Monday, January 06, 2014

The Designer Chabu creations

Long black Chabu with grey patterns in the middle
5 years ago, Teaparker wrote the book 'Cha Xi, Mandala' and taught us to apply the concept of a mandala in our tea experience. This means creating a harmonious setup of functional beauty where the goal is to brew the tea according to its character (= get the best out of it), thanks to a thoughtful selection of appropriate wares, organized in an aesthetically pleasing manner. First, we have to understand the leaves, and then we'll know how best to brew them, with what equipment and what feeling this will lead us to.
Long green Chabu with flower pattern on the sides
This teaching has changed my blog and improved my tea experience in a dramatic way, I believe. I ditched my wooden tea table and my bamboo tray and started to regularly use a Chabu (tea cloth). This gave me so many more possibilities to express feelings and create harmonious Chaxi.
Classic black Chabu with small red stripe on the side

Inspired by my mother's quilts, I searched for nice fabrics to create very simple Chabu: one fabric per side. The various colors and designs were a great step forward to create very different atmospheres for my Chaxi. Each Chaxi becomes unique and makes each tea a special experience.

There's another reason why I like using a Chabu: it made me more focused and careful when brewing tea! I don't want to spill too much water on the cloth. On the other hand, I also know that the fabric will absorb some liquids well. There's also a nice silent and soft feeling when brewing on a Chabu.
Classic brown Chabu with purple pattern in the middle.
Tea time has become a play time for the 5 senses! The possibilities are endless. Now, a designer is creating new, more elegant and elaborate Chabu with me. These Chabu combine usually 2 different fabrics. In this article, you can see some that we made so far. And you will see more as I use them on this blog.
Long grey Chabu with grey flower stripes on the sides.
The good news is that I'm adding these 'designer' Chabu to my selection! (The second side is usually plain black, and there's an inside padding that helps absorb water and add thickness to the Chabu).
Classic green Chabu with flower patterns on top and bottom


Hector Konomi said...

Stephane, how easy are these chabu to clean? I would assume the tea stains will accumulate over time...

TeaMasters said...


These Chabu are made with cotton fabrics and are as easy to clean and any cotton cloth. They also need to be ironed afterwards. However, tea stains can be pretty difficult to clean. On porcelain, we can use the 'magic' sponge, but I doubt that the stains get off easily on any fabric.

That's the reason why I choose mostly darker colors, so that tea stains won't be so apparent. The stains are most visible when they are made with shu puerh or any other dark tea. With green tea and unroasted Oolong, tea stains are often not visible on the Chabu.