Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Interior colors

Hakeme Daisen Yunomi with Sencha

It is often said that tea is best presented in a cup with a white Interior. Consider the picture above, in which the Yunomi holds green tea, but the color does not seem to stand out, and almost looks a bit of a repulsive brownish yellow color of stale green tea.

I would like to outline why I both accept and deny the concept that tea should only be presented in a cup with a white interior and talk about when it is okay to ignore that "rule."

The pro's of a White interior:

  1. You have a well defined base color of which you can use to reference the actual color of the tea.
  2. Using that base color you can see the density in the color of the tea, i.e. how the color changes close to the edge where the tea is thinner.
  3. Easy to know if it is clean or dirty.

But white is also boring, so while it should be viewed as a golden standard for a teacup for any sort of tea. Though different colored interiors can do wonders for different types of teas. For example consider how wonderful this tea looks simply because it is held in a cup with a blue interior:

A stuck drip of tea

So while blue interiors do wonders for green teas, making their slightly more natural yellow colors come across as bright vibrant green. It seems darker colored teas look good in a wider variety of cups with interior colors. That is because they tend to be much more opaque and less likely to have the interior color create an off appearance with the color of the tea.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wonderful ingenuity

Eiichi Rock (2)

Shibuya Eiichi, the grandson of a known Hagi Artist Shibuya Deishi, is certainly making splashes in certain circles namely those on Teachat which possibly houses the largest collection of Hagi Yaki lovers in the West. It is pieces like his Rocks that honestly show why. While I had always found the rocks visually stunning, I had held off purchasing one on beliefs that it might be a bit more of a show piece than an actual functional piece.

Let me assure you those fears were ill placed, although I will warn that the rocks are not very hot water friendly. They are easily usable with the temperatures necessary for Green tea, but I hear they are quite the finger burner when used with near boiling water.

Eiichi Rock

This piece came from a Teachat Super Special Offer, and was piece number 1 from that offering (not my first pick, but I was quite smitten by just about all of them). These were the first batch of rocks that were done by pinch work (tebineri), and I would have to go back and look at pictures but this one gives a distinctive chamfered look to it, with slightly extra build up to give the full on rock appearance.

In full fledged High praise this might easily be in the running for one of my favorite teacups, in stiff competition with some wonderful pieces, but it clearly holds its own.