Tea ceramics @ Siam Tea Shop
For a while, developing a new tea-ceramic line proved to be one of the biggest challenges since the establishment of Siam Tea Shop. Originally, I had managed to source ancient, hand-made teapots and other tea accessories from China. My source was a market in Doi Mae Salong, North Thailand, where these old quality handcrafts were available at a more than reasonable price. At that time, there was still a “green” border between North Thailand and China.
Today, there is no more such green border, and that market has lost much of its attractiveness since. However, after investigations towards the actual source had led to the conclusion that such goods were no longer produced or available, I was up the creek without a paddle. What would I offer at Siam Tee Shop that would meet my quality and individuality requirements? Cheap industrial products that would sell through nice visual appearance? For god’s sake, no… Alternatively, however, importing high-quality tea pottery across the distance from China would be rather difficult.
Later, we added a comparatively easy-to-source line of Japanese tea pottery: Kyusu teapots, yuzamashi, Japanese tea cups and, of course, matcha bowls. Still, the future of Siam Tea Shop’s Chinese tea pottery line remained uncertain.
The SiamTeas Signature Tea Pottery Line
Until one day, when I stumbled upon the website of a Belgian pottery master, specialized in Chinese and Japanese tea pottery. What I saw there, especially the artist’s unglazed works, fascinated me right away. And inspired me to the idea of a “Signature” tea ceramics line at Siam Tea Shop.
This way, I would not only be able to match the targeted quality, but also achieve a particularly high degree of individuality. And I could ensure that no industrial processes would be part of the production of my tea ceramics. Plus, everything would be 100% handmade. What a great idea … And here was the opportunity to make it happen.
Such motivated, I contacted the artist and talked to her about my idea. At this, the individual elements of the line were to be based on existing works of the artist, but according to my own specifications. The rest is history … And today, you can find the results here at Siam Tea Shop.
The SiamTeas Signature Shiboridashi 100ml, unglazed, fine yellow clay
The “shiboridashi” or “shibo” is a tea making vessel that is typical for Japan. While at first sight resembling a Chinese “gaiwan”, the shiboridashi has a set of characteristics of its own. For example, unlike the Gaiwan, it serves only for the preparation of tea and not as a drinking vessel. Therefore, it has a spout for pouring the tea into the drinking vessel. And this comes with an integrated strainer, consisting of several grooves in the pouring channel.
In Japan – naturally – the Shiboridashi is preferably used for the preparation of Japanese green teas. Nevertheless, it is also suitable for preparing other types of tea. This especially applies to preparing oolong teas across a series of infusions, and to white teas.
Like the original model, the SiamTeas Signature Shiboridashi is made of fine, light yellow clay, and left unglazed. The particularly iron-rich clay contributes to a set of desirable properties, including the high fracture strength of this clay vessel. In terms of size, our Signature Shiboridashi, in line with ancient Chinese standards, accommodates well 100 ml of liquid, plus the corresponding amount of tea leaves. The shapely, elegant Shiboridashi pours drip-free, and you can touch and handle it at the rim even in hot condition. Regular rinsing with warm water while using a not to hard scouring sponge will help preventing the formation of patina. However, many tea lovers will appreciate the patina.
Well, why unglazed …. First of all, it was the artist’s raw, non-glazed works, which had originally inspired me. Then, contemplating about the matter, I remembered why. On the one hand, because the natural clay greatly emphasizes the connection between the soil and the tea leaves. And thereby that between the soil and the tea. Then, because the desirable properties of clay with tea preparation will show best this way. And thirdly, I found the unglazed vessels simply incredibly beautiful and best reflecting the simple character of the tea.
Any doubts? Just give it a try … And you won’t want to use any other tea vessels anymore!
Please note ! Since each of our SiamTeas Signature Shiboridashi is individually hand-crafted, virtually every specimen is unique. Therefore, minor deviations in shape and capacity may occur between individual specimens.
Other elements of our SiamTeas Signature Tea Ceramics Line
Beyond the shiboridashi, our SiamTeas Signature Tea Ceramics line includes the following elements in orientation at the core requirements for the casual or ritual tea preparation:
- The SiamTeas Signature Yixing Teapot 200ml, unglazed, fine red clay,
- The SiamTeas Signature Yuzamashi 250ml, unglazed, coarse red clay,
- and The SiamTeas Signature Porcelain Tea Cup 50ml, glazed
Moreover, teapot, shibo and yuzamashi are also available as an ensemble, of course coming with a price advantage: