Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Precious

Back in 2002 my wife gave me a wonderful Christmas present. It was my very first tea tray for serving gongfu style tea. The tray is a very high quality bamboo piece made by Bamboola - 大禾竹藝工坊 in Taiwan.

Isn't she lovely?

My wife purchased the tray and matching tea tools from the sadly-long-gone Blue Willow Tea House on Capitol Hill. The owner, Frank Miller, even included an ounce of his finest Lishan High Mountain oolong tea as a thank you gift for purchasing this treasure.

The tray came with a certificate of authenticity.

Pictured here:

My local tea friend Dr. L. Chang recently helped me to translate this certificate and I learned the following about my tray:

It won the Taiwan Handicraft Institute top award in a Taiwan daily appliance exhibition in the year 85 (i.e. 1996).

The tray's official product name is Big Wood Medium Tea Tray (大木中茶池) and it's made of meng zong zhu (孟宗竹) (a specific type of bamboo).

The certificate goes on to say: Bamboo is a material full of eastern color. Simple design and delicate craftsmanship, bringing out in full view the texture and simplicity of bamboo material. Not only is it tasteful, distinguishing itself from those made by clay, wood, or stone, it displays the modern example of Taiwan's handicraft. Although the product is expertly produced, we hope the user will perform maintenance regularly. Do not expose to sun. The surface underwent anti-bacterial treatment. Please do not use any type of solvent to wipe the surface which will cause damage to the treatment.

Over the last nine years this tea tray has been a supporting character in hundreds of my tea classes, tastings and events. Chances are if you've ever had tea with me you've seen this tray. It is my most beloved piece of teaware.

Pouring green tea at Phoenix Tea Shop.

(photo by Jon G.)

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