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The effects of porcelain and bone china on the taste of tea

[2013.05.08] Posted By

bone china and porcelain

Have you ever wonder whether porcelain and Bone China ware can also affect the taste of tea? In fact, these two materials give different results in both body and aftertaste.

Bone China and Porcelain noticeably changes the taste

Many tea drinkers are aware that clay teapot can alter the taste and flavor of tea. However, very few may pay attention to the effect which porcelain and Bone China also alters the taste of tea. You might think that the differences are marginal. But if we compare both materials side by side, you will be surprised at how noticeable the differences are between Bone China and porcelain. I conducted a tasting experiment using porcelain, Bone China and glass tea cup. I used glass as a control.

The result

  1. After Taste  :porcelain > glass > bone china
  2. Body  :bone China > glass >  porcelain


The bone China clearly increases the body, while the porcelain decreases the body. On the contrary, the porcelain increases the after taste. The glass tea cup gave the body and after taste just in between porcelain and bone China.

We must care about the combination effect

In actual application, you may combine tea cup with various types of teapot or even tetsubin to obtain the desired taste. If you are using Nanbu tetsubin (cast iron kettle) or a good natural clay teapot for brewing tea, these tea wares will increase the aftertaste of tea. These materials contain iron ions that can change the taste of water. When I make tea using these tea wares, I prefer to use a Bone China cup to serve the tea. Nanbu tetsubin and natural clay teapot enhances the after taste while Bone China enhances the body. Using this combination, I can enjoy tea with both stronger body and aftertaste.

bone china and porcelain

Why can Bone China increase the body of tea?

In my humble opinion, Bone China can increase the body of tea because of calcium added during its making process. According to the tradition, cow bone ashes were added into Bone China during the production. That is why it was referred as “Bone” China. Today, animal bone ashes are very seldom used in the production of Bone China. Instead of using cow bone ashes, the producers add in 30% (or more) calcium phosphate Ca3(PO4)2 .

In my understanding, the presence of calcium increases the body of water and tea. If you are familiar with Bone China ware, you will know that the surface of bone China is usually glazed with glass. During the glazing process, some calcium could be eluted into the glazing layer. As a result, the body of tea will be enhanced when we use a Bone China.

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