Apr 26, 2014

pictures of some popular Factory #1 teapots

More pictures are here.

The pictures are rather small and are mainly for the purpose of style identification. These pictures could be found in quite a few Chinese tea websites and teapot websites. So far there is no copyright concern. I guess some non-Chinese yixing lovers would be interested in these pictures as well, and therefore put them in the above public album.

I have a few other series of Factory #1 teapots pictures and will put them together in a folder soon.

These are not inclusive of all Factory #1 teapot styles, but cover most of the commonly seen styles. There were large amount of custom order teapots that were not included in Factory #1 catalog as those in the pictures showed here. In the market, the "cataloged ones" are usually more expensive than the uncatalogued ones, when qualities are similar in all aspects. This is largely for identity reasons, as it's easier to identify and authenticate the cataloged teapots. I'm not sure if it would still be the case in the long run, as some of the cataloged styles were made in much greater amount than some of the uncatalogued styles.

For people who are interested in more detailed and artistic documentation of some Factory #1 yixing styles, I would recommend this book: 钰壶雅集 Yu Hu Ya Ji

Some pictures of this book can be find on this page of Wu-Shing Books. This is one of the three "bibles of yixing teapots" named by some Chinese yixing lovers (another one of three is the Gu Jingzhou book).

As far as I know, this book is still being sold in Taiwan for about $60-80.

And here again is the question, if you have $100, would you spend it on a good but not fabulous teapot, or a picture book of splendid teapots? 

Apr 12, 2014

The last bit of 2013 green tea

I'm sitting in a room full of 2014 new green teas, while drinking this last bit of a 2013 green tea called "wild orchid bud". By the way this is a very unimpressive green tea name, as there are so many "orchid this", "orchid that" tea in China! This is one of my favorites in recent years. Amazingly, this tea still tastes very good. Sometime ago, when I wrote this blog post about shelf life of green tea, I was thinking that among all green teas well made and well stored, some teas simply last longer than others. For example, quite a few Anhui green teas (such as huang shan mao feng and this "wild orchid bud") seem to have much longer shelf life than teas like bi luo chun.

I tasted a few samples of this tea in 2012 and immediately fell in love with it. In recent years, I've decided to introduce at least one or two "new" (I mean new to American market) green teas to America. For example, in 2011, it was Orchid Fairy Twig. In 2012, it was Bai Mei Hua Jian. Up till today, not many people have heard of this latter tea (but the knowledgeable barbel carp tea lexicon has included this tea, impressive!), either in China or else where. But it's not less tasty than many very famous green teas. Last year, my "new" tea to bring up was supposed to be this "wild orchid bud". But unfortunately, a whole shipment with this tea and a few others were lost in transition, and eventually I only got a little bit of this tea as a gift in an order of other teas. But this year, it will come again!

Why would I drink old tea while the new tea is already here? There are a few reasons.

First, I'm very thrifty. Got to finish the old tea, no waste of tea!

Secondly, no matter how good the old tea remains, once you start the new tea, under the comparison, you will immediately switch to new tea and won't want any of the old tea anymore. You all know it.

Thirdly, it's ok to wait for a while. Traditionally, it was recommended that the new green tea should rest for 2-4 weeks before usage. It was for several combined reasons, including the flavor development of the tea and the traditional Chinese medicine theories. Whether or not the tea is healthier after a couple of weeks' resting, there isn't any evidence-based conclusion yet. But I do believe it and wouldn't mind waiting for a big longer. In the old days, one wouldn't even think about whether the green tea needs to be rested for 2-4 weeks, because nobody could get it any time sooner anyway. It used to take weeks for a green tea to be transported from its hometown to the province next to it. Nowadays, it takes several days for a tea to be transported from its mountain to another side of the earth, and it is possible to drink a new tea very soon. But it wouldn't be too much pain to wait for a bit longer. So, try to finish your 2013 tea first! ;-)