Click here to go to our new forums at http://tw.forumosa.com
If you are a Forumosan Regular, when you log in for the FIRST TIME, you must RESET your password by using the Password Recovery system.

Usernames on the new forums must not contain any SPACES and must end with LETTER or a NUMBER; if yours does, you will be prompted to change your Username
Contact us at admin(at)forumosa(dot)com or @forumosa on Twitter or on our Facebook Page if you have any questions or problems logging back in

Tea and Tea Culture in Taiwan

Moderator: hansioux

Teaware

Postby Doraemonster » 05 Dec 2013, 13:09

Recently I decided it's high time to get myself a teaware set. Before I always used a Piao-I teapot for brewing tea and, albeit practical, this approach lacks the charm of a full-fledged gongfu tea ceremony (工夫茶).

I wanted to get something locally-made. I know there is some manufacturing going on in Yingge, but the stuff sold on the "Old Street" there are generally mass-market imports from China: nothing wrong with that, but I was hoping for something from Taiwan and more personalized if within my budget. I was also hoping to buy directly from a manufacturer, not a reseller.

Not sure where to start looking, I began by going to the website of the government-run Ceramics Museum. Apparently they have some program to promote the local products and they even hand some awards to what they think best designs are. The website has a manufacturer contact for each recognized design, but (traditionally for Taiwanese websites) it's a nuisance to browse through. I ended up compiling the list of all addresses into a list I could take with me for a walk-around. Here it is below, categorized into "large" and "small" outfits, and then by location:

Teaware makers mentioned on the Yingge brand website

Note: Strictly speaking, this is about ceramics in general; some of them might not have teaware (although it's unlikely). The list might not be accurate, and I wouldn't know as I haven't visited most of these places in the end (see below for what I ended up with). Some of the small shops might not even have storefronts. Check with Google Street View perhaps or try to look them up on Facebook with their e-mail or phone number. Addresses in Chinese only to reduce clutter, but if you paste them into Google, it will transliterate them into pinyin. Also be aware that some of the large companies still seem to manufacture in China, but you can always ask.

Small shops (Sorted by location)

Code: Select all
## Address Name Phone E-mail

-- Walking Distance from Train Station --
01 新北市鶯歌區文化路159號 新北市東鶯社區發展協會 02-26701107 j26701107@yahoo.com.tw
02 新北市鶯歌區文化路206號 衣谷陶燒 02-26789167 artcavin@hotmail.com
03 新北市鶯歌區文化路253號 寶象陶瓷藝術坊 02-26220970
04 新北市鶯歌區文化路256巷7號 葉敏祥 祥億陶瓷社 02-26797430 hsianeco@yahoo.com.tw
05 新北市鶯歌區文化路324巷8弄3衕4之6號 陶采文藝工作室 0931-072946
06 新北市鶯歌區文化路351號 六籽窯 02-26780480 twmiaofang@gmail.com
07 新北市鶯歌區文化路407號之1 夏天工作室 02-26702569 yun100460@yahoo.com.tw
08 新北市鶯歌區中正二路41號 新國藝陶坊 02-26793549
09 新北市鶯歌區尖山埔路15號 風清藝術創意工坊 02-26788155 junton15@yahoo.com.tw
10 新北市鶯歌區尖山路168巷20號 自在陶房 02-86775311 sysmouse@ms7.hinet.net
11 新北市鶯歌區尖山路174巷35弄20衖5號 家傳陶藝 02-86773402 gn00324359@yahoo.com.tw
12 新北市鶯歌區尖山路174巷35弄31號 禎美藝術陶瓷工作室 02-86775102 bian96@msn.com
13 新北市鶯歌區育英街65-1號 嘉峰陶瓷藝術 02-26705972 may954255@kimo.com
14 新北市鶯歌區育賢街23號 良宏窯業廠 02-26796097 do912505272@yahoo.com.tw
15 新北市鶯歌區中正一路379號 傑作陶藝 02-26796166 excera.hsu@msa.hinet.net

-- Farther from Train Station --
16 新北市鶯歌區三鶯路15號3樓 02-26710259 lee.tjt@msa.hinet.net
17 新北市鶯歌區中正三路156巷45號 筌發企業有限公司 02-26787388 mono5888@yahoo.com.tw
18 新北市鶯歌區中正三路194巷42號 金昌陶瓷 02-26797879 kyo452001@hotmail.com

-- Not in Yingge --
19 新北市三峽區民族街78巷12號4樓 連生陶作 02-26722330 endlessceramics@gmail.com
20 新北市樹林區柑園街二段386巷3號 兩文陶藝工作室 02-26808066 pot.wang@msa.hinet.net
21 桃園市慈文路358號 乾唐軒美術工藝 03-3559201 cts358cts@yahoo.com.tw

Larger companies (Sorted from most to least interesting in my subjective view)

22 陶作坊 Lin's Ceramics Good quality, somewhat limited design, some items expensive.
23 醇品雅集 Chun Ping Interesting design but only one shop and by appointment, probably expensive.
24 台灣宜龍 Eilong A lot of choice, not expensive, but does not seem like very good quality.
25 新太源 Shin Tay Yuan Not expensive, mass-market.
For reference, the other three I did not find interesting after a casual skim through their websites: 26 乾唐軒, 27 安達窯, 28 吉洲窯.

The museum shop

The Ceramics Museum has a shop that stocks a selection of the local products. This might be a good place to look around, particularly if you're short on time. The choice is much more than what you can see on their website.
Address: 新北市鶯歌區文化路200號 #200 Wenhua Rd, Xinbei-Yingge

What I ended up with

Porcelain teaware

I decided to order most of the teaware from the first shop I walked into at the beginning of my trip (#01 on my list, as it is directly adjacent to the train station) as I happened to really like their floral-motif design. Thus, I didn't really have the chance to put the list I prepared above into much use. This is actually a family company run by the mother, Guan Yuegui (官月桂) and her son, Zeng Xiangxuan (曾祥軒), and the stuff I bought is glossy porcelain (瓷) hand-painted by her. There are some designs readily available for purchase, but the stuff I got was made-to-order, which took about two weeks to complete. For a set of a pitcher (茶海), three drinking cups (品茗杯) and three matching scenting cups (聞香杯) I paid in the range of 1,500 TWD, which I consider a very reasonable price.

Clay teapot

For the teapot (茶壺), I looked at another designer who works with woodfire (柴燒). Unlike the traditional porcelain or clay, the design is rough, somewhat minimalistic. I liked his products, but being in the range of 8,000-9,000 TWD for just the teapot, his prices were far higher than what I was willing to spend (he is not on the list above, but I can share his contact details if anyone is interested -- definitely worth considering, if you're on a different budget). By the way, my impression is that woodfire seems to be "fashionable" now, and anything made of it generally carries a higher price tag than similar products made of either porcelain or clay -- not sure if this is warranted by manufacturing costs, maybe someone can shed some light on this.

Eventually, I ended getting a red-clay teapot at the museum shop. This is actually a design by Wang Liangwen (王兩文), who has 30+ years of experience with ceramics and mostly teaches others now -- you can see him making the teapot in a YouTube video (#20 on the list, but don't go there -- no shop at that address). The teapot I bought is called a "water-balancing" one (水平~), which means if you immerse it in water it should float on the surface. The price was 2,200 TWD and it came as a set with two ugly (in my opinion) teacups, that look more like egg cups. Some other, non-floating but still locally-made teapots were available for 1,200 TWD. With a higher budget you can perhaps go for a hand-made teapot (the one I got is molded).

Accessories

Finally, for the accessories (mostly the bamboo/wooden stuff) I went for Lin's Ceramics (#22), as their tea tray (茶盤, 茶池) prices seem reasonable at 900 TWD or 1,400 TWD for the two most-common sizes (actually, I still feel this mass-made product should be way cheaper, but the competition prices these trays even higher at 2,000-3,000 TWD). Some other stuff such as teacup saucers (茶托) I got from another shop called Shing Hua that generally sells tea, as their price was 3×100 TWD vs 3×200 TWD for Lin's and they are conveniently located next to it in the Yongkang St area (MRT Dongmen). Seems the price spreads on these accessories can be huge and, to the extent that I know of, not really warranted by any actual differences in quality.

Wow, this came out much longer than I expected. Not really sure this is the best place to put it, mods please feel free to move it (of course). Hopefully the above ruminations will be useful to someone in the future.

:bow:
User avatar
Doraemonster
High School Triad Member (gāozhōng liúmáng)
High School Triad Member (gāozhōng liúmáng)
 
Posts: 549
Joined: 07 Jul 2008, 00:08
Location: Taibeishilisongshangaojigongnong Vocational High School



Re: Tea and Tea Culture in Taiwan

Postby Elegua » 05 Dec 2013, 15:32

I've bought tea from this guy for a number of years. Typically he'll have one or two teas a year that will pick up an award. If you need nice packaging for gifts, he has that, and if you need roughly packaged he has that too.

http://www.chatei.com.tw/newscon-59.html
Pleasant it is, when over a great sea the winds trouble the waters, to gaze from shore upon another's great tribulation

"Lord, we ain't what we oughta be. We ain't what we want to be. We ain't what we gonna be. But, thank God, we ain't what we was."
User avatar
Elegua
Retired President (tuì xiū de zǒng tǒng)
Retired President (tuì xiū de zǒng tǒng)
 
Posts: 5631
Joined: 25 Jun 2004, 12:51
Location: The Country that dare not speak it's name



Re: Teaware

Postby Tiger Mountaineer » 05 Dec 2013, 21:19

Very thorough and helpful post Doraemonster... a couple comments

Doraemonster wrote:For the teapot (茶壺), I looked at another designer who works with woodfire (柴燒). Unlike the traditional porcelain or clay, the design is rough, somewhat minimalistic. I liked his products, but being in the range of 8,000-9,000 TWD for just the teapot, his prices were far higher than what I was willing to spend ... By the way, my impression is that woodfire seems to be "fashionable" now, and anything made of it generally carries a higher price tag than similar products made of either porcelain or clay -- not sure if this is warranted by manufacturing costs, maybe someone can shed some light on this.


Wood-fired work is a bit of a fad recently but the extra cost is justified by the difficulty of the firing method.... higher cost of fuel, amount of time spent firing (4-5 days 24hr/day), high failure rate, need to situate kiln in remote area, etc.

Doraemonster wrote: The teapot I bought is called a "water-balancing" one (水平~), which means if you immerse it in water it should float on the surface. The price was 2,200 TWD and it came as a set with two ugly (in my opinion) teacups, that look more like egg cups.


Shui ping (水平) actually refers to the fact that when you fill the teapot to the rim, the water should be level at the spout too, and the handle should not protrude above the lip of the teapot body, so when you flip it over it will rest level on a flat surface. See here:

Image

And general comments about buying teapots in Yingge... signed/stamped, handmade (thrown and shaped) teapots by individual studio artisans start at about $4-5000 for gas/electric fired work. Anything else is almost certainly from a mold or produced in a factory. If they say it's by a master for that price, it's likely produced in a factory with the master's endorsement. For reference, an individual teapot by a well-known maker would start at $12k and up. That is not to say there is not very attractive factory-produced work that functions just as well.
User avatar
Tiger Mountaineer
Chair-throwing Legislator (rēng yǐzi de lìfǎ wěiyuán)
Chair-throwing Legislator (rēng yǐzi de lìfǎ wěiyuán)
 
Posts: 356
Joined: 28 Feb 2012, 15:03
Location: Taipei



Re: Tea and Tea Culture in Taiwan

Postby headhonchoII » 05 Dec 2013, 21:51

Taiwan ceramic ware is certainly not cheap, and it's often imported from China anyway.

There are a few wood fired kilns operating around Miaoli which can be pretty cool to visit (they even have classes in some of them). One of the premier names at the back of Sanyi produced this awesome 'metal effect' ceramic due to the oil from the wood (it looks just like an metal teapot but it's actually clay with a metal glaze sheen), it all sells for top dollar now to the Chinese.

I have some interest in ceramics but I do find the industry a bit lacking in creativity here and over proud of their stuff compared to China. Chinese stuff is not necessarily inferior, no surprise since they pretty much invented the industry!

As for the bamboo teatray, don't underestimate the craft and effort that goes into it, while you might say they are mass manufactured it's not so simple to craft bamboo. You must select the right type of bamboo at the right season, it needs to be cut into strips, then it needs to straightened and carbonised and glued together. They also look fantastic. 900 NTD is a reasonable price and as you mentioned some go for far more.


Some people love the whole 'tea culture' but I think it also holds some people back from getting into tea.
Claim to fame: smoothly cruising towards no.11 no.10 on all time greatest poster list.
headhonchoII
Maitreya Buddha (Mílèfó)
 
Posts: 14698
Joined: 26 Aug 2002, 10:40
Location: Taipei



FRIENDLY REMINDER
   Please remember that Forumosa is not responsible for the content that appears on the other side of links that Forumosans post on our forums. As a discussion website, we encourage open and frank debate. We have learned that the most effective way to address questionable claims or accusations on Forumosa is by engaging in a sincere and constructive conversation. To make this website work, we must all feel safe in expressing our opinions, this also means backing up any claims with hard facts, including links to other websites.
   Please also remember that one should not believe everything one reads on the Internet, particularly from websites whose content cannot be easily verified or substantiated. Use your common sense and do not hesitate to ask for proof.
Previous




Return to Culture & History



Who is online

Forumosans browsing this forum: No Forumosans and 0 guests