The rough surface of our unglazed cup has microscopic pockets, or holes, that trap extra molecules of oxygen . This is called nucleation. Nucleation brings out the flavor and aroma compounds of coffee, tea, wine, spirits, etc. so they are more available to our taste and smell.

Try a taste test with your new vessel. Pour your liquid of choice in a regular transparent glass, then pour some into the unglazed pottery.

Taste the glass, then the pottery, and then the glass again. Notice the difference.

A cup of tea or wine contains many flavor and aroma compounds including phenols, amino acids, and minerals. In a high-fired unglazed ceramic cup, the inside of the cup has a rougher surface than the inside of a glass or glazed ceramic cup. This roughness adds additional oxygen from the nucleation and breaks up these flavor compounds into smaller bits.

Think of cooking with garlic. If you throw a whole garlic clove into a dish you’re cooking, you’ll get a certain amount of garlic flavor. If you mince that same garlic clove into little pieces and add that to the dish, you’ll get more garlic flavor because there is more surface area for the garlic to interact with oxygen, with other components in the food, and with your nose and mouth.

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