The word ‘caddy’ is derived from the traditional Chinese Mandarin unit of weight ‘catty”, approximately equal to the English 1 ¼ lb (metric 630g).
The term first came to Europe and the rest of the Western world when the Far East tea and spice trade increased in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Traditional ginger urns were used to convey many of these exotic and new products to the West, including tea. These urns contained 1 ‘catty’ of ginger.
The original caddys were of porcelain with lids or stoppers and were decorated in a traditional Chinese fashion with a blue and white willow pattern.
Until the 19th century, they were referred to as ‘tea canisters,” rather than “caddys” in the West.
Artisans started to use other materials and methods to produce airtight containers for tea as the product had to be protected for longer periods, and it would just not do to have a container cost more than the product that it contained.
Many materials were used: wood, pewter, tortoiseshell, brass and other metals. Some were made of solid silver – much prized by collectors today.
The 18th and 19th centuries saw a waning of demand for the porcelain style of caddy due to a change in tastes in the West, with a gradual abandonment of exotic metals. Wood became the material of choice, with a great number of Asian artisans adding their personal touch to these designs.
A variety of natural woods were used, many of which are protected today, due to excessive logging and overuse.
Daokrajai Lanna Fine Teas provides a handsome handmade box containing a selection of teas that not only keeps your tea fresh, but is also a lovely addition to any kitchen or dining room.
We also have a handsome selection of cylindrical caddys which are handmade from mango wood.
Only sustainable resources are used for our caddys, such as mango wood and reclaimed teak and other hardwoods. The reclaimed woods are mainly from older houses and furniture.