Last Updated on 05/21/2020 by Desmond
In the traditional Chinese tea ceremony, various teawares are needed, such as teapots, teacups, and tea props.
When we were brewing tea, various teawares will make the table look tousled. In this case, we need a tea tray to keep them tidy.
Maybe it looks just a simple tray; tea tray plays a notable role in the tea ceremony.
What Is Tea Tray
Tea tray also called Tea Boat. No matter in Chinese style or Japanese style, tea tray is a tray used to place other teawares.
When we are going to have tea time, we can set all the teawares on the tea tray, to keep the table tidy.
The rectangle is the main style of the most tea tray. And some tea tray designed to be round and various irregular shapes.
As the most crucial teaware in tea ceremony, tea tray mainly serves the following functions:
- Prevent the teaware from direct touch with the table. When the teacup and teapot filled with hot water, they may cause damage to the surface of the table by direct touch. Especially the glass table, it may break.
- Almost all tea tray has a drainage function. When pre-heating the teacup, the wastewater can fall to the inside of the tea tray, to keep the table clean. Especially brewing Gongfu Tea, it will be a great function.
- Storage the teawares. After the tea time and the clean work, you can place the teawares on the tea tray for storing them. And take them out together next time, it’s very convenient.
Pros & Cons of The Tea Tray From Different Materials
Just like the other teawares, tea tray also made from many different materials. The only difference is that it is rare to see a tea tray made of glass, which is brittle and prone to rupture when heated partly.
Different materials make different features, some for good looking and some for a low price, some for good use, and some for collection.
Each material has its strengths and weaknesses. Have a consideration when deciding to buy a tea tray.
Wooden Tea Tray
All the wooden things, within a retro, natural feeling, help to increase the pleasure of tea time.
Wooden tea tray maybe the most common type. In China, most Gongfu Tea Tray made from wood. Some tea tray made from precious wood got a highly collectible.
According to the different types of wood, the wooden tea tray mainly has the following:
- Kembat Tea Tray
- Rosewood Tea Tray
- Wenge Wood Tea Tray
- Ebony Tea Tray
Price is the most significant difference between different types of a wooden tea tray; the appearance and texture of the various wood types also affect the cost of the tea tray.
Unless the quality of the raw materials difference much, the pros and cons of various wooden tea trays are roughly the same
- A nature feeling and beautiful wood grain
- Easy to sculpt to get a delicate appearance
- Wooden is soft and will not break the teaware easily
- Difficult to maintenance, easy to crack if do not well on maintenance
- It is easy to stain by tea or scratched by hard objects, influence the appearance
- High-end wooden tea trays are relatively expensive
Bamboo Tea Tray
Bamboo teaware is great, and bamboo tea tray that looks close to the wooden tea tray, within a natural feeling and plant smell. And its cost is much lower than the wooden tea tray, suitable as a basic starter teaware.
- Low price
- Awesome appearance and fresh feeling
- Poor durability, the surface easy to crack
- Small cracks tend to accumulate tea stain, affect the appearance, and unsanitary
- It is easy to out of shape by the thermal expansion and contraction
Bakelite Tea Tray
Originally from Taiwan, China, bakelite tea trays have a plastic-like texture and a wood-like appearance. Due to the low production difficulty, large yield, and excellent performance, it is trendy in the market.
- High durability, not easy to crack
- Bakelite has a low hardness, not easy to damage the teapot and other teaware
- The modeling of the bakelite tea tray is simple, most of them with drainage design
- The appearance of the bakelite tea tray can change by soaking of tea a long time, making it look like the real wood
- Bakelite is a synthetic chemical material, not a natural material; So it has no collection value, and some tea lovers may mind about it is not from nature
- Some low-quality bakelite tea trays may be smelly, and the corners are not well polished, and burrs
- Some merchant may take a low-quality plastic one as bakelite tea tray for sell and cheat the customers
Related Reading:Bakelite Tea Tray: 3 Pros & Cons, Buying & Maintain Guide
Stone Tea Tray
Stone tea trays mainly made from natural or synthetic stones. Natural stones have a much longer history than wood and give a more natural feeling.
The natural stone tea tray is expensive, especially some which made from the rarity stones, such as jade tea tray, the price can make a surprise.
Unlike the other types of tea trays, most stone tea trays are in an irregular shape. The designer thinks that if cutting natural stone into regular rectangles, it seems to lose its soul.
Common types of the stone tea tray:
- Black Blocks Stone Tea Tray
- Inkstone Tea Tray
- Purple Jade Tea Tray
- Jade Tea Tray
- Durable, Corrosion-resistant, Not easy to out of shape, or Cracking
- Beautiful appearance, high collection value
- After polishing, the tea is difficult to be permeated or accumulated on the surface, and easy to clean
- High hardness, may damage the teaware
- Too heavy to move
- Cost expensive
Porcelain tea tray
Porcelain is a unique material that originated in China. With the introduction of Chinese tea into Europe, porcelain teaware became popular in Europe and a kind of art. The porcelain tea tray also within a strong Chinese style.
Porcelain tea tray divided into ceramic and porcelain. The purple clay tea tray is the most famous ceramic tea tray and usually set with purple clay teaware.
And the tea tray that porcelain makes emphasizes the visual effect that colored glaze craft brings, often sells with the porcelain teaware in a set together.
- The shape is diverse, antique, strong Chinese style
- Reasonable price
- High hardness, may damage the teawares
- Porcelain and ceramics are fragile materials and should be careful when using
- Hard to clean, may breed the tea stain
Metal Tea Tray
The metal tea tray mostly referred to stainless steel tea tray and brass tea tray. Metal tea tray belongs to a more modern teaware, famous for its high durability, lowly price. And many multi-purpose tea trays also use metal as their panels.
But due to the tea ceremony is classical art, the metal tea tray with modern style is still challenging to be accepted by most tea lovers.
- Strong and durable, it can be used all the time without cracking unless damaged by corrosive liquids
- Lowly price
- Lighter than the stone tea tray and porcelain tea tray, convenience to move
- Easy to clean up
- Too single style, and not suitable for the tea time environment
- If not take proper care on maintaining it will rust
Tea Tray Style
Besides material, tea tray also has a variety style according to the function, and they affect the cost much.
Water-storage Style Tea Tray
Most tea trays designed in a water-storage style. The wastewater will be stored inside the tea tray for a moment, and clean them up after having tea.
- Tea tray with drawer. There is a drawer inside the tea tray, and the wastewater from the filter will store in it. You can open the drawer and clean it up after it full of wastewater.
- Tiered tea tray. The whole tea tray is a container, and the surface is as a cover and filter. The wastewater will store inside. You need to open the lid and pour the water out.
The tea tray with a drawer is more convenient and durable. Tiered tea tray quality requirement is high, to avoid the water leak.
Draining Tea Tray
On the tea tray with the drainage system, there is a drain hole, connect with a plastic pipe, let the wastewater fall into the container through the pipeline.
The draining tea tray is suitable for the tea lover who has large tea consumption. But due to the water container and the tea tray are separated, it needs another place for the container, it cost more space, and it’s hard to move.
Root Carving Tea Tray
Root carving tea tray belongs to a particular type of wooden tea tray. It made from a whole tree root.
After some precious tree died, its root usually used to make a carved tea tray. Each tree root used to create a tea tray is carefully selected, interlaced wood grain and roots, presenting a unique beauty, what art of god!
In addition to the excellent appearance, the root carving tea tray also shows uniqueness. Like there are no two same trees on the earth, so as the root carving tea tray.
But besides that expensive cost, root carving tea tray got a large volume, it makes it hard to move. And it also has an easy cracking disadvantage.
Multi-function Tea Tray
With the development of technology, many electronic multi-function tea trays come.
In addition to meeting the functions of placing teaware and brewing tea, it also has the features of water supply and drainage, boiling water, disinfection of teacups, and storage space of teawares.
Although the multi-function tea tray can greatly reduce the difficulty of making tea, the modern style of it, just like the metal tea tray, can be said to be incompatible with the traditional tea ceremony.
Therefore, a multi-function tea tray only suitable for the office to serve the customers. Or the people who only care about the tea taste.
How To Maintain The Tea Tray
Tea trays, like teapots and teacups, need to be maintained. In particular, some precious tea trays with collection value, if not properly maintained, will make its value reduction, or even scrap.
In the daily tea tray maintaining, we should take care of the following:
- Pay attention to the position of the tea tray to avoid direct sunlight. A long time of sunshine is easy to make the surface of the tea tray lacquer or electroplating material oxidation, resulting in fading. And the wooden tea tray will maybe crack because of excessive dryness.
- Wooden tea trays and bamboo tea trays should not be kept in damp places, as this can lead to mildew.
- Do not put the things with high-hardness on the tea tray, or it will easy to scratch it. Pay attention to handle teawares gently, avoid damage when using.
- Every time after using, do a good job of cleaning. Pour out the stored wastewater, clean the tray with clean water, and wipe it dry with a dry cloth to prevent the tea stain breeds. Never use harsh cleaners when cleaning.
- When you are going to place the tea tray for a long time, you can wax it after the clean work. It helps to protect the tea tray from cracking and gives long-term protection.
- Do not place any heavy things on the tea tray for long periods. It will cause the tray to deform.