We have created these amazing kettle and stove sets out of genuine Zisha clay, which will get better with every use if you use fine-quality water. Every detail of these kettle sets has been designed by Wu De with pure tradition and function in mind.
Tradition: these sets are modeled after the design of Mulberry Creek white-clay stoves from Chaozhou, which are one of the Four Treasures of gongfu tea. Antique white-clay stoves are hard to find and are very fragile cracking at the slightest touch easily, and the modern examples aren’t made from the same clay. The old ones were underfired due to the composition of the natural, white river clay from Mulberry Creek. Modern craftsmen do not know where that place is any longer and use many kinds of white clay to create their stoves. Often, the underfiring leaves an earthy taste behind that is not suitable for many teas, especially light ones. Yixing has a much better effect on water, creating smooth, round and bright water, so it was an obvious choice. The best gongfu water is boiled on charcoal and then transferred to Yixing.
Function: Wu De wanted the shape to be as close as possible to the traditional kettles with cannon spouts that allow for greater control of distance and speed of pour. Through experimentation with many handles, he also insisted that the handles be made of clay, for better stability and control, as detachable bamboo or metal handles wobble and are less steady. He also moved the carb hole to the back behind the handle, which solves two issues: first, one problem with clay handles is that they can conduct heat and if the carb was on the lid, steam may make the handle too hot to handle, so having the hole in the back prevents this. Secondly, this actually improves the smoothness of the pour, making for greater control over the stream, since there is greater air pressure behind each pore.
He designed the stove to be very functional as well. One of the problems with traditional Mulberry creek stoves, as well as many modern stoves, is that the kettle often smothers the alcohol flam if the kettle and stove are both flat. Wu tried many solutions and found that the best was to cut square holes in the surface of the stove’s rim, much like the turrets of a castle, allowing airflow from the hole at the bottom of the brazier and through the top as well.
The brazier splits in half, so you can use a taller or shorter version of your alcohol stove depending on the chaxi you choose, though the bottom half doesn’t have turrets for good air flow. There is a hemp wrap around the upper portion so you can move the whole stove, or release the top when it is hot.
We are including two alcohol burners, one glass and one tin. The glass one is amongst the highest quality we could find. It has a porcelain top and is made of thicker Japanese glass. It fits inside the top and bottom part of the burner. The tin alcohol burner is cheaper, but it travels really well and we suspect some of you who travel to make to, or make lots of outdoor tea, may even use this with your other kettles. It only fits in the upper burner, as it is bigger, but has a strong flame and is durable.
Technically, the stove is designed with a basket for charcoal, as it is based on old-school Chaozhou stoves, but Yixing conducts heat very well and there is a good chance your stove will crack if you use charcoal. This is meant as an alcohol stove only. If you are going to use coals, only put them in the center of the upper well and only a very small amount that does not get the sides hot or the stove may crack and the hemp roast! We cannot be responsible if it cracks! This stove is only for maintaining heat, not for boiling water! Also, the kettle works best on a small amount of charcoal or alcohol. You cannot use it on gas or an electric stove, and if you want to be safe, only use it on alcohol!
You may wonder why we chose Yixing zisha for the stove at all since it cannot be used for charcoal and alcohol both and another kind of ceramic or even metal could. One reason is aesthetic, to have uniformity in the set. The other is that the material the kettle is touching will actually influence the water subtly, and zisha on zisha is smoother. Once you compare the water from this kettle, made from forty-year-old Yixing zisha clay, you will understand why we chose it!
The entire set of stove and kettle comes in a custom wooden box that Wu De has hand-painted with a bit of calligraphy. They are all handmade and so will have minor differences as a result.
Each set is a minimum donation of $300 + a flat shipping fee of $70, which means we can wrap it up extra safe and make sure it reaches anywhere in the world it is headed without a problem. There are only 100 of these magical sets in the world and each is numbered.