I use my wooden tea tray since 2003 and it serves me well since then. Unfortunately, because of its size it’s quite unhandy to use on my work desk, and since last winter I had to work quite a nights, I decided to get a smaller, ceramic tea tray.
This is a celadon tea tray made by Taiwanese artist Xu De Jia I acquired from Guang at HouDeAsianArt. The tea tray is made from bluish "Chin Tzi" celadon in stylized form of Lotus With Eight Petals. The tray is quite heavy and feels massive and the tea stand (isle) found in the center of it is removable.
First, let's describe how celadon works. When purchased, it’s clear and translucent without any visible cracking – yet, these cracks are there, they are just hollow and hard to be seen. If you click the top image (it’s the outside wall of tea tray), you can see, that from closer look the cracks are there.
The bottom picture is taken from the surface of tea stand, where the cracks are already filled with tea and clearly visible. These cracks appeared as soon as on my third use of the tea tray, and to my surprise, they are much darker on the upper sides of tea tray, than on the bottom, though the bottom is filled with tea most of the time I use the tray.
The setup of this tea tray is quite easy – the teapot stands on the isle, so I can feed it with tea broth. All unused tea is collected in the bottom of the tea tray. Fortunately, all my pots under 200 ml fits the isle.
But my favorite function of it is the shui fan, container used to store wasted tea and used tea leaves. After my tea session I usually remove the tea isle and clean the pot dumping all tea leaves into the tray.
I have another, more artistic and slightly less comfortable tea tray by Xu De Jia, but I will write about it later…