Tea Set

 

Tea set is a tea service that contains teapot, tea cups, strainers, spoons, saucers, infusers, milk and sugar bowls. Tea sets can be made of any type of materials like, ceramic, glass, pottery or porcelain. A tea set can be used for daily purpose and also on formal or special occasions. This tradition of tea sets is very much present in the western countries. Tea sets are priced according to the quality of the material they are made of. They can be purchased at a wholesale rate or they can be specially customized according to one's choice. Some pieces are rare and exquisite, which are not easily available everywhere. Silver sterling tea sets are of the classic variety but a number of inexpensive silver plated replicas are abundantly found in the market. A formal tea set should include:

  • a coffee pot(optional)
  • a teapot to store the brew of the tea.
  • a hot water pot to make the tea brew strong or mild.
  • teacups (preferably of 10 oz. size) and saucers to serve tea.
  • a creamer or jug to store milk.
  • a sugar bowl to store sugar cubes or granules.
  • a tea tray to hold the tea cups and saucers after tea is poured in them.
  • a splash bowl to keep the leftovers of the tea leaves.
 
Origin of the Tea set:

The tea set is supposed to have originated during the Han Dynasty (206-220 B.C.) in China. During this time porcelain was the only material that was used to make tea sets. The type of porcelain that was available could be divided as follows:

  • northern white porcelain
  • southern light blue porcelain.

However, tea was not prepared as it is prepared today. Thus the tea set also did not consist of the same pieces of service as it does today. An ancient document of the third century A.D. China bears witness to the process of preparing tea:

  • Firstly, tea leaves were pressed together to form square-shaped cakes.
  • These cakes were then ground together and mixed with spices like orange, ginger, onions, and flower petals.
  • Thirdly, hot water was poured over the mixture. Next, the whole mixture was heated and served in bowls.

Thus, the tea set of those times did not consist of teapots but of different sizes of bowls. It was also used for cooking and serving food and a bamboo whisk used to beat up froth with the tea. Tea was then used as a medicine and not as a hot beverage, which can be drunk many times a day. The teapot was discovered during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.). Yixing teapots, also known as Zi Sha Hu in China, are one of the earliest types of teapots. The Purple Sand teapot of the U. S is its contemporary. The composition of the soil of the province, where it is found, lends it its characteristic color. Teapots or tea bowls of this era were in hues of brown, black and blue. It is believed by the Asians that tea also has a mythical origin. Shen Nong, one of the three great Emperors of the San Huang period (3000-2700 B.C.), is believed to be the founder of tea. He is also credited with the invention of agriculture and that of Chinese herbal medicine. It is, however, believed in India that tea was first discovered by a monk called Bodhidharma. He founded Zen Buddhism. It is said that he prepared a beverage by boiling leaves from a wild tea bush to keep him awake on the last day of his austerity. Bodhidharma was from Madras, India. The Tang Dynasty (618-906 A.D.) liked the practice of tea drinking and fostered it to become China's national drink. Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan quickly acquired the habit of drinking tea, as soon as they arrived in China. Tea became a popular drink with the advent of the Mongolian rulers. This popularity continued through the Ming Dynasty. From this period onwards, tea, as is prepared today, started to be preferred.

 

Types of Tea sets:

Ceramic and silver tea sets are the most popular ones. But there are other materials also with which tea sets can be made.

 

Ceramic Tea sets:

Ceramic tea sets come in a wide range of prices, starting from the plain mono-colored ones to the more ornate pieces. They are available in bright hues of red, orange, yellow or light pastel shades. They can also be white or cream colored with a darker colored design painted on it. Ceramic tea sets can be of the following types:

 

Iris Tea set:

It usually has a light or cream colored base with small Iris flowers painted in red and green all over it.

 

Pinecone Tea set:

Pinecones are painted all over a light cream base.

 

Cranberry Tea set:

Cranberry bogs are painted in red and green on the surface of the service pieces.

 

Blueberry Tea set:

Tumbling berries are used to adorn the tea set.

 

Buttercup Tea set:

Yellow buttercups give a springtime feel to the tea set.

 

Wisteria Tea set:

Wisteria twines entangle themselves around this tea set.

 

Lavender Tea set:

Purple lavender branches are used to highlight these tea sets.

 

Rooster Tea set:

The red color used over a light base increases the aesthetic appeal of the piece.

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