now all over the world.

Yixing teapots come in an incredible variety of shapes and forms. The two teapots pictured here are typical classic Yixing shapes but they can be much more elaborate or fanciful. They come in all price categories although they're generally cheaper than porcelain. Old Yixing teapots are collectors items and can sometimes fetch high prices at auction. Every good teashop sells them.