Christmas in February – Yixing teapots

1980's Yixing Shui Ping Fang Yuan Pai

One of the teapots we get asked most for is the shui ping shape from Yixing Factory 1. It’s really a classic – simple shape, good clay and very functional.

Last weekend I visited a collector who’s been collecting Yixing pots since the 80’s. Over the years I’ve met some people with a lot of teapots… thousands and thousands, but this man puts all their collections to shame. He literally has many thousands. They’re stacked in crates, stuffed in cupboards, littering the floor, everywhere you look there’s teapots. It think it would be fair to politely say that perhaps it’s a bit of an obsession!

I mentioned to him that I was looking for shui ping pots from the 80’s. After hunting around and finding a few here and a few there in different cupboards, he pulled out a cardboard box, filled with rolls of yellowed newspaper. The rolls were still sealed with their old, crumbling sellotape. Upon unwrapping a few, it became clear that we’d struck gold. They were filled with well made, late 80’s shui pings.

He said bought these in the late 80’s. They were cheap then! Indeed the newspaper is dated from 1993. Chances like this don’t come too often, so I quickly said I’d take them all.

Back at home, opening up the rolls, it was an interesting experience. These pots hadn’t even seen daylight for over 20 years! They were all in perfect condition, the clay has a lovely even sheen and the craftsmanship very good.

Yixing teapot news

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Over the past 6 months or so, we’ve been looking around in Malaysia and testing the clays of some different older teapots. Although we’ve been generally happy with the pots we’ve received from Chen Ju Fang and her apprentices, we began to realise more and more that pots made in the 80’s and 90’s could often match or produce better results than many of the pots coming from her studio – and often at a cheaper price too!

From the point of view of running a business, it might not be the best move – it’s very easy just to order batches of contemporary pots and have a stable line of products. Finding older pots takes much more work and they’re often only available in small batches or individually, but since our main aim is to find and sell good tea it’s nice to be able to offer the best teaware we can find to brew it in, even if that means a bit more work!

Over the coming few days, weeks and months we’ll be posting a range of pots. We’ll offer some less expensive pots that Yixing factory 5 produced in the 90’s, some 80’s and earlier pots from Yixing factory 1, some antique pots and kettles. Hopefully there should be something nice for every budget and people at every stage in their tea journey.

Yixing Teapot

January Sale 20%

January Sale

This January, we thought we’d offer something special. For the first time, we’ve decided to include Mr. Feng’s cakes in the sale. He hasn’t increased the price of these teas for us in the past 3 years, making them a very reasonable price for tea of this age and quality. For the month of January, we’re offering a 20% discount on a selection of his cakes and some of our own pressings.

The selection of teas on sale are listed here

Due to popular demand, we’ve also added an EMS shipping option for those who’d like their tea a little more quickly.

Orders over £100 will receive a £12 discount off the shipping total, making standard shipping free and subsidising the EMS option.

Silver linings & Peacock brand Puerh teas

Peacock Brand Puerh Tea

The economy in Malaysia is terrible. Earlier in the year they brought in a 6% sales tax, which left restaurant owners, cabbies and other small business owners complaining about a fall off in trade. The Malaysian ringgit continued its slow and steady decline in value against the dollar, renminbi and pound sterling, making imports more expensive. Then the Chinese stock market and economy began to look increasingly shaky and the ringgit dropped sharply.

This is terrible news for Malaysian business owners. Times are getting more and more difficult for them.

In China, the puerh tea market has also taken a bit of a nosedive. Those speculating in big factory teas have watched the value of their investments plummet.

All this has put some pressure on the tea market, but also created some interesting opportunities for tea lovers.

We’ve spent the past couple of months hunting around in Malaysia and Fangcun tea market in Guangzhou. We had a clear goal in mind – to find tea that was unrecognised, underpriced and of exceptional quality. We tasted many teas, went down some fruitless paths, bargained hard and in the end, we’ve managed to secure stock of 3 aged puerh teas which we feel epitomise our goals.

Since the wrapper, provenance or story weren’t our goals with these teas, we’ve wrapped them with a simple plain wrapper, stamped with a Peacock. These are teas for tea lovers at a price that’s difficult to find in the market. Each one has its own charms and I can highly recommend them all.

Check them out, on our puerh tea page.