Ceramic is a material that is available in many varieties and rendered into unique implements used in the preparation of tea. Analogous to optical filters which modify the rendering desired by a photographer, ceramics can greatly affect the liquor. From warm and robust stoneware to immaculate and translucent porcelain, each form of ceramic material will have a different effect on the tea and the drinker.
Purion ceramics, created by Lin's Ceramics Studio, have a particularly tactile warmth. The regular and slightly rough sandy texture evokes the feel of granite. Unlike glass this material is not neutral, but more comparable to a Yixing teapot. For instance, leave boiling water in a Purion ceramic teapot for several minutes and the resulting water will generally have improved.
Denser water with more sediment (such as from the tap) seems much lighter, the heavy and harsh effects being largely dissipated. With softer water (such as a springwater with low mineral content) a moderated astringency and a lighter mineral texture is noticeable, bringing liveliness and character.
The effect of this type of ceramic will vary greatly depending on the tea infused. For example, with a wulong like Chi Ye with accents of toasted wood, fruit and honey, Purion ceramics accentuate the meatier flavors of roasting and wood, while modifying the texture with a light astringency. In comparison, a wulong with a rounder mouthfeel revealing strong notes of roasting such as Ali Shan 1999 (charcoal cooked), will soften and round out this, sometimes exuberant, tea when infused in Purion ceramic.
With its energising and mineralising effect this material can re-balance some more heady and robust teas including some very earthy and very dense Pu er. Conversely, with younger aged teas, lively and fresh, their woody, camphor and woodland notes , which are usually in the background will be noticeable particularly in the sheng Pu er Banzhang 2009 and Menghai 2004. This effect can be noticed on the majority of the more delicate and aromatic teas. The structure of these infusions is highlighted while their bouquets and volatile aspects are more in the background. For fans of bold and robust teas it is a great opportunity to rediscover, from another point of view, these more ethereal teas.
Purion ceramic is an addition to the "arsenal" of the informed taster seeking to expand the possibilities of ceramic materials, and for lovers of beautiful pottery of all kinds.
François Napoléon Mercier
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