An Ode to Czech Potters

Korea, Europe, the Americas, and abroad
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Shine Magical
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Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:31 am

It does seem to share some characteristics with duanni. I still haven’t seasoned it much so I hope it will take away less flavor as time goes on. In its current state I can see it being good for younger sheng if you like that type of tea (I don’t).
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Maerskian
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Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:37 am

Kinda late to the party but just noticed this thread and the other related one recently, just finished reading, very interesting indeed.

As usual, the gigantic tree of knowledge is interconnected. As i dive deeper into the world of tea i keep finding connections to other areas of interest, czech pottery on this particular case.

@aet or anybody else with the answer(s) :

When was the Czechia-Japan cultural connection established ? any links with more information ( no matter how lengthy ) would be appreciated .

I've been diving into "artie" cinema ( add all the usual labels you might think of... form early avantgarde expressionists & surrealists to every movement & expression you can think of ) for around 25-28 years. Have been a member of multiple international communities since... the internet and at some point saw myself involved - almost pushed - into being a mod and writing articles about animation films.

My personal preferences - while obviously open to anything coming from anywhere - always seemed to be focused on eastern europe films of any kind for they always had unique takes and ways to do things, a shared feeling for plenty people ( like US born twin animators Quay brothers, and the reason why they moved to London in order to be closer to Poland & Czechia ) .

Czechia artists in my eyes always have had - for decades - a particular trait that once again seems to permeate to Czech potters, and that's the traditional-workshop feeling , always with rough edges, imperfections ( even though those are more than obviously intended to show up ) and created with the goal to feel more natural .

For decades, selecting dusty places, old-fashioned workshops that look & feel old and even a little beat up, the natural decay to convey those feelings only run down places deprived of their former glory, etc... has been used and passed down the "natural way", so certainly not surprised Czech pottery developed a personality of its own, even less that it looks this way. Our mind is wired to notice patterns and after watching thousands of czech films this kind of pottery fits perfectly the aesthetic criteria artists from very different fields have been resourcing to.

What remains a mystery to me is the cultural Japan-Czechia connection, one i found to be of mutual admiration with evidence dating back to the late 50s ... right the very moment they could re-establish their ties in 1957.

Just on the animation field i could point to the enormous fame & influence of Jiří Trnka workshop and how it prompted a young and broke Kihachiro Kawamoto to travel all the way to Czechia... on a ( context for young readers only ) much darker era were such a trip was incredibly expensive, riskier, with bigger hurdles to jump over ( barely any contacts, a bigger language barrier ... ) ... a darker world even in strict "lightning" terms and a time when "traveling to the other side of the world" had a different mental impact for average people ( closer to being an astronaut or a lesser version of David Attenborough ) ... all of it so he could meet an absolute idol, a praised master... and happy enough with the chance to be on Trnka's worksop as a humble apprentice.

Also strange that plenty films and even full compilations of short films by Czech animators ( Jiří Barta, Hermína Týrlová, and of course Jiří Trnka and world-famous Jan Švankmajer ) were easier to find & buy on the japanese online market than it could be on the european one ( this could also be explained by the sloppy online transition within the EU vs the natural US adoption and Japan's light speed adoption... although mixed with its own particularities that still remain ) .

Once again there seems to be another clear connection through pottery and still wondering if there's some obvious reason for it, some particular trade route, some specific commercial exchange or a number of circumstances that connected both.

Also @aet :

Not trying to deny anything you mentioned about Czechia's tea culture however i'd add it's also a matter of perspective for it's blatantly clear we can't dare to compare what could arguably be called tea motherland ( China ) with the whole geographical Europe ( western Russia included ) where i'd say most people nowadays ( used to the internet bubble, fully aware of what it is and how it feels like "we" are more inside it ) is just happily surprised to find genuine tea-cultures on places/countries they'd never suspect such a thing could even exist... and then, there's obviously different grades.

Also, i'd say it's awfully hard to learn everything about your own country and its own traditions or how "people" is ... overall we just get a general notion and cross-reference with other people's opinions so it's for the best to leave some room for surprises .

I myself have been buying from a Czech tea store recently, this one:

https://goodtea.eu/en/

And was wondering if you @aet know it by any chance ? think it's located in Praha although the original name is(should be ) in Czech ( DobryCaj probably ? ) . As far as i know the owner has been conducting tea events for a while and at the very least... just judging from the tea catalogue alone seems like he is really interested on the tea realm, although... undeniable... one of your claims also come true... as you can barely find any sheng... and the few ones available are pretty pricey to be... what it seems to be HongKong factory puerh ( ?!? ) . I know he imports HongKong stored Ying Kee Tea... and as you also pointed out, i know he had plenty issues importing some Liu Bao... to the point where he had to give up on plenty of them ( EU laws no longer allow teas with golden flowers, chinese orchid, etc... ) .

All in all, while certainly i didn't find anything exceptional ( although i did find one i like to drink often ) or high grade... have been happy with what i got so far ( mostly hei-cha/Liu An, some "Bulang" columns, loose leaf shou... ) . Apparently he also has some other teas in stock that aren't available on the website ( supposedly HK-stored 90s sheng, bamboo packed laos gushu, and some other apparently higher-grade sheng cakes... but not the kind of prices i'd go for blindly nor can - usually - afford .

Also found some other stores:

https://www.caj.cz/index.php?id=4&hlede ... str=6&tag=

https://www.laoteashop.cz/en/?filter_cat_3=65

https://www.orijin.cz/pu-erhy-tmave

Caj CZ seems to fit what aet was explaining about teas sourced from not so reliable sources and cakes... that might be ( or not ) sourced from aliexpress or similar ( initially doesn't seem to be the case, although i don't know the usual suspects floating around on that marketplace so can't confirm ) .

Laoteashop seems to be a nice option for european tea drinkers needing Liu Bao... although it seems... pricey.

Tried ordering from Orijin ( liked the fact they have their own brand, although i'm expecting humble tea... which i don't mind as long as it's drinkable ) but - once again - as aet pointed out... they seem to be stuck in time and not ready to process orders outside Czechia/Slovakia yet.

Initially asked to process & pay my order with paypal and was told i had to include a message with my order so they'd notice i was "foreign" ( ? ), then they asked me to pay through a bank transference. When i asked if it'd be possible to process payment through either my dedit or credit card they never bothered to contact back again... this brought me back to the early days of European webshops :roll:
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aet
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Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:31 pm

Maerskian wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:37 am
Not trying to deny anything you mentioned about Czechia's tea culture however i'd add it's also a matter of perspective for it's blatantly clear we can't dare to compare what could arguably be called tea motherland ( China ) with the whole geographical Europe ( western Russia included ) where i'd say most people nowadays ( used to the internet bubble, fully aware of what it is and how it feels like "we" are more inside it ) is just happily surprised to find genuine tea-cultures on places/countries they'd never suspect such a thing could even exist... and then, there's obviously different grades.
completely agree with that. I was born in Russia and grew up there ( back then Soviet Union ) can't really claim that from this age would have a clue about tea culture as I just had some Gruzia tea for b-fast or after lunch with sweets from samovar...really love that as a kid.
When moved to Czechoslovakia back then , the tea for me was only Tbags , one famous is Pigi Caj ;-) Czechs know . When get around my 20y old, the tea shops started to open and the concept was more spiritual rather then tea experience. Sitting on the floor , carpets, smoking water pipe ...like in India or something. Many tea shops are still in this concept and finding hard to survive coz rents are high and layout is not efficient (too much waste of space , like 1 person chilling on the floor with pillows takes lots of space ..especially if sits alone at small table or designated place ). This concept ( as called back 90's style ) is very contra-productive and makes the costs ...therefore price per tea ...much higher than could be.
Then I moved to Ireland and tea culture there is completely different and only people who tried ( not sure if still there ) to break trough the " bitter tea bag with liter of milk in cup " culture with some loose leaf was Slovakian guy. They opened the tea shop in Dublin city near to canal . Although it was the one of the basement premises, the rent is quite still high there and their concept was again wrong. I went there for cup of tea and had around 4m2 area only for my self by drinking some cheap black and sitting there like 2hrs reading book.
Not many Irish there , mostly foreigners / expats , coz locals are in coffeeshops having their latte or tea with milk and scone.
Again, after around 12 y living there , still wouldn't dare that I completely understand their tea culture. The young generation makes a difference.

Now I live in China and observe that all only via internet or if visit EU for holidays. My last visit in CZ was educational and made me understand that no point to offer there anything to anybody. The "working tea" ( as Russian suppliers call cheap but substantionally good looking stuff ) is being sourced there directly from Guangzhou by wholesalers.
You get what you pay for and the prices ( consequently the quality products ) are adjusted to their local economy. Russian tea market is quite similar , but much higher saturation ( more choices , more small tea shops, online shops ) because easier to do business like that ( less restrictions ) . Some teas they sell there are same price as here in China for retail , so no even point to do any business with them ;-)

As a vendor , I do not feel ethical to give you a feedback on any other vendor ( I don't know that goodtea anyway ) , so sorry for that ;-(
There is a Czech FB group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1440861936134945
but in CZ language mostly.
Also a guy who writes reviews on tea and tea shops https://cajovnicka.4fan.cz/
but also only in CZ language.
..not sure if google translator can crunch trough it and give u some decent making sense translation.

caj.cz ( Amana ) are wholesale supplier
Oxalis as well
Orijin is making a competition with those mentioned above ( just my opinion and from what I've heard )
Laoteashop - the guy on their FB page I met on Tea Fest in Prague , but I don't know if this is the owner.

As I wrote above, I can't give you any feedback on those ( I haven't tried their teas anyway ) although know quite a lot from my friends. As a tea drinker you are building your own taste reference ( quality scale ) by comparing. Also you count your costs including the shipping so it get more complicated if comparing with getting stuff delivered from China ( unless sourcing same quality ) .

Some people brew 8g shu in 120ml gaiwan for 30s , so some high end stuff would be probably waste anyway.
Yet, there are some people who appreciate higher quality, know that's not cheap and wiling to pay.
But that's small community of friends who put order together to make sense out of the expensive shipping fee ( like I've sent 15kg box for 4 people few weeks ago ). There is no e-pack option to CZ or SK so people even if they want to try something better, the expensive shipping fee just steer them away to the local wholesale supplied cheap Fangcun stuff.
I haven't seen many people offering Kunming stored teas but I've seen wholesalers offering fake Yunnan Dianhong black for example. Fake labeled puerh cakes and brick ( location, age, origin of trees ) ....that's same as everywhere abroad. Vendors even openly say that they just translate / rewrite description from supplier or label....can't blame them. It is messy already here in China.

..I don't know relation JP and CZ , but speak of the tea, apparently there is some guy who has JP wife and they import some JP teas in better quality than generally offered on local market. If interested, I might ask for contact. ( PM me for that )

cheers
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wave_code
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Wed Oct 28, 2020 4:02 am

interesting perspective @Maerskian, especially how you relate it to the animation scene.

I ordered from goodtea once so far but will be again soon. I just needed a replacement for a cheap broken glass pot and didn't want to wait for slow boat shipping, but was pleased to see someone selling some HK stored teas in Europe. I liked what I tried and they told which of the rest of their teas also are coming from Ying Kee, so I plan on picking up some more. The price seems pretty fair to me for them considering shipping/import, so on.

I have ordered quite a bit from Lao over the last couple of years. Some of their offerings are a little on the pricier side, but also some of it isn't really everyday tea either, at least not by European standards for sure. While some of what they carry it seems they buy or get samples of and then decide to stock like other vendors do, it also looks like they do also take sourcing trips quite regularly, which can add to costs. Given that they stock a lot of hei cha and nobody else in Europe really specializes in that, that they actually seem to source quite a bit of it themselves, and that what I have gotten from them has always been good quality, I'm happy to pay a bit of mark-up to support that. I can't get decent liu bao, much less older Malaysian stored ones from other vendors without waiting for a month of slow boat shipping, so while I don't get everything from them I'm ok with paying a premium to see a vendor stick around and keep doing what I think are good things. I believe they also just opened a tea house? I hope it goes well for them- even just running an established business through corona times is difficult.

A lot of other hei cha I've bought from other EU vendors clearly either just came from Chawang or maybe Yunnan Sourcing wholesale then marked up and sold in smaller quantity, and to my palette is usually not selected all that well - just fairly typical inexpensive big basket liu bao being sold by sample size, but often not even being a very good one in terms of its profile.
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Maerskian
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Wed Oct 28, 2020 10:18 am

wave_code wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 4:02 am
interesting perspective Maerskian, especially how you relate it to the animation scene.
Glad it felt that way. Must note however that while i only expanded on animators i was referring to the whole creative scene, from filmmakers ( Svankmajer also made live-action films, but then there's Jaromil Jires, Vera Chytilová, Jiri Menzel, Juraj Herz,etc... ) to sculptors, painters, illustrators ... even remarkable Czech writers ( Karel Capek comes to mind with what should be considered a concept prequel to Orwell's 1984, i'm referring to "R.U.R. / Rossum's Universal Robots" which introduced the word "robot" to the world ) not to mention musicians/composers . The list of names is way too long so i decided to stick to one case only and mention animators that could be considered "mainstream" or way too popular within animation circuits for there's a legion, even more if we considere the entanglement within the H4 block & the obvious soviet influence.

The more you dive into Czechia's cultural side the easier it is to see the connections and understand the outcome & decisions taken in the creative process.

In my experience there always has been a lingering genuine attraction for artisans of all kinds and "old things" which - once again - i can notice through my multiple hobbies. Another one would be the fact that i'm an audio enthusiast with the usual small collection of audio gear, worked on this sector, been part of a myth busters group and therefore involved on international communities years ago... and once again, when you check forums with second-hand subforums that usually are the few reliable places to find vintage jewels... the most active & passionate buyers tend to be eastern europeans, more specifically from the H4 block... most of the from Czechia. Not a coincidence you can find so many fine & praised luthiers around there as well.

In the end it's too many clues & circumstances pointing to the very same direction.
I ordered from goodtea once so far but will be again soon. I just needed a replacement for a cheap broken glass pot and didn't want to wait for slow boat shipping, but was pleased to see someone selling some HK stored teas in Europe. I liked what I tried and they told which of the rest of their teas also are coming from Ying Kee, so I plan on picking up some more. The price seems pretty fair to me for them considering shipping/import, so on.
I have ordered quite a bit from Lao over the last couple of years. Some of their offerings are a little on the pricier side, but also some of it isn't really everyday tea either, at least not by European standards for sure. While some of what they carry it seems they buy or get samples of and then decide to stock like other vendors do, it also looks like they do also take sourcing trips quite regularly, which can add to costs. Given that they stock a lot of hei cha and nobody else in Europe really specializes in that, that they actually seem to source quite a bit of it themselves, and that what I have gotten from them has always been good quality, I'm happy to pay a bit of mark-up to support that. I can't get decent liu bao, much less older Malaysian stored ones from other vendors without waiting for a month of slow boat shipping, so while I don't get everything from them I'm ok with paying a premium to see a vendor stick around and keep doing what I think are good things. I believe they also just opened a tea house? I hope it goes well for them- even just running an established business through corona times is difficult.
I've been communicating with GoodTea's owner Rado ( something i usually like to do in order to get a general notion of the place i'm ordering from... although i can perfectly understand there's obvious limitations, one of them being time ) which helped me draw some general positive conclusions from this particular store that otherwise wouldn't encourage me to test further and will share here in case it can help :

- Already mentioned it but for me it's important that the owner is also a tea enthusiast, somebody that is continuously tasting different teas, making events, going to fairs, looking to add more to the catalogue and doing everything he can to expand the tea culture... because he truly believe on it. This is something common with the usual vendors we "regular western tea drinkers" know and have bought from over the years ( YS, CLT, W2T, Liquid Proust, Chawang, etc... ) but not so usual on teashops within European territory ( there's plenty of 'em... hundreds... however there's only a handful that could be considered good & reliable at owner's level ) .

- You mentioned the shipping/import/customs factor... which unfortunately is very relevant for us EU based tea-drinkers and will be even more starting 2021. From my conversation with GoodTea's owner it seems the EU is becoming more & more restrictive with goods imported from China, in fact... my June's order from GoodTea experienced an abnormal delay precisely because of this very reason... shipping from HK/China these days is already slow, now you have to add up all the extra tons of paperwork & inspections.

Additionally, from what i've been told... from now on plenty teas are effectively banned from entering EU territory. Teas with golden flowers are no longer allowed ( although it seems they still can be slipped through since those doesn't stand out that much, so still room for fu cha bricks ), same for those including chinese orchids or similar ( i'm guessing Chrysanthemum is no longer allowed then? ), same for those with essential oils mixed up ( some taiwanese teas like Shan Cha ) even if they are natural.

This circumstance impacted GoodTea Luk On / Liu An's catalogue that has been reduced to merely two types right now... i know this because i am the one that bought their last , now-banned , Liu An teas and the moment i requested some more received the full explanation. Must confess that when i learned that Shan Cha was also affected by current EU import laws bought several bags of Shan Cha from this store... out of spite.

Also bought some of their fu cha bricks but then again, have been told he plans to import more fu cha soon, this time it'll be organic... so i assume that despite fu cha bricks being well known for their golden flowers they can be slipped through customs somehow.

- GoodTea's owner also told me he plans to expand his hei-cha catalogue as soon as he can ( fingers crossed ) although he is also facing the challenge to filter any that can be potentially banned from being imported and it's taking a while.

All in all bought quite a lot of different teas from GoodTea i need to taste & evaluate over the coming months. So far i'm liking that Bulang log ( even though it's clearly a humble version, still pretty enjoyable ) and going through their loose leaf shou ( generically labeled as "special" , "superior" ) ... which seem to be plain but drinkable shou... probably the kind served on HK dim sum restaurants ( never been on one, but from all the comments i've gathered over the years from asian tea-drinkers... this seems to be that kind ) which is enough for me & the way i drink it, plus it was to be expected too ( it's priced accordingly after all ) .

Also received some samples for the late 90s sheng & laos gushu that aren't on the online catalogue plus a nice chunk/sample of the 2011 Lock cha cake as well. I'm still waiting for plenty teas to clear the "quarantine" phase ( couple months on my storage ), once done they'll add up to my tasting marathon for the end of this year as i have too many samples & teas to evaluate.
A lot of other hei cha I've bought from other EU vendors clearly either just came from Chawang or maybe Yunnan Sourcing wholesale then marked up and sold in smaller quantity, and to my palette is usually not selected all that well - just fairly typical inexpensive big basket liu bao being sold by sample size, but often not even being a very good one in terms of its profile.
The last time i bought Liu Bao it was from Chawang. This whole year i've been essentially readjusting to the new EU customs situation that for me already started on late 2019 ( the moment Trump sent those $30million to the postal union; not such thing as coincidences... not sure what did they do with that money considering no postal service within US, Canada or the whole EU improved in the slightest... but all of them got worse ) searching & testing european tea stores, fortunately there's been nice surprises i probably wouldn't dare to explore otherwise.

It's remarkable - and must thank you for sharing your opinion - that i'm collecting nothing but praise to LaoTeashop and their Liu Bao, so certainly feeling fortunate they provide us - EU tea drinkers - with a reliable source for Liu Bao which right now is truly unique from our new perspective.

While mapping our new EU-perspective reality and considering the options will shrink, what i feared the most is being denied easy access to particular types of tea. Liu Bao would be one of those if it weren't for LaoTeaShop.

Can't find any consistent reliable source for shou either ( tried ordering from Teasenz european front puerhtea.eu a few times including some shou... but long story short: not planning to buy from there ever again unless i'm desperate - which i highly doubt - and it's really cheap for a reliable brand... which isn't happening either ) but after reaching to MoyChay have been told they plan to open a store on Amsterdam soon ( they sent me a link to their instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moychay.nl/ ...for those that have socials ) which would be excellent news and more than enough for the foreseeable future on my personal case.
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Wed Oct 28, 2020 2:00 pm

Maerskian wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 10:18 am
shipping from HK/China these days is already slow, now you have to add up all the extra tons of paperwork & inspections.

Additionally, from what i've been told... from now on plenty teas are effectively banned from entering EU territory. Teas with golden flowers are no longer allowed ( although it seems they still can be slipped through since those doesn't stand out that much, so still room for fu cha bricks ), same for those including chinese orchids or similar ( i'm guessing Chrysanthemum is no longer allowed then? ), same for those with essential oils mixed up ( some taiwanese teas like Shan Cha ) even if they are natural.

This circumstance impacted GoodTea Luk On / Liu An's catalogue that has been reduced to merely two types right now... i know this because i am the one that bought their last , now-banned , Liu An teas and the moment i requested some more received the full explanation. Must confess that when i learned that Shan Cha was also affected by current EU import laws bought several bags of Shan Cha from this store... out of spite.
Ugh very frustrating. I don't know what specifically these regulations pertain to- if the idea is to protect against certain agrochemicals, or potential invasive species, or what... if its a non-competition things its ridiculous since I'd like to see anyone here try their hand at growing and making liu an. If its a food safety issue when I look at my local landscape and knowing what was done to it during the DDR theres plenty of places from my own backyard that I wouldn't want to eat food grown there. I really liked the liu an I got from GoodTea so its a bummer there won't be more of the other styles coming at least for a while, I should get whats still left! Its also very frustrating as a buyer not knowing what exactly is allowed or not, and that its all luck of the draw basically if something comes through- for example if I ordered direct from Ying Kee, could it just get refused and sent back? As a vendor it must be maddening. I hope that at some point various importers (tea and otherwise) will be able to get some pressure put on regulators and get some of this sorted out.

As I had mentioned in another thread Yunnan Sourcing, so one of the biggest western facing vendors, recently stopped offering shipping to Germany from their China warehouse because they said they were having so many problems with the German customs and post, so you can only order here from their US storage now. I know some small suppliers in Germany and Austria who have had all kinds of problems with having non-organic teas being rejected or having things take months in customs for absolutely no reason. :roll:

anyway.... Czech pottery!!
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Maerskian
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Wed Oct 28, 2020 5:40 pm

wave_code wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 2:00 pm

Ugh very frustrating. I don't know what specifically these regulations pertain to- if the idea is to protect against certain agrochemicals, or potential invasive species, or what... if its a non-competition things its ridiculous since I'd like to see anyone here try their hand at growing and making liu an. If its a food safety issue when I look at my local landscape and knowing what was done to it during the DDR theres plenty of places from my own backyard that I wouldn't want to eat food grown there.
It's all about potential health issues. And yes... this as stupid as it sounds considering most of these herbs, flowers or essential oils are good for your health. In theory they sell it like they're doing it for our own good, in the end just feels like a way like any other to build a wall in a different manner.

It's not just tea and also impacted me personally with some of my other interests: cacao. The EU demand such insane amount of certificates & traceability paperwork some places are automatically deemed illegal. There's a reason why Kafka wrote what he wrote. Some of the consequences applied to cacao is that mexican cacao ( where you can find some of the finest cacao nibs; some world-famous NY chefs used to take direct flights just to source their beans there ) can't be found/imported anywhere inside the EU... it's all for our health... for our own good... meanwhile on the US you have americans and choco-bloggers enjoying fine mexican chocolate: https://ultimatechocolateblog.blogspot.com/ ... and of course dying... of pleasure.

The EU also reduced the allowed levels of metals detected on cacao recently which made all Pacari non-alkalized cacao powder illegal for a while. Pacari cacao powder was sold & consumed elsewhere, now they reformulated their cacao powder to comply with EU regulations... thanks to it now we have a lower-quality version with less fat ( this is bad, the source for fat on cacao is healthy ) and no longer specified if this is made with roasted or unroasted beans.

Used to buy cacao beans from this German shop:

https://www.theobroma-cacao.de/shop/cat ... ohkakao-64

who used to comply about EU limitations as well.

This doesn't make any sense in the end.

I really liked the liu an I got from GoodTea so its a bummer there won't be more of the other styles coming at least for a while, I should get whats still left!
He got a lot of Liu An back in early summer straight from HK so he should have more than enough. I bought 5Kg of each type... or whatever he had left in some cases. Obviously plan to age most of it, although i still need to open some of the 500g bags and find a suitable container.

Maybe you should try and send him a message, i know he planned to bring organic fu cha soon and working on more hei-cha so maybe we'll see something new before the end of the year (?) ... really hope he also tries to get hold of some Liu Bao, it's easier to buy from one place and there's plenty interesting teas on that store. If i like some of the ones i've bought would certainly love to get more.
Its also very frustrating as a buyer not knowing what exactly is allowed or not, and that its all luck of the draw basically if something comes through- for example if I ordered direct from Ying Kee, could it just get refused and sent back? As a vendor it must be maddening. I hope that at some point various importers (tea and otherwise) will be able to get some pressure put on regulators and get some of this sorted out.
As a matter of fact it can get worse than that. In Germany your tea can be opened, take a sample, be taken to the lab, deemed "dangerous", destroyed... and you'll receive a bill for their services. Not making this up, not only it has been reported since late 2019... long story short: i'm born & raised in Germany, moved to Spain a long time ago... but still have half my family tree living there and have had similar reports within my circles over there as well .

And as you mention... there's more...
As I had mentioned in another thread Yunnan Sourcing, so one of the biggest western facing vendors, recently stopped offering shipping to Germany from their China warehouse because they said they were having so many problems with the German customs and post, so you can only order here from their US storage now. I know some small suppliers in Germany and Austria who have had all kinds of problems with having non-organic teas being rejected or having things take months in customs for absolutely no reason. :roll:
Exactly this ^ .

I think Jay from TealifeHK also reported some of his orders being opened in Germany, samples taken... so best case scenario, you can receive opened cakes missing a chunk. Whether it is for analysis or that customs agents now love tea is unclear.

It's truly frustrating as i used my brother's address for stuff i couldn't have shipped directly ( Vahdam teas for example only shipped to UK & Germany for a good while, not sure if they do right now ), now Germany is off the list ... that's another restriction to the list.

Fortunately we have Teamania off EU limits... although... even if Temania's owner didn't say anything about it, i've been noticing as well that things are going too slow and most probably overzealous customs are involved too. On september this year Teamania added one new associate to their venture ( not sure if it's one of the guys from NannuoShan maybe ? ) supposedly specialized on high-grade taiwanese oolongs, but since then i haven't seen much added to their catalogue. I know Teamania is adding new sheng ... soon... also that another order from WuyiOrigin is coming... soon... also those new taiwanese oolongs.... but everything is going awfully slow, which given the circumstances is absolutely normal, however i'm suspecting new restrictions on customs as well.

Also noticed a price increase on Teamania's Huang Pian bricks... which is a first... and i know Teamania's owner never resourced to this practice before... in fact it only affected the latest batch of Huang Pian bricks ( i bought the previous stock early this summer, as far as i know the current stock arrived from China back in June as well ) so i suspect something happened at customs as well.

There's a spanish store specialized on artisan chocolates & cacao powder that suffered a similar situation back in june as well. They imported a particular high quality cacao powder coming from a private plantation in Vietnam and apparently they were punished with unexpected controls, higher taxes, additional paperwork, etc... it wasn't the usual ( they have been importing from there for years ), they weren't informed of anything, there was no new laws nor warnings about it... but i keep noticing this kind of issues everywhere all over Europe, it's not just tea... is everything... mainly coming from Asia.

Starting january 2021 is going to become worse as we already know. For the time being Teamania, GoodTea , pu-erh.sk ( although their catalogue shrinked a lot as well ) , LaoTeaShop... and probably MoyChay ( fingers crossed everything goes as planned ) will be our hope for the future.
anyway.... Czech pottery!!
Ah! yes... this what this thread is about :) . Sorry to OP and everybody else.

Back on topic:

Recently received ( gift ) an artisan Czech teapot and was wondering if is should take some pictures and post it, see if anybody dares to identify it. All i know is that's 15 years old, around 400-500ml, and became my instant favorite ( i use a lot of leaf ) .
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