Last Updated on 08/30/2020 by Desmond
We often see a little pitcher in the complete set teawares for sale; its official name is Fair Cup. What justice can it bring to us? Let’s see.
What Is Fair Cup Use For
When a tea ceremony novice is serving his guests, he may make a condition of flavor inequity. Each guest gets a different taste from the tea he made.
The fair cup is for solving this problem. Cha Zhong, Cha Sea, and tea pitcher are its other names.
When we make tea, no matter loose tea, tea cake, or tea bags, a teapot is necessary. If you use a glass teapot, you will see the tea component dissolve into the water slowly. To different types of teas, needs different steeping time to get the best flavor.
But, by the increasing steeping time, we will found that the infusion will be layering in the teapot because of the different concentrations. The closer to the bottom, the darker it will be, which means it tastes stronger. If you pour it into the teacups directly, each guest will get different concentration tea. And they got a different tea experience, that is not fair.
Here comes a good demonstration from Sonia of helloteacup. She uses an ordinary traditional Gongfu Tea Ceremony little teapot to make tea. The first cup and the last cup, the infusion they got, has a 100% steeping time gap. So they have an apparent concentration discrepancy.
If you gonna enjoy tea alone, this discrepancy will bring better tea experience, but it is terrible when serving guests. When making fruit tea or bubble tea, we can solve this problem by stir or shake the teapot. But it is not graceful in the traditional tea ceremony, and nobody will do this.
So we need a fair cup. After enough steeping time, pour the tea infusion into the fair cup first. Therefore the different concentration layers will mix, unify the concentration and flavors. Then pour the tea to the guests’ teacup from the fair cup, to make them get the same tea experience.
Some veteran tea lovers also can judge the tea quality by the color when having tea. Due to the fair cup with a bigger opening and no cover, people can clearly see the tea color. So that it will not make an awkward case, found the tea quality is not good until serving tea to guests.
To a novice, it’s not easy to master how much tea leaves should take, and the steeping time; that lead to making the tea concentration too high or too low.
Under this case, we can pour the infusion into the fair cup slowly and watch the color. Once the concentration is low, pouring slower to let the leaves steep longer. If the concentration is too high, we should stop pouring and add some water for diluting. Even though it is not a graceful method, but to a novice, it can help avoid wasting the tea.
Using a fair cup can help cool the tea to some extent and make it suitable for drinking. Besides, it can also help sediment the delicate leaves which the teapot hasn’t filter.
Common Fair Cup Types
During making tea, the fair cup plays a role of transfer and mix the infusion. Although this process is short, it still has some effects on tea quality. The fair cup contains in the complete teaware product, typically got the same material as other tea sets. But we still can pick one extra fair cup as loved.
The glass fair cup is the most common and popular type. It has a pro that others not. It can help watch the tea color clearly to judge the quality, and whether the concentration is fine. You can also know how much tea left, more conveniently to serve the same volume of tea to each guest, to give fairer treatment.
The porcelain fair cup also common, especially the white porcelain one. It’s the same as the glass fair cup, can help watch the tea color, but not to convenience as the glass one because it is not lucency. Compared with the glass one, porcelain fair cup is stronger, not easy to break by suddenly heating, and easier to clean.
Most of the Gongfu tea set is made from pottery, especially from purple sand. Some in the complete set sales products, the fair cup also made from pottery. But in fact, pottery not seems suitable. Because it is not transparent, and it is typically dark color; that affects watching the tea color.
Related Reading: What Is The Difference Between Pottery And Porcelain?
How To Use Fair Cup In A Right Way
- Avoid Overflow. There is a “high-brew” skill of making tea, which can better extract the tea flavor. But when we pour the tea from teapot to the fair cup, we should take a suitable height to avoid the tea overflow and get a burn. Likewise, when pouring the tea from the fair cup to teacups, make them close enough.
- Keep Tidy. As a host, it is inevitable to wet the tea tray when making tea, especially brewing in the Gongfu tea way. So when we serve tea to guests’ teacup, we should use a towel to dry the bottom of the fair cup and avoid letting the water drop on the guests’ table.
- Equal Distribution. Except for letting the guests get the same flavor of tea, the volume should also be the same. There is a rule in the traditional tea ceremony when serving tea, never fill the teacup full. Typically just till 7/10, filling full is disrespectful to the guest. Besides, the host needs to pay attention to whether the guest finishes drinking and re-fill the tea in time.
An interesting thing worth saying, even though the fair cup regarded as a standard configuration on a Gongfu tea set, and Gongfu tea culture originated in Chaoshan, China. But when local people brewing tea in Gongfu tea way, they will not use a fair cup.
They solve the different tea concentration problems is to arrange the teacups in a circle, then serving tea in a drawing circle method, but not serving a cup by a cup. This skill is called “Guan Gong Xun Cheng.” It’s a story about a Chinese ancient general go on patrolling cities.
A veteran tea master can easy to make every teacup got the same tea. Once the teacups got not the same tea volume, they will add more tea in drop by drop till the same. This skill is called “Hanxin Dian Bing,” from a story about an army adviser checking his soldiers’ number.
Related Reading: How To Make Tea In Gongfu Tea Way.
How To Pick A Suitable Fair Cup
- Material. As previously mentioned, three common material of fair cup, glass, pottery, and porcelain. Among them, I highly recommended the glass one.
- Size. When choosing a fair cup, pick one which has a little bigger capacity than the teapot you use. So that no tea left behind in the teapot, avoid making the leaves keep cooking. But the size should not be too big, or it will occupy the space of tea tray and not comfortable to hold.
- Shape. The shape of the fair cups is various. Total saying, it can be classified into two types, with handle or not. The one with a handle will easier to hold, especially for the novice. And the no handle one typically has a good looking, but a little hard on hold.
- Smooth Output. The fair cup has no cover, so the spout design is important(some physical reasons.) When you are going to pick a fair cup, scrutinize the flow, whether smooth and balance. Besides, see the water whether it will flow down from the spout when stopping pouring tea, which will affect the table’s cleanliness.