Puzzled wannabe Yixing buyer

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Youzi
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:15 pm

faj wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:54 pm
Youzi wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:43 pm
I think it's enough to try it with the kinds of tea you drink, no need to try it with teas you won't drink. 😁
After 3-5 different teas you can get a really good idea about the pot.
You are right. Still, buying every pot is a tall and expensive order... So you need to narrow down the list of what to buy... Or increase your cupboard space and earning power! :D

For a beginner, it is difficult to know what to start with. As some contributors have mentioned, experimenting with water and getting new/better teas might very well be a quicker path to a better overall experience. It is difficult to figure out if you should actually purchase any pot at all to start with. So many variables, so little time (and money)...
I didn't meant to buy lots of pots. Just buy a good one and find a tea it likes. I still think a good zini could be quite versatile. Or just a Zhuni, which is basically thick porcelain.

If your goal is to drink better tea, then I don't recommend buying a teapot.

You'd get much better tea, if you'd buy better tea, the difference is much more sognicifcant. But fix your water first, before buying expensive tea, especially if the water is hard.
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steanze
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:45 pm

Youzi wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:44 am
faj wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:34 pm
I noticed MudandLeaves posted about a very small batch of clay they just processed. Link below.

https://www.mudandleaves.com/teatime-bl ... -skin-clay

Their claim is this is Lipini, a type of lüni which is found in small amounts in Tian Qing Ni clay deposits. In my very limited readings, I have found no claims that Tian Qing Ni was still being mined, or that there was an even more elusive clay being mined with it. I would be curious to know what more knowledgeable and experienced people make of this claim.

Aside from how little of this clay they have extracted from the several hundreds of kg of Tian Qing Ni they have on hand (in itself quite a claim to me it seems), they do not seem to be making any claim on its effect on tea, or even recommended tea pairings for that matter.

Youzi, in your blog, you had information about Tian Qing Ni. Maybe you could comment on this?
Insted of gut feelings and opinions, I'd prefer to share the facts I know about Li Pi Ni instead.

There are two things refferred to as Li Pi Ni:

I. The actual raw ore
- Li Pi Ni (梨皮泥) is a sub-type of Lüni.
- Lüni is an ore mainly found in the Huang Long Shan mining area. That ore is also referred to as "Benshan Lüni".
- Li Pi Ni is Lüni from Da Shui Tan (大水潭) the ancient mine used during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It mainly produced Zini (zini, Qinghuini, Tianqingni) Lüni(In this case Li Pi Ni) and Tuanni. Currently it is a small pond, because a 100+ years ago it got flooded with ground water.
- Tian Qing Ni and Li Pi Ni is always fused together.
- Da Shui Tan is at the south east side of Huang Long Shan, on the other side of the road. (You can see it on the map in my article). Because DST is a lake and it has buildings around it except for the side where HLS is, so Mining is "not possible".
- However there are two ways to access DST material nowdays:
1. Because nature isn't defined by Human structures probably there is DST material on the HLS side, which is shown in Zhu Zewei's book. Also, because HLS resumed mining since 2010 there are official ways to aquire HLS material from the Goverment owned Mining company, who has a monopoly over the mine.
2. The houses around DST. There were news of buildings collapsing because Illegal mining activity at the houses near DST (people dug out the foundation). So the clay obtained this way are sold in personal circles.


II. a kind of texture and look on the teapot, when it is finished
- basically a teapot with a coarse surface can be called Li Pi (Zini, Zhuni, Hongni, Tuanni etc.)
- which can be obtained easily by making the ore dust 30-50 Mu (目) or adding larger chunks of Nenni/Duanni

steanze
OCTO
Image
Image
Image
Thanks for the interesting information Youzi! I still don't know whether I've seen Li Pi Ni teapots, because I wouldn't know how to recognize if a grainy duanni pot is Li Pi Ni or something else.

Personally, I am already happy to find good quality Ben Shan Lv Ni. I have seen many modern pots supposedly made of be Ben Shan Lv Ni, but I have encountered very few if any that are truly worthy of the name. I don't mean to say that the vendors are lying about where the clay is from. Maybe the clay of the modern "BenShanLv Ni" pots I have seen really is from huanglongshan. However, those pots lack what made Ben Shan Lv ni so sought after, the delicate jade-like transparency and smoothness. It is hard to capture in pictures, but here is an attempt:
clay.JPG
clay.JPG (425.69 KiB) Viewed 1378 times
So when someone claims that a certain clay is "Ben Shan Lv Ni", or "Zhaozhuang Zhuni", or other famous clays, the question I ask is: does this clay show the properties that made it famous? There is the same type of risk that one encounters when buying "Bing Dao" or "Lao Banzhang". One could find poorly processed taidi that really comes from Banzhang, but does not show the properties of the region. If one wants a tea that really shows why those regions became famous, it is impossible to find it for a cheap price unless you have very good personal connections.
swordofmytriumph
Posts: 399
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:44 am

Youzi wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:05 pm
The smooth part is the "surface" the rough part is "under the surface". All pots with a good fit are like that.

This is how they do it:
https://youtu.be/GKrOZccp6mY
This is so cool. watching it spin is mesmerizing.
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Youzi
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:48 am

steanze wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:45 pm
Youzi wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:44 am
faj wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:34 pm
I noticed MudandLeaves posted about a very small batch of clay they just processed. Link below.

https://www.mudandleaves.com/teatime-bl ... -skin-clay

Their claim is this is Lipini, a type of lüni which is found in small amounts in Tian Qing Ni clay deposits. In my very limited readings, I have found no claims that Tian Qing Ni was still being mined, or that there was an even more elusive clay being mined with it. I would be curious to know what more knowledgeable and experienced people make of this claim.

Aside from how little of this clay they have extracted from the several hundreds of kg of Tian Qing Ni they have on hand (in itself quite a claim to me it seems), they do not seem to be making any claim on its effect on tea, or even recommended tea pairings for that matter.

Youzi, in your blog, you had information about Tian Qing Ni. Maybe you could comment on this?
Insted of gut feelings and opinions, I'd prefer to share the facts I know about Li Pi Ni instead.

There are two things refferred to as Li Pi Ni:

I. The actual raw ore
- Li Pi Ni (梨皮泥) is a sub-type of Lüni.
- Lüni is an ore mainly found in the Huang Long Shan mining area. That ore is also referred to as "Benshan Lüni".
- Li Pi Ni is Lüni from Da Shui Tan (大水潭) the ancient mine used during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It mainly produced Zini (zini, Qinghuini, Tianqingni) Lüni(In this case Li Pi Ni) and Tuanni. Currently it is a small pond, because a 100+ years ago it got flooded with ground water.
- Tian Qing Ni and Li Pi Ni is always fused together.
- Da Shui Tan is at the south east side of Huang Long Shan, on the other side of the road. (You can see it on the map in my article). Because DST is a lake and it has buildings around it except for the side where HLS is, so Mining is "not possible".
- However there are two ways to access DST material nowdays:
1. Because nature isn't defined by Human structures probably there is DST material on the HLS side, which is shown in Zhu Zewei's book. Also, because HLS resumed mining since 2010 there are official ways to aquire HLS material from the Goverment owned Mining company, who has a monopoly over the mine.
2. The houses around DST. There were news of buildings collapsing because Illegal mining activity at the houses near DST (people dug out the foundation). So the clay obtained this way are sold in personal circles.


II. a kind of texture and look on the teapot, when it is finished
- basically a teapot with a coarse surface can be called Li Pi (Zini, Zhuni, Hongni, Tuanni etc.)
- which can be obtained easily by making the ore dust 30-50 Mu (目) or adding larger chunks of Nenni/Duanni

steanze
OCTO
Image
Image
Image
Thanks for the interesting information Youzi! I still don't know whether I've seen Li Pi Ni teapots, because I wouldn't know how to recognize if a grainy duanni pot is Li Pi Ni or something else.

Personally, I am already happy to find good quality Ben Shan Lv Ni. I have seen many modern pots supposedly made of be Ben Shan Lv Ni, but I have encountered very few if any that are truly worthy of the name. I don't mean to say that the vendors are lying about where the clay is from. Maybe the clay of the modern "BenShanLv Ni" pots I have seen really is from huanglongshan. However, those pots lack what made Ben Shan Lv ni so sought after, the delicate jade-like transparency and smoothness. It is hard to capture in pictures, but here is an attempt:

Image

So when someone claims that a certain clay is "Ben Shan Lv Ni", or "Zhaozhuang Zhuni", or other famous clays, the question I ask is: does this clay show the properties that made it famous? There is the same type of risk that one encounters when buying "Bing Dao" or "Lao Banzhang". One could find poorly processed taidi that really comes from Banzhang, but does not show the properties of the region. If one wants a tea that really shows why those regions became famous, it is impossible to find it for a cheap price unless you have very good personal connections.
The only way to know if a pot is made of a specific sub clay type is to see the raw ore of which it was processed, know the mesh size, know how it was processed, know the exact firing temperature, and know that no reduction firing was going on.

So basically track down the rock, and make a private order from a Potter to process that ore for you and make a teapot out of it, based on your specification. Then you'd have a benchmark to compare to.

What I think would be tremendously helpful is to be able to buy firing discs.

Commenting on the picture, are you sure it is pure Benshan Lüni? Maybe it's the lighting, or it was partly reduction fired, but 90% of Benshan Lüni has a shade of Beige, light yellowish, or whiteish color. Then some more rare kinds, especially from Baoshan, can have more black spots and and be orangeish, reddish color.

Is that pot low or high fired? Seems more similar to Qing Duan Ni (青段泥) with good patina? Or could also be a Lüni mixed with other clays, since Lüni is notoriously difficult to fire properly.

Could you share more pictures of the inside and outside? Maybe the lid, as I guess it is less stained?
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OCTO
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:08 am

Youzi wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:13 am
Bok wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:51 am
Youzi yes I misunderstood! Sorry about that. Agreed about the Zini-family :)

There are still minute differences but it’s hard to tell if it’s due to the clay or the other factors that you mentioned. I found that individual pots, rather than clays have a certain profile and teas that match it, often defying the commonly agreed characteristics.
Of course, actually what matters is the finished product, the pot it self. That's what will define what kind of the it'll make.

There's a saying, which I say too many times, that I'm not sure anymore If I made it up or read it somewhere, but it goes like this:

"The Teapot chooses the Tea"

So you can have guesses based on certain attributes, but at the end of the day what'll decide if a tea is good with a teapot is when you try it out yourself for said pot.
+100!!
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OCTO
Posts: 544
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Location: Penang, Malaysia

Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:10 am

Youzi wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:44 am
faj wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:34 pm
I noticed MudandLeaves posted about a very small batch of clay they just processed. Link below.

https://www.mudandleaves.com/teatime-bl ... -skin-clay

Their claim is this is Lipini, a type of lüni which is found in small amounts in Tian Qing Ni clay deposits. In my very limited readings, I have found no claims that Tian Qing Ni was still being mined, or that there was an even more elusive clay being mined with it. I would be curious to know what more knowledgeable and experienced people make of this claim.

Aside from how little of this clay they have extracted from the several hundreds of kg of Tian Qing Ni they have on hand (in itself quite a claim to me it seems), they do not seem to be making any claim on its effect on tea, or even recommended tea pairings for that matter.

Youzi, in your blog, you had information about Tian Qing Ni. Maybe you could comment on this?
Insted of gut feelings and opinions, I'd prefer to share the facts I know about Li Pi Ni instead.

There are two things refferred to as Li Pi Ni:

I. The actual raw ore
- Li Pi Ni (梨皮泥) is a sub-type of Lüni.
- Lüni is an ore mainly found in the Huang Long Shan mining area. That ore is also referred to as "Benshan Lüni".
- Li Pi Ni is Lüni from Da Shui Tan (大水潭) the ancient mine used during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It mainly produced Zini (zini, Qinghuini, Tianqingni) Lüni(In this case Li Pi Ni) and Tuanni. Currently it is a small pond, because a 100+ years ago it got flooded with ground water.
- Tian Qing Ni and Li Pi Ni is always fused together.
- Da Shui Tan is at the south east side of Huang Long Shan, on the other side of the road. (You can see it on the map in my article). Because DST is a lake and it has buildings around it except for the side where HLS is, so Mining is "not possible".
- However there are two ways to access DST material nowdays:
1. Because nature isn't defined by Human structures probably there is DST material on the HLS side, which is shown in Zhu Zewei's book. Also, because HLS resumed mining since 2010 there are official ways to aquire HLS material from the Goverment owned Mining company, who has a monopoly over the mine.
2. The houses around DST. There were news of buildings collapsing because Illegal mining activity at the houses near DST (people dug out the foundation). So the clay obtained this way are sold in personal circles.


II. a kind of texture and look on the teapot, when it is finished
- basically a teapot with a coarse surface can be called Li Pi (Zini, Zhuni, Hongni, Tuanni etc.)
- which can be obtained easily by making the ore dust 30-50 Mu (目) or adding larger chunks of Nenni/Duanni

steanze
OCTO
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Image
Great info here... thanks for sharing...
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Tor
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:22 am

Youzi wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:48 am

...and know that no reduction firing was going on...
I’ve been wondering why Yixing potters never fire their teapots with oxygen reduced. Japanese Tokoname potters seem to even prefer the black reduction fired teapots to the red oxidation fired ones.

I heard that some Yixing potters have done it. I think they even have a name for it, which I don’t remember. Is there any undesirable effect with reduction fired Yixing clay?
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Bok
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:31 am

@Tor they did in the past. It’s called Wuhui. Antiques are frequently done that way. A lot of what looks like Heini is actually reduction fired.
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Youzi
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:35 am

Tor wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:22 am
Youzi wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:48 am

...and know that no reduction firing was going on...
I’ve been wondering why Yixing potters never fire their teapots with oxygen reduced. Japanese Tokoname potters seem to even prefer the black reduction fired teapots to the red oxidation fired ones.

I heard that some Yixing potters have done it. I think they even have a name for it, which I don’t remember. Is there any undesirable effect with reduction fired Yixing clay?
All black teapots are reduction fired (the old ones) or manganese oxide doped.

There's is no "Heini", meaning naturally dark black clay after normal firing.
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Tor
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:19 am

@Bok , @Youzi Ah! I see. Thank you very much.
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Tor
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:08 am

swordofmytriumph wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:06 pm
My teapot from Mud and Leaves has arrived!
I also have their DCQ teapot. In my limited experience, their DCQ is quite decent. Looks like high-fired. Not very noticeable muting. Very little mineral effect. Fairly balanced taste-wise. No weird mouthfeel from the first brew. Overall, a good functional pot. In one of my tests with 2005 Nannuo sheng, it shows some details that none of my other pots do.

While brewing, I noticed that their DCQ pots are hotter than most of my other Zini pots, which means it conducts heat better (and therefore, should lose heat faster), or so it seems.

One annoying thing about their teapots is, the actual volume are way off. For example. your Sanbian is specified as 140ml, but I measured it at 168ml. - almost 30ml off. I have a few of their pots. All are 10-30ml bigger than stated on their website. I emailed them long time ago so they’ve acknowledged that, but apparently they never care to correct it.
Flavor Hedonist
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:29 am

Speaking of Heini, I'm quite intrigued by it actually. What clay are they using? What teas are suggested for it? How does it affect the brew?
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Youzi
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:02 am

Flavor Hedonist wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:29 am
Speaking of Heini, I'm quite intrigued by it actually. What clay are they using? What teas are suggested for it? How does it affect the brew?
There's no Heini, any clay can be Heini, if reduction fired. The base clay defines what tea would be good for it.
faj
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:23 am

Youzi wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:02 am
There's no Heini, any clay can be Heini, if reduction fired. The base clay defines what tea would be good for it.
Does reduction firing make a difference to the properties of the clay for tea brewing compared to oxidation firing of the same clay despite being generally similar, or is any difference negligible?

For his products, Akira Hojo states reduction firing (of the same clay) puts more emphasis on aftertaste, and less on body (note: I have no experience to confirm or deny this, I am just repeating his claims to help clarify my question). Would there be a difference like that for reduction fired Yixing, or would reduction firing of Yixing clay normally be considered a purely cosmetic choice?
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Youzi
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:45 am

faj wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:23 am
Youzi wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:02 am
There's no Heini, any clay can be Heini, if reduction fired. The base clay defines what tea would be good for it.
Does reduction firing make a difference to the properties of the clay for tea brewing compared to oxidation firing of the same clay despite being generally similar, or is any difference negligible?

For his products, Akira Hojo states reduction firing (of the same clay) puts more emphasis on aftertaste, and less on body (note: I have no experience to confirm or deny this, I am just repeating his claims to help clarify my question). Would there be a difference like that for reduction fired Yixing, or would reduction firing of Yixing clay normally be considered a purely cosmetic choice?
That's a good question, however I'm certain, that the base clay of the "heini" would also define the effect. The reduction fire can also have an effect, which I have no experience with.

To compare you'd need the same pot made of the same material, but one is reduction fired. All other scenarios could skew the result.
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