His previous bowls and cups had been fired for a week. This time, the firing was reduced to 2 days and he used a special technique involving water to achieve these effects. The result on the above tea jars (8 cm and 7 cm high respectively) is a success. The warmth of the fire is clearly visible on these jars. And with the porosity of this type of earth ware, they are very well suited to store cooked puerh.
I also like the cups and their stand. I have used these as Cha Tuos with my singing cups here. The size fits them nicely too.
Compared to the week long firing, the shapes are much better preserved. The week long pieces look much more as if they had gone through hell and barely made it back! Here, it's more like a nice tan on the beach!
The shorter, the more control the potter has on the effects, but also the less 'natural' and unexpected the changes. Here we still have enough natural feel. On the other hand, with less wood and time consumed, the cost (and price) of these pieces can be reduced (roughly divided by 3).
And what about the impact on the tea?
The porosity of these pieces is great. Thanks to the traditional firing and the use of natural clays (some as old as 40 years), these cups manage to filter the tea and change its taste greatly. It's like they are 'sucking' the taste out of the tea. (That's one reason cooked puerh or rough raw puerh is a good fit). Astringency and bitterness are greatly reduced. It's even enough to use just an earth ware cup or teapot instead of both together. The tea felt much smoother, rounder than brewed and drunk from a porcelain cup. (Tests with my 2000 CNNP cooked puerh and a Menghai 'high mountain' cooked puerh of 2008).
First, I felt that the longer fired cups handled heat better: they remained warm longer. Second, the taste was full, more harmonious and had more depth. One of the differences is that the long firing produced natural glazing through the 'crystallization' of the many ashes falling on the cup. However, this natural glazing is only partial and still allows for filtering.
Still, it's already great to experience the positive impact on cooked puerh with these wares. It's nice to confirm that the traditional wood firing isn't just about aesthetics and how different firings impact the tea.
These wares are a real pleasure for the eye, bringing back to a time of folk art where every piece was unique and an expression of the culture of its time.
Thank you, David, for the Fire that lights your passion for pottery and ours for tea.