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Purple clay from the county of Yixing is considered the best natural material for making tea sets. Their purple clay teapots can abundantly release your tea's aroma and keep it from going tasting bad better than any other material.
On my visit to Chayuan Tea City at the south end of Maliandao Tea Street yesterday afternoon, I found some user-friendly purple clay tea cups in a shop (No. A2-10) named Qingyi, which literally means "Affection" in English.
As I set my eyes upon the tea cups shown on the shelves, a shop assistant started telling me about the twelve Chinese zodiac animal cups originally designed by the shopkeeper, Mr. Chen.
I picked up a chocolate-colored one with a miniature rooster on the cover. When I opened the lid, to my surprise, I found a purple clay interlayer stuck in the middle. Inside stood another miniature rooster. This layer has many small, round holes that allow tea to pass through and keep the leaves at the bottom. So don¡¯t worry about accidently drinking any leaves.
Prices for all of their tea cups range from 20 to 120 yuan. For teapots, the prices vary greatly by quality, from 50 to 16,000 yuan. In addition, you can find a variety of tea ceremony accessories, and some famous Chinese teas too.
Another middle-aged shopkeeper used to be a tour guide, and can speak English.
What I appreciated
Purple clay tea cups originally designed by shop keeper, reasonable prices
What customers appreciate
User-friendly purple clay tea cups, Chinese teas and tea sets
Pottery folk art
Health-giving original ecology Pu'er tea
Exploring the mystery of Dongba culture
Huo Shu Tang: a snapshot of China's finest handicrafts