Monday, July 4, 2011

The Original Gongfu Tea Stove for Boiling Water

In the age of electric kettles, it's interesting to look back at how water was boiled for gongfu tea in the old days. This is what the pot and stove used to be.

In fact, some older folks in the ChaoShan area in China still boil water with a setup like this. What's really interesting is the fuel they use for the stove. The tweets you see in the above picture is just there to help start the fire. The real fuel is this:

If you don't recognize them, they are charcoal made from the pit of olives found in south eastern part of China. Because these pits have nuts inside, which carry oil substance, they give out an unique light aroma when burned. Through the air permissible bottom of the clay pot, the aroma finds its way into the water, giving the water the abiilty to enhance the Hui Gan (回甘= Return of sweetness) of the tea. These olive charcoal also burn very slowly.

Photos are taken by my friend who is also the artist still making stoves like this.

Remember to participate in our pole about how you steep your tea. The poll is on the blog homepage. Click on our banner on top.


  1. Hi Aaron,
    Great blog! Lots of good information, thank you. I had heard about olive pit charcoal but had never seen it before. It's very hard to find for purchase, it seems. I look forward to reading more of your posts :)

  2. Thank you. I look forward to sharing more about tea as well.

  3. If you have any of those little ceramic kettle sets available for purchase, please let me know! Great blog!