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Celebrate National Hot Tea Month by keeping hot tea hot

Updated on January 22, 2015

Keep your cup of tea hot on National Hot Tea Month

January is National Hot Tea Month. Celebrate this month-long holiday by enjoying your favorite pot of tea and keeping it piping hot. Nothing is more satisfying than relaxing and sipping your favorite cup of tea with friends or by yourself that stays hot for hours.

There are many contemporary double-walled teapots and tea cups available today to keep your hot tea hot. My favorite is the hard-to-find vintage Somayaki double-walled pottery which dates back some 300 years to Fukushima, Northern Japan. The bluish-green crackle glaze, the running horse motif, and the double-wall construction make Somayaki pottery distinctive and sought after by collectors.

All photos were taken by me (Bakerwoman). All rights reserved.

Vintage Somayaki tea set from 50s - First double-walled construction to keep tea hot

There is a lot of history to the traditional art of making Somayaki pottery which was established in 1690 in Namie Village, Fukushima prefecture of Northern Japan. It has been designated a National traditional craft and most recognizable for the celadon-colored glaze, the running horse motif, and the double-walled contruction to keep the tea inside hot and the outer surface cool to the touch. The heart-shaped cutouts are said to be a crane's footprints, a bird that symbolizes longevity and good fortune in Japan.

Double-walled construction of a Somayaki tea cup

Insulation keeps tea hot in the cup

This is a Somayaki mug that was damaged during shipping. I attempted to piece the mug together to show a cross-section of the double walls. As you can see here, the inner and outer pieces were thrown separately by the potter. After these were dry and firm, the inner piece (the one that holds the liquid) is inserted into the outer piece and joined together. This created the double-wall construction "Niju-Yaki" which retains heat on the inside while keeping the outer surface cool to the touch.

"Ao-hibi' bluish-green crackle glaze - His and hers vintage Somayaki tea cups

Somayaki pottery or Obori Soma Ware has the distinctive bluish-green crackle finish achieved by the use of applewood when these are fired in the kilns. The inner wall can be seen through the heart cutouts which go all around the cups. The heat will not be transferred to one's hand when holding the tea cup.

Typically, tea cups for men are made slightly larger than those for women as in the case of these "His and Hers" Somayaki tea cups. The gilded galloping horse and gold around the rims of the vintage cups have rubbed off from being lovingly used.

'Hashiri-goma' or galloping horse motif - Painted inside and outside

The running horse 'Hashiri-goma' motif is painted in the style of the Kano School of Painting, one of the most respected and influential school of painting in the history of Japan. It is believed that the feudal lords of the mid-1600s mandated that the running horse motif be handpainted on all Somaware to show pride in the region's superiority in horse breeding and training.

Tomiji Sue, Somayaki craftman of Somayaki Pottery Works

Even if this video is in Japanese, the visuals will show you how the double-walled Somayaki pottery is made. Tomiji Sue of the Sue family talks about how the factory is weathering the disasters caused by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants in the region and the devastation of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the region. The manufacture of this traditional craftmanship has been on hold indefinitely which is making Somaware more difficult to find.

Tsunami destroyed Somayaki Pottery Works

The tsunami of March 11, 2011 damaged the Somayaki Pottery Works in Fukushima, Japan and forced the evacuation of the Sue family and few of the craftsmen. This has put the production of this ancient art on hold indefinitely.

Somayaki tea sets can still be found on eBay, etsy, craigslist, estate sales. If you are lucky, you might stumble upon a tea cup in the local flea market or thrift store.

Collectible Somayaki tea cups from eBay - Getting harder to find after production put on hold

Most of these are vintage, most likely from the 50s-60s and therefore pre-owned. The nuclear disaster, earthquake and tsunami of 2011 destroyed the Somayaki Pottery Works in Northern Japan. These one-of-a-kind handmade pottery has become more and more difficult to find and has become a collector's item.

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Have you ever heard of Somayaki double-walled pottery?

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There are other ways to keep hot tea hot

Tea cozies in every possible designs and colors are placed over the tea pot to keep it warm.

Penguins keeping the teapot warm

Tea Cozy - Penguin Plethora|Standard
Tea Cozy - Penguin Plethora|Standard

Who would ever think of baby penguins keeping your teapot warm with parents looking on. This cotton tea cozy will surely bring smiles and warm the heart.

 

Union Jack cozy for larger teapots - Will make a nice gift for the tea drinker

Union Jack Tea Cozy - Dome
Union Jack Tea Cozy - Dome

This attractive cozy will fit most teapots up to 6 cups. Made of insulated material, although not as thick, this is guaranteed to keep your teapot warm for hours.

 

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Do you own a tea cozy or tea cosy?

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Elegant, sleek and looks expensive

G&H Tea Services Soho 30 6-Cup Ceramic Teapot with Insulated Chrome, White
G&H Tea Services Soho 30 6-Cup Ceramic Teapot with Insulated Chrome, White

The lid of this contemporary teapot is the lid which fits beautifully over the pot to keep the heat in. What an elegant way to insulate and keep your tea hot.

 

Which do you prefer?

Tea comes in many forms --tea bags which are pre-measured and easy to use; loose tea leaves, and tea powder.

Heavenly Tea Leaves Tea Sampler, Assorted, 9 Count
Heavenly Tea Leaves Tea Sampler, Assorted, 9 Count

Try them all. Assorted Tea Sampler Includes 9 of the bestselling loose leaf teas - Organic Sencha Green Tea, Organic Genmaicha Green Tea , Organic China Green Tea, Organic Peppermint, Organic Chamomile, Organic Organic Rooibos, Organic Berry Burst, Organic Chocolate Rooibos Mint, And Organic White.

 

How to make loose leaf tea

The perfect cup of tea: To fully appreciate the subtleties of fine leaf tea, it is worth taking the time to make it properly. Use a warmed tea pot and add one teaspoon of tea per person and one for the pot. Add freshly boiled water and infuse for a full 5 minutes. Pour into your favourite cup, and enjoy with milk, if you prefer.

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Do you prefer loose tea leaves or tea bags?

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Don't do this

Never steep tea in an aluminum pot as the acids in the tea will leach aluminum into your tea. Ceramic, glass and stainless steel pots are recommended.

Healthy powdered green tea - no bag, no steeping, nothing to throw away - No withdrawal symptoms - a little goes a long way

DoMatcha - Ceremonial Tin Organic, 1 oz
DoMatcha - Ceremonial Tin Organic, 1 oz

This Matcha powdered green tea is made of crushed high-quality green tea leaves just like the ancient traditional ceremonial tea.

There is nothing to infuse and throw away when making your hot tea. Simply add to your cup, add boiling water, stir and enjoy. You will feel uplifted, calm, alert, and your body more supple and alive after drinking this healthy matcha tea without any withdrawals.

 

How I celebrated National Hot Tea Month in January

1. Birthday lunch at a real historic Victorian Tea Shop - No, I did not raise my little pinky

Tyme for Tea & Co. is a charming and authentic Victorian Tea Shop located in the historic district of Niles in Fremont, California. My famiy took me here for my January birthday lunch. I had my favorite Earl Grey tea and a tiered serving tray filled with tea sandwiches, appetizers, scones and assorted petit fours. All the authentic Victorian tea cups and teapots did not match each other which added character to the table setting.

Visit Tyme for Tea & Co. here

2. Visited a real tea shop in the neighborhood - A first-hand 101 Tea Training

A very nice lady at a local tea store ( 101 Tea Plantation) invited me to try their organic green tea leaves from Taiwan, harvested at high elevations in the mountains. She put some loose leaves into a small glass bowl, poured boiling water into it, closed the lid and poured out the tea. This was to "awaken" the leaves. The second time, hot water was poured over the "awakened" tea leaves in the small bowl to infuse for not more than 30 seconds. This was then poured into my small tea cup to slowly sip and enjoy. She did this process five more times, and every time, the tea turned greener, but not bitter.

The loose tea leaves can be infused up to 6 times and served before losing its potency and flavor. I left the store with 1/4 lb. of Pearl Orchid Green Tea which I will enjoy for the rest of National Hot Tea Month in January.

Visit 101 Tea Plantation Website

What I bought - Loose green tea leaves from 101 Tea Plantation Shop

What I bought - Loose green tea leaves from 101 Tea Plantation Shop
What I bought - Loose green tea leaves from 101 Tea Plantation Shop

3. I bought a vintage Somayaki tea set from eBay - A piece of art in itself with over 300 years of traditonal craftmanship

The cups are individually handcrafted and no two are alike. This gives this vintage teapot set character. This is a treasure that is not only beautiful to behold but will keep my tea hot and an enjoyable experience.

Happy National Hot Tea Month to all.

Was this lens your cup of tea? - How will you celebrate National Hot Tea Month?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I drank tea from my Somayaki cup while reading this article.

      The tea was HOT but my fingers stayed cool.

      These are great cups and another great Lens from "Bakerwoman"!

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Nice lens:)

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Lots of good information here! I drink tea all the time, and keeping it hot is a big problem, since I live in Shanghai, and we don't have central heating. Brrr. Thanks for this!h

    • profile image

      Li-Li-ThePinkBookworm 4 years ago

      I loved how you celebrated the month. I would love to visit a tea shop. You covered a lot of information about tea very well. Keep up the great work!

      Li Li

    • knitstricken profile image

      knitstricken 4 years ago

      This lens is indeed my cup of tea! Thank you!

    • melmik profile image

      melmik 4 years ago

      Beautiful lens! I love tea and these tea pots and cups are absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

    • Jukebox LM profile image

      Jukebox LM 4 years ago

      I'm a tea fan, black or green will do nicely as long as it's hot.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      These tea cups are pretty, I love to drink hot tea all the time.

    • jlshernandez profile image
      Author

      jlshernandez 4 years ago

      @aesta1: It's chilly around here this time of the year and a cup of hot tea will do you good.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wonderful...you made me want to make some.