There are many ways to enjoy your tea at home, but we are more used to enjoying it in teacups. However, in some regions (especially Asia), tea bowls are used quite a lot. This happens because they usually drink tea by “hugging” the bowl with both hands, almost as part of their ritual. If we follow a strict protocol, the tea bowl should be held in the palm of the left hand and gently grasped with the right hand.
Tea bowls are a piece that can be purchased separately or integrated into a tea set (usually oriental style). They are certainly not to be found in just any shop, although they can be found in specialised establishments. Luckily, we can always go to Amazon if we want to get some for our collection:
Nowadays, less attention is paid to these details, but in Japan (where the tea ceremony is a ritual), shallow bowls are often used for the summer, as the tea cools down more quickly in them. Deeper bowls, which retain the heat of the brew better, are usually left for the winter.
And by the way, although we may be shocked by today’s industrial assembly line production, handmade tea bowls with imperfections and jagged edges were often seen in the past.
Ceramic tea bowls
Ceramic tea bowls are the most common and the ones you will find in any shop. If you buy a tea set (the complete set), it will most likely also be made of this material. Ceramic tea bowls come in a wide variety of styles: plain, ornate, decorated with gold leaf; some are so beautiful that it is even embarrassing to serve tea and then have to wash them. It is not for nothing that in many homes, you will see a set of ceramic tea bowls displayed as an ornament in a glass cabinet or on a shelf.
Japanese Matcha tea bowls
Japanese matcha tea bowls are a classic in this sector; why for this type of tea and not for others? Simply because Matcha tea is typically Japanese and tea bowls are much more commonly used in Japan (and China) than in the West. This does not mean, of course, that we cannot enjoy any other type of tea or herbal tea in a bowl. It is simply that Matcha is very much associated with drinking it from a bowl.
As you can see, the Matcha tea bowls are made of ceramic and all have the same shape. They are designed to make it as easy as possible to brew and mix Matcha tea, an infusion that has a very peculiar and different method of preparation: you have to mix or whisk it using a specific bamboo instrument for this purpose.
If you try to make Matcha tea in a normal tea bowl, let alone in a cup, it will be impossible to mix it properly.
Wooden tea bowls
Tea bowls are usually made of ceramic, especially Japanese tea bowls. But there is a less common variant that is very attractive and, above all, elegant: wooden tea bowls. The only drawback is that they are difficult to combine with a traditional tea set, but if you enjoy your tea occasionally, they are a great addition. Take a look at these options to convince yourself:
Anthracite tea bowls
Anthracite tea bowls are distinguished by their black colour. It is not as common material like ceramic or porcelain, but it is also typical for these pieces (bowls). For example, it is much more difficult to find anthracite tea bowls.
Some of these anthracite tea bowls are decorated with floral motifs, which is also very common in Japanese culture.
Chinese tea bowls
Chinese tea bowls are different from Japanese tea bowls, especially in their design (not so much in size). We can see at a glance that Chinese tea bowls are much more elaborate and ornate in their ornamentation than the generally simpler Japanese ones.