The container in which tea is prepared has a significant influence on the taste and consistency of the finished tea. In this post we want to find out if clay has an influence on the taste of tea. For this purpose, we pour our Organic Dong Ding Oolong in parallel in a clay can and a glass can. Will there be a difference?


Dong Ding Oolong Teapot Clay Teapot Tonkanne Teekanne


The experiment is carried out with our Organic Dong Ding Oolong, a roasted tea from Taiwan. Poured into two teapots, which are identical in shape and size. Only the material that the jugs are made of is different. Can number 1 is made of red clay and was made in Taiwan. We are not sure, but we assume that the tone for this jug also comes from Taiwan. Can number 2 was also manufactured by a manufacturer in Taiwan. The jug consists only of neutral glass and not of clay. Ideal conditions to test a tea from Taiwan!

Glass, like porcelain, is considered a neutral material that has little effect on the taste of the teas. Glass is also very heat-permeable. So we can well imagine that the glass can stores the heat worse. Our assumption is therefore that in the glass can the tea will taste milder, as the filled water loses heat more quickly and the tea is therefore less brewed. Conversely, clay stores heat pretty well, which could result in a stronger drink.


Execution of the experiment

In both jugs exactly the same amount of tea is brewed with identical drawing times and water temperatures. We will prepare three infusions from the tea with the following parameters:

  • 1. Infusion: drawing time 40 seconds, water temperature 95 C°
  • 2. Infusion: drawing time 90 seconds, water temperature 90 C°
  • 3. Infusion: drawing time 60 seconds, water temperature 96 C°


Clay and glass jug of identical size and shape

1. Infusion

The first infusion was very surprising. Despite the identical drawing time and the same water temperature, it is immediately noticeable that the tea from the clay can has a lighter cup color. Even when trying, clear differences can be found immediately. The tea from the clay can tastes rounder and more balanced. In addition, the floral flavours are much more intense. The infusion from the glass jug tastes a little sharper and more direct. The deep, dark and sweet aroma, which the tea has formed through its roasting, is much stronger when infusion from the glass jug.


2. Infusion

With the second infusion, we immediately notice a difference in the smell of the leaves. The tea leaves that are now open exude a scent of tropical fruits such as mango or maracuja in the glass jug. In the clay can, on the other hand, a clear aroma of wild berries such as blueberry or raspberry can be perceived. In the taste, a similar aroma profile can be recognized with both infusions as with the 1st infusion. The tea from the clay can is amazingly round and feels super tender on the tongue.

3. Infusion

From the third infusion, the taste slowly becomes milder again. With the tea from the glass jug, a seductive toasted note is noticeable, the texture of the drink is still noticeably creamy and dense. The tea from the clay can is also good with it. Also in the third attempt, the clay can has brewed an infusion which contains balanced flavor notes. Here and there the roasting character of Dong Ding Oolong shines through, but elsewhere fruity notes are also very present. The bottom line is that we are very satisfied with the experiment and we have been able to learn a lot. Time for a conclusion!


Organic Dong Ding Oolong Clay Can Glass Pot

To sum up, …

… the different results of both jugs surprised us. Although we had already expected that there would be differences (otherwise we would hardly have come to carry out this experiment), we would not have thought that the deviations were so clear. We have also learned that the subject of sound is very complex and we know less about it than we thought. You only have to take a look at the countless tea forums of the Internet to find that there are countless opinions, facts and experiences with different keys and jugs.

But how can it be that clay changes the taste of tea? We like to be fact-oriented and have once again set out to find a study. A Taiwanese study in 2017 found that clay cans bind minerals as well as chemical components such as caffeine. The clay reacts with the water and changes its chemical composition. Since there are countless keys, it is probably difficult to give precise general information about how which can affects which tea. In the case of our experiment, however, this would explain why the tea from the clay can was brighter than from the glass can, despite otherwise identical infusion parameters. Although we have already used very soft water for the experiment, it is quite possible that the clay in the teapot has absorbed other minerals and substances from the water. Fewer particles in the water extract fewer substances from the tea leaves, which can explain the lighter cup color and the rounder, softer taste.

Teapot clay clayteapot teapot ton tonkanne red

Does it make sense to use clay teapots?

One thing is clear, the clay jugs are really an eye-catcher! As you know, you can argue about taste, but we find many of the elaborately handcrafted clay cans really pretty. Also the feel and the handling when using the clay cans makes the tea time really special!

But what about the taste? We have been able to see a difference between the glass jug and the good piece of clay. The differences were not world-shattering, but they were clearly perceptible. Depending on which clay the teaware consists of, the jug can also be “seasoned” and take on the taste of a particular tea.

At the end of the day, it probably depends on what kind of tea you like to drink. With dark teas like PuErh or roasted oolong, it certainly makes sense to look for a nice clay can. Even for lovers of the Chinese Gong Fu Cha tea ceremony, such a jug makes perfect sense. The jug can make the tea rounder and improve the drinking experience a whole bit, in which bitter notes are pulled from the tea.

But if you taste a tea for the first time, it is still advisable to use neutral teaware made of glass or porcelain in order to get as objective an impression of the tea as possible.

Fill the jugs! With tea from Friends of Tea!

You still need tea to fill your pots? We got you covered! In our online shop on you will find numerous high-quality, sustainably grown teas. We look forward to your visit!

Got the taste?

A few oolong teas for your clay cans!


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