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Bone China vs. Clay: Which material is better to make tea with?

In this article, we’re going to share some of our thoughts on how the choice of brewing vessel material can change the characteristics of tea, but first, a disclaimer: While we strongly believe in experimenting with different brewing vessel materials, ultimately, the best brewing vessel is the one you enjoy using.

I’d like to introduce the two teapots we used for this comparison. The first one is our very beautiful bone china teapot. The walls of this teapot are moderately thin, and it holds 115ml of water. The second teapot we used is not very glamorous, but it is incredibly functional. We chose a simple red mud (紅泥) clay teapot. This teapot has thick walls, and holds 140ml of water.

We think comparing one of the most common vessel materials (clay), with a rather uncommon material (bone china) will make for an interesting comparison.

For this comparison, we chose to use a mildly roasted tea. We made this tea using our typical brewing method: Amount of Tea Used: 7 grams/100 ml

Water Temperature: Boiling (100° C)

1st Round Brewing Time: 55 Seconds

2nd Round Brewing Time: 40 Seconds

3rd Round Brewing Time: 55 Seconds

First up was our bone china pot. The tea this pot made was light and gentle; it greatly enhanced the sweetness of the tea. Even though the initial flavor was light, the aftertaste still lasted for a long time. However, to our surprise, this pot almost completely removed the roasting flavor from this tea. It also greatly decreased the aroma of this tea. If you prefer your tea to have brighter, more fresh notes, then a bone china teapot might be a good fit for you.

The clay teapot made a very different cup of tea. The tea tasted thicker, and had more heavy notes to it. The roasted character of the tea we chose was also intact. The tea tastes nutty, with some notes of brown sugar, and the tea had an obvious roasted aroma to it. The aftertaste was also stronger than it was when we used the bone china teapot. If you prefer your tea to have deeper, more earthy notes, then a clay teapot might be a good fit for you.

Our feeling is that both materials have their strong and weak points. Because of this, we would chose to use different teas for these pots. In the clay teapot, we would use roasted or aged oolongs. In the bone china teapot, we would use unroasted oolongs or black tea. But, we will say this again, this is just our opinion.


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