How Many Teapots Are Too Many? A Review of “Inside the Head of a Collector”

I'm most definitely not a Marie Kondo-type of person. Many—many—things bring me joy, or, often, too much guilt to allow me to discard (kids' artwork). But am I a collector? For most of my life I would've said no. I pick up whatever I find particularly appealing and within my means but I've rarely sought out … Continue reading How Many Teapots Are Too Many? A Review of “Inside the Head of a Collector”

So What Does “Orange Pekoe” Mean Anyway?

Of course you recognize this iconic package: —and orange pekoe almost means Lipton! But what does that "orange pekoe" really mean? Perhaps surprising to many of us, it has nothing to do with the flavor or the type of tea, and can be viewed with multiple lenses. Position of leaf on plant At the top … Continue reading So What Does “Orange Pekoe” Mean Anyway?

A Rare, and Royal, Teapot

With the upcoming nuptials in England, there's been much speculation about wedding attire and appropriate gifts. Since my invitation was clearly lost in the mail, it seems that the closest I will ever be to the Queen of England is, well, an ocean away. But I did see the twin of a teapot that she … Continue reading A Rare, and Royal, Teapot

How to Brew Oolong Teas

Early in China's Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), Fujian tea producers began a new tea process, resulting in wulong—or oolong—teas. For these, three to four tea leaves are plucked along with the buds. These more mature leaves are able to stand up to the extensive processing steps that they undergo (see previous post).During this processing, the leaves are … Continue reading How to Brew Oolong Teas

Why Great Loose Leaf Tea Comes via Germany

From One Perspective, as Tourist There is something special between kids and their grandparents. A bond, a pact, between them that tacitly circumvents the parents. So as a teenager back in the early 1970s, I was lucky enough to travel several times with my grandmother, visiting her brother in Kassel, Germany, and seeing the country … Continue reading Why Great Loose Leaf Tea Comes via Germany

Loose Leaf Tea in an Art Museum Exhibit

Loose leaf tea in an art museum? Unexpected perhaps, but tea—along with its ware and ceremony—has been integral to Western culture for hundreds of years and to Asian culture for thousands! Currently, TeaHaus loose leaf tea is part of an ongoing exhibit, Elegance from the East: New Insights into Old Porcelain, at the Indianapolis Museum of … Continue reading Loose Leaf Tea in an Art Museum Exhibit

The Valuable Tea Protected the Porcelain after This Ship Sank in 1752

If you were living in the 1700s and had to transport porcelain pieces by ship—without bubble wrap or cardboard boxes or styrofoam peanuts—you had to figure out a way to pack in as much as you could and minimize breakage. Stackable Solution The Dutch East India Company found the answer partly in "couple ware," inexpensive … Continue reading The Valuable Tea Protected the Porcelain after This Ship Sank in 1752

“Modern” Teapots in a 1700s’ Shipwreck

In early 1700s, an overloaded Chinese junk caught fire and sank. Like the ship lost in 1644 (see previous post), this was really bad news for exporter and importer alike! The vessel had picked up its cargo from the porcelain factories of Canton and was en route to Batavia, the capital of the Dutch East … Continue reading “Modern” Teapots in a 1700s’ Shipwreck

A 1644 Shipwreck and Its Teapots

Sometime around 1644, bad news reached Chinese exporters and Dutch importers. A Chinese junk—laden with porcelain—was lost in the South China Sea. This was a huge loss! In these early years of porcelain trade between East and West, fine porcelain was costly, turnaround time was measured in years, and demand in the West was growing. … Continue reading A 1644 Shipwreck and Its Teapots

How Old Is That Teapot? Using Art to Date and Interpret Art

When I look at these teapots, I see beauty, whimsy, creativity. What I cannot see, however, is when they were made. And their vastly different interpretations of teapot form don't help. We can assume they were all made by twenty-first-century artists (correctly in this case), but assumptions are not entirely reliable. So, too, with those … Continue reading How Old Is That Teapot? Using Art to Date and Interpret Art