You have seen a Shi Piao teapot on the cover of the Tea Museum book on my blog before. So, this is quite a famous, classical Chinese teapot shape. My potter recently made a small batch of Shi Piao teapots (10-11 cl volume) and this gave me the opportunity to lay my hands on one.
This zisha (purple/brown) clay has a nice look of milk chocolate. The texture is a little sandy and you almost feel like wanting to bite it!
This handmade model comes with a gof ball shaped inside filter.
The flat triangle shape makes it a good teapot for non rolled leaves.
This pure zisha clay is medium to soft. Because it's pure, it's impacting the tea in a clean and clear way. Because the clay is a little soft, the pores are bigger and absorb quite a lot of fragrance and astringency.
My tests on greener Tie Guan Yin and on my 2003 raw wild Yiwu puerh have shown that such teas are not perfect for this pot. The lightest fragrances don't come out. On the other hand, I was delighted with the depth and mellow aftertaste. I then had an excellent result with my 1985 raw wild Yiwu Tuo Cha. This tea is very powerful and a little astringent in the first brews: this teapot handled it very well and rounded the angles while preserving the strong cha qi.
One characteristic of the Shi Piao is its big handle, very much part of the pot. This means that the handle will become quite hot when you pour hot water on the teapot during the infusion. I had to grab the end of the handle to avoid getting my fingers burnt while pouring the tea.
I noticed a similar 'problem' with the top of the teapot: it is also very close to the body and doesn't diffuse heat as well as a small ball does. This doesn't mean that you will burn your fingers, but you will have to be careful how to hold the teapot when pouring. It was a little annoying, but I guess that with practice, I will learn to hold it correctly without thinking. It's like a new car, I need to get used to it.
The spout is big enough for a quick and clean pour. So, this means that it would also suit cooked puerh quite well. Another tea group I think would be good for this teapot are roasted Wu Yi Oolongs.
I hope you're also enjoying the look at my Xmas decoration! Red is the color of celebration in the West and in the East!(Price for this zisha Shi Piao is the same as my other small zisha teapots.)
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