Friday, December 12, 2008

broken pieces of stoves

What a sight! Boxes of broken pieces of my latest shipment of Chao Zhou stoves.
I am going to find a way to patch them to a point where it's functional, cosmetic is not part of my concern at this point. Does any one know how to repair terra cotta? Glue might not be an option, since glue may not endure the heat from burning charcoal. Any type of clay or concrete? I was told raw egg white might work. Sweet rice (sticky rice) has long been used in building as a form of ancient concrete adhering bricks together. Some of the structure are still standing after over 800 years in parts of China. Perhaps I'll try mixing cooked sweet rice with raw egg white, blend them into a paste to glue the pieces together.

A cracked stove with a broken leg, middle portion is also loose although functional. It does not wabble even 80% of one leg is chipped off. I am very much disappointed after I clean it out.

Although this stove is standing and functional, expansion and contraction from heating then cooling off will eventually break it apart. I placed 2 wires around the top and bottom to secure it from falling apart in case the cracks got worse.
It's heart breaking to wait many many days, weeks and months, everything shattered as they arrive. I am determent to put them back on their feet again.

Terra Cotta is made of soft clay fired at low temperature. Life expectancy of such clay ware is temporally. They are extremely easy to break. What contributed to this disastrous shipment is mainly poor wrapping, long period of sailing is also a culprit, boxing everything into one heavy load spells trouble. One would drop a heavy package fast and hard, right?! Aish, Oy, Aiya!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Cute Pot - 70's by Lao An Shun

Hand thrown Chao Zhou pot from the 70's, made of local Zhu Ni (not Yixing Zhu Ni) with Fen Cai decor. The dark purple color comes from high fire. It's very heavy with thick wall, unlike the usual light weight thin walled red color Chao Zhou pots. It's made by Lao An Shun, one of the 2 most famous hand thrown Chao Zhou pot makers. This style of tea pot is made similar to Yixing pots for export purpose. Exterior is glazed with finely ground Zhu Ni to give a smoother and darker color to look even more like an Yixing pot. Single hole spout, no visible flaws or damage.

Fen Cai(Soft Color or Pastel Color) was transcended from the Chinese 5 color Ying Cai (Hard color) with influence of French Enamel. Ying Cai was the main coloring agent for pottery painting in Ming dynasty originating from Song and Yuan dynasties, mainly done under glaze. French Enamel was introduced to China in early Ching during Kang Xi years. Fen Cai began in Yong Zheng (son of Kang Xi) years. Adding a white glass glaze mixture to Ying Cai gives a softer look and it's applied on top of glazed potteries. The colors are more vivid, brush strokes are cleaner as a result. The finished art work also appears 3 dimensional.

This pot brews VERY good pu-erh (green or cooked) and anything old (Dan Cong/Liu Bao). However less good for young Dan Cong because the thickness of wall conceal too much heat for too long. Probably not good idea to brew the greener/lighter types of oolong such as High Mountain or TGY. I should try a heavy fired Yan Cha with it. $360, free shipping and insurance in 48 states. tea at teahabitat dot com

HOT Pot - 70's Chao Zhou Pot

Currently, I'm obsessed with this style of tea pot! The flatter the shape the better I like it. I didn't like decorated pots since I started drinking tea seriously. Hua Huo - decorated vs . Guang Huo - plain, my preference is still Guang Huo. However this pot makes my other similar shaped Chao Zhou pot look kinda "bare", less "sparkling" in terms of "royalness", not in terms of physical shininess. I have grown to love its attractiveness more day by day, even though it has a couple of flaws. Hand thrown Chao Zhou pot made with local Zhu Ni, dark color is the result of high temperature fire. Looks like an Yixing pot, doesn't it? I feel like a teenage girl when I look at this pot, it makes me gitty! :P I am keeping this pot! :D

Same color inside and out.
A crack at the bottom of the handle, result of shrinkage from firing.
Crack lines on sides of the spout, visible on one side, a tiny line on the other side, also results of shrinkage from firing. Does not leak.

Clay stove set

I am dumbfounded! The shipment came in today, I was excited with reservation for a while until I opened the big box. Then I saw a LOT of dust everywhere out side of the small boxes, my heart sank a little more each time I pick up a box and hear noises of broken pieces. Out of 6 sets, only TWO, only TWO survived! Aaaaaaaaaah! This is absurd!

The shipment of Stove sets are still not here, I am getting frustrated at the uncertainty of its arrival. Few tea heads made reservations and I can't promise them the stock. It's not very good business practice. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Out of the 6 sets coming to the US, 5 are being reserved, and there might be breakage. Base on first come first serve, I will take one more reservation. Crossing my fingers, they will arrive well without breakage, then everyone's happy including myself. If not, we will have to start the waiting game again. :(

30+ years old hay

This is a gift from my tea master, a basket of 70's Liu Bao. I asked for a small sample and he gave me a generous basket in whole. He's the best!

It's been a while since I lost a memory chip of my camera. On top of that, my card reader was missing. It's nice to be able to take pictures at will again. :D

Cups from Guang Xu era, 1800's

Along with teas came over a week ago, there are a few surprises in the box. 4 Ching Guang Xu year cups. It's brown glazed outside, blue hand paintings inside. Yes, it does make tea taste better, smoother and sweeter. Not sure why, thought some say the initial firing (Huo Qi) is cured after such long period of time, thus capable of rounding off the edge of tea.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Hello all,

Hope every one had a nice and warm Thanks Giving weekend! It's busy time of the year for everyone. Well, tea can help us all in times of stress. :)

I have not been able to keep up with the blog lately since 24 hours a day is simply not enough for modern day working people, maybe just for a tea shop owner. :P

Things I have done in the past month:

1) Designed new packages, meeting with manufacturers for production issues. Sample box arrived today and looking good. Also designed a bunch of fliers, post cards and business related documents.

2) YWCA Boutique sale for charity fund raising.

3) Of course Thanks Giving dinner with family.

4) Preparing holiday sales with gift packaging.

5) New teas arrived last week, a 13 teas tasting over the weekend was a nice break from work while at work. Still waiting for my stove sets after 2 months.

I am extremely delighted that a professor from my University came across the country to join the tea tasting with his family while visiting local family. I am very proud and touched, it reminded me of my college years and I felt the reconnection of youth and worry free life after years of
hussle and bussel in LA.

6) Supposed to work on translating the Book of Phoenix Dan Cong, so far I only finished the introduction. Not very productive on this matter.

7) Spent a night on a PhotoShop Book, then ended up spending MANY nights on playing with PhotoShop. This software intimidated me 3 years, and I finally can say it's ALMOST like Excel (in terms of comfort level, not skill level). :P


8) My next big task is to conquer E-commerce web design!!! While waiting for 12,000 boxes to arrive. I'll be buried again once they arrive.

9) Added a new line of product to the store "Bee's Family" Honey, Raw unprocessed honey from Hong Kong, including some of the unusual flavors: Lichi(lychee) flower honey, Longan(Long Yan) flower honey<--- my favorite, Winter honey - multiple wild flowers.

Well, that's enough to keep my head spinning even when I sleep.