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The Classic of Tea by Lu Yu Chapter 2 – Sunday Tea Book

Please check out Sunday Tea Book videos for additional information about the Classic of Tea.

Chapter 2 Tools

A basket (ying, 籝), also called lan (篮), long (笼), or ju (筥). It’s woven with bamboo. Its volume is 3L (5 sheng, 升, volumn unit, 1 sheng = 600ml), or bigger ones like 6L, 12L or 18L (1 dou, 2 dou, or 3 dou, 斗, volumn unit, 1 dou equals 10 sheng, 6L). Tea pluckers carry it on the back when picking tea.

Furnace (zao, 灶) should be without chimney. Use a pot that has a thick edge.

Steamer (zeng, 甑), made with wood or earthenware, bucket shaped, sealed with mud. Inside the steamer, there is a raft like bamboo basket tied with a bamboo stick. When it’s time to steam the tea leaves, put the tea leaves in the basket. When it’s done, take it out. If the water in the pot runs out, add water from the opening of the steamer. three pronged stick of paper mulberry wood is used to spread the steamed tea leaves to avoid the juice of the leaves drip away.

Mortar and pestle (chu jiu, 杵臼), also called dui (碓). Use the one that you’re used to.

Mold (gui,规), also called mu (模) or quan (棬). Made with iron. It can be square, round, or other patterns.

Anvil (cheng, 承), also called tai (台) or zhen (砧). It’s made of stone. If using stump from mulberry tree or pagoda tree, the lower half of the stump has to be buried in the ground so it’s immovable. 

Cloth (chan, 襜), also called yi (衣). Oiled silk, old rain coat or shirt can be used. Put the cloth on the anvil, and then put the mold on the cloth to make the tea cake. After the tea cake was pressed, take it out and change a new cloth for the next one.

Rack (bi li, 芘莉), also called ying (籯) or pang lang (篣筤). It’s made of two 90cm (3 chi) long bamboo sticks, 75cm (2 chi and 5 cun) of which is the body, and the rest 15cm (5 cun) is the handle. Between the two sticks is 60cm (2 chi) of the woven bamboo sieve, just like the ones that the farmers use for sifting soil. It’s used to place the tea cake.

Awl (qi, 棨), also called zhui dao (锥刀), it’s made with hardwood handle. It’s used to pierce a hole in tea cakes.

String (pu, 朴), also called bian (鞭). It’s made of bamboo. It’s used to thread the tea cakes together so that it’s easy to ship.

Roasting ditch(bei, 焙), dig 60cm (2 chi) deep, 75cm (2 chi 5 cun) wide, 3m (1 zhang = 10 chi) long, build a 60cm (2 chi) short wall around it and cover it with mud.

Skewer (guan 贯), carve the bamboo into 75cm (2 chi 5 cun) long skewer, and it’s for stringing tea for baking.

Roasting rack (peng, 棚), also called zhan (栈). A two storey wooden structure of 30 cm (1 chi) is placed on top of the roasting ditch. When the tea is partially dry, place it on the lower level, and when it’s done place it on the top level.

String (chuan, 穿). In jiangdong, huainan (area of today’s jiangsu, anhui, zhejiang provinces) area strings are made of bamboo. In chuandong, exi (east of sichuan, west of hubei provinces) area, paper mulberry tree’s bark is used as the string. Shang chuan (上穿) is a string of tea weighting 680g (1 jin) in jiangdong, while it means 81,600g (120 jin) in xiazhong (upstream area of Yangtzi river). Zhong chuan (中穿) is a string of tea weighing 340g (half jin) in jiangdong, while it’s 54,400g (80 jin) in xiazhong. Xiao chuan (小穿) is a string of tea weighing 170g~210g (4, 5 liang) in jiangdong, 34,000g (50 jin) in xiazhong. The character chuan (穿), old times is character chuan (钏) or chuan (串), now it’s different. It’s like characters mo (磨), shan (扇), tan (弹), zuan (钻), feng (缝), when it’s used in the articles it’s the first tone, while it’s fourth tone when read out. Here uses character chuan (穿).

Storage/drying container (yu, 育), is made of wooden frame, woven bamboo shell, and covered with paper. There’s a partition in the middle. There’s bottom and top cover. On the side is a door that can be open and closed. In the middle of the bottom layer is a container with hot ashes covered fire and keep the low heat. In the rainy season in lower Yangtzi area, it needs some fire to eliminate humidity.

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