Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas scents

One of my Christmas pleasures, besides excellent tea, foie gras and Alsace Gewürtztramminer is a bouquet of white orchids. They look so pure and big. And their sweet smell is so powerful that I can smell them even before I open the outside door of my apartment. It's heaven. No wonder 5 stars hotel like the Grand Hyatt often use them in their reception halls. Luxury for the nose. During the week this bouquet lasts, I feel less the need to brew light Oolongs. The nice smell is simply there and doesn't need much gongfu. Besides, with cold weather, I'm more in a mood for roasted Tie Guan Yin or cooked puerh to keep me warm.
The flowers are so strong and big that they can hold my Baotai zhuni Shui Ping teapot: (Don't try this stunt at home. We decline responsibility for any loss or consequential damages.)

Speaking of scents, Eitan, a reader in Seattle wrote me that: "I own a zisha pitcher (not a teapot) that I too often leave overnight with it's lid on when there is still moisture inside. Because of this there is a faint mildew smell in it, and I am afraid it affects the tea's smell and taste. Is there any way to get rid of this smell?"

I have often mentioned that glazed ceramic is neutral and therefore more suited to handle different teas. This is true for the gaiwan, but also for the pitcher and for the tea cups. So, first of all, I would advise Eitan to replace the zisha pitcher with a glazed one, especially if he uses it for various teas.

Having said that, it can be interesting to use a zisha (or any unglazed clay) pitcher and/or cups for their unglazed properties. If the clay is good (difficult to judge from a picture) than it can actually enhance the taste of some specific teas. I'm thinking more of cooked puerh or roasted Oolongs. Best is to test with tea or water to find out.

So, here is how I would cure the pitcher:
- Rinse it with hot water,
- Use a melamine magic sponge and some water to clean the surface of the pitcher,
- Rinse it again with boiling water,
- Dry it under the sun for a day.

If the bad smell persists, then I'd alternate several hot and cold rinses. If the tea that comes out of this pitcher is still not better than from a glazed pitcher, then throw it away.


Veronique said...

hey stéphane,

I think the flowers you have are "casablanca lilies".

I love them too and their smell is definately quite pervasive. I also enjoy to watch them open one after another, lovely.

Anonymous said...

First of all, happy new year 2007, lots of love, happiness and peace, and of course great tea and tea ware!

I can almost smell the lilies from the picture!

About the Seattle reader's musty zhisha cha hai, I'd suggest to use it as a pot for water plants instead of tossing it in the garbage!
I once broke a lid of a teapot while dusting it and that's what I did with the "useless" teapot! It looks really nice!

Anonymous said...

If I am not mistaking, it looks like a Cha Hai made by Lu Yu or even Ten Ren if it's an early model. They are made of good quality Zisha. I wouldn't toss it no matter what.

This is what I did with my moldy pot. Brush the inside with a clean tooth brush under running hot water. Then boil in hot water for 5 min, I mean that by submerging the pot in hot/warm water and bring it to boil, dump the water, repeat 2 to 3 times or until water is clear, then boil again with tea, and let it soak for a day. This should get rid of any bad smell. You'll have a new seasoned pot again.

Anonymous said...

Une bonne et heureuse année 2007, Stéphane - et bonne continuation sur la voie du thé!

Pour ce qui concerne le pot de thé qui a pris de l´odeur, je ferais comme Imen a dit. On pourrait même faire bouillir le pot pendant plus longtemps. Il m´est arrivé un malheur pareil avec une théière - et après une heure dans de l´eau bouillante (dans la casserolle, sur le feu!), toute odeur avait disparu à jamais. Bonne chance pour ce petit pot!

Bien à toi, et bonne année à toutes et tous sur ce blog!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks to Stéphane and all of your comments. I think my pitcher is saved. I will get a glazed one anyway!