Not much second thought is given to the chalice of choice when enjoying a royal cup of tea. The biggest reason being that, by and far, most are unaware of just how much influence the cup has on the flavor of tea. Yes. The organic elements congruent with the cycle of processing and enjoying tea reach even the quality of dirt used for teacups.
A Tokoname Kyusu Teapot. Renowned for its fast-drying, durable, nutrient-filled red clay, Tokoname pots are ideal for both potters and tea consumers.
Tokoname region in Japan has a global reputation for its long history in the pottery business and its famous clay which support the claims. Using special red clay from old rice fields, these classical kilns would work to produce an end product which actually influenced the drinker's tea. The high porosity and the low quality of magnesium, zinc, and copper produced a lessening effect of the tea's tannins. This enabled a larger surface area for more natural iron to get released into the tea, removing some bitterness and providing an overall smoother finish.
Today, many "redware" teapots obtain their color by artificially adding in iron oxide. The process is harmless and liquifies the clay to creates a similar effect to glazing. Even though the end color turns out a success, the covering causes a loss in porosity and disables the natural release of iron into the tea. Otherwise, a mixture of clays are used to acquire the desired maroon color but remain insufficient in nutrients and effect.
The next time you drink your favorite tea, use 2 or 3 different drinking materials and see if you can taste any difference in the tea. See how different cups can pair with different tea. What does the clay express to you? How does it communicate with the tea? Sip mindfully, and know that every step of the journey brings you somewhere new.