How to Select Tea Pet and Enhance Your Tea Ceremony Experience

Tea Pets: Your Companion in Tea Time

A Tea pet, often crafted from Yixing purple clay (Zisha), serves as cute companions during tea sessions and is placed on the tea table. Beyond their decorative appeal, these figurines are believed to bring luck and fortune as they are nurtured with tea, symbolizing a process of self-cultivation.


History of Tea Pets

With roots tracing back to the Yuan Dynasty in 13th century China, tea pets boast a rich historical background. Their significance is essential as aesthetics, as their meanings and placement should be aligned with the principles of Feng Shui.

Crafted from Zisha clay, tea pets are porous and water-absorbent. Ancient tea masters believed that, while the tea pet lacked a soul upon adoption, pouring tea over it would infuse it with a soul. Nourished during Gong Fu tea ceremonies by pouring tea leftovers, tea pets absorb tea's fragrance and color, evolving over time.


Purpose of Tea Pets

Beyond decorative appeal, tea pets symbolize fortune, happiness, and good luck, often shaped into legendary or zodiac animal forms. They also serve a practical purpose, like the popular pee-pee kid, indicating the water's temperature. Pouring hot tea over the pet, a tiny hole allows temperature checking—ideal for avoiding extremely hot brewing water. 


How to Use a Tea Pet

Using a tea pet involves pouring tea over it, covering it entirely. You can use various liquids, such as hot water for teaware warming, tea leaves rinse, or leftover steeped tea. The pet absorbs the tea's color and aroma, showcasing noticeable changes over time. Treating your tea pet with one type of tea enhances its purity, with different teas affecting appearance at varying rates.


Tea Pet Maintenance

Like real pets, tea pets require attention.

  • Regularly pour leftover tea, clean with a tea brush, and occasionally wipe with a soft tea napkin.
  • Rinsing with pure water maintains color and scent, but avoid using dishwashing liquids or cleansers.
  • Consistently using one type of tea contributes to the pet's evolving appearance, with pu-erh, oolong, and black teas offering different effects.
  • Avoid soaking to prevent color dulling, and over time, your tea companion will become glossier and more aromatic through regular care.

What is the meaning of tea pet?

Three-Legged Golden Toad (Lucky Frog Tea Pet)

Also known as "Jin Chan," the three-legged golden toad is associated with wealth as its name means  "money" (Jin Qian) in Chinese.

Golden toads serve not only as decorative elements but are also believed to have the power to ward off evil and attract wealth. The coin clutched in the toad's mouth can be turned, symbolizing the act of "making money." When the toad lacks a coin in its mouth, it means to attract wealth from external sources.

Placement Guidelines:

  • If the lucky frog holds a coin in its mouth, position it facing you. Avoid having its head directly facing the door to prevent leaking the wealth energy.
  • In the absence of a coin in its mouth, align the frog's orientation with yours, signifying its role in attracting wealth towards you.
  • It's advisable to restrict access to outsiders to maintain the spirit's undisturbed state as Golden Toad is a unique creature and prefers not to be handled by individuals other than its owner!

Elephant Tea Pet

  • Elephant tea pets are popular among Chinese tea enthusiasts. In their cultural perspective, the elephant embodies peace, gentleness, intelligence, and strength.

  • The Chinese pronunciation of "elephant" coincides with the word for "auspiciousness," making it a symbol of good fortune. According to Feng Shui beliefs, water signifies wealth, and the elephant's long trunk, capable of absorbing water, further accentuates its association with prosperity.

  • Feng Shui advices to place the elephant in a prosperous location within a home to benefit the entire family. Ideally, it should be positioned in a well-lit area surrounded by green plants. When placing it on a tea table, complement the setting by adding a few green plants nearby.


Qilin (Lion Dragon Tea Pet)

Representing kindness and good luck, the Qilin is a mythical creature with a dragon's head and a combination of lion, ox, or horse features. Placing it on the tea table facing the door or window is recommended.


Maitreya Buddha Tea Pet (Mile Fo)

Mile Fo, or the Maitreya Buddha, symbolizes the Buddha of the Future, bringing happiness and a brighter tomorrow.

The belly of Maitreya Buddha symbolically accommodates everything that ordinary individuals find challenging.

With a perpetual smile, Maitreya Buddha dispels troubles, often depicted in a lying or sitting posture to evoke a sense of tranquility for tea lovers. Opt for a size harmonizing with your tea tray to ensure complementarity, and position the smiling face to greet guests, spreading positive vibes.





Pixiu, known as the ninth son of the dragon, is believed to attract endless fortune and bring tranquility. In ancient tales, the mythical creature Pi Xiu is, notable for having a mouth but no anus. The belief is that it consumes gold, silver, and jewels without excreting them, symbolizing the perpetual accumulation of precious treasures.

 Male Pi Xiu figures are associated with good fortune, while females represent the storage of wealth. When displayed together in pairs, they are seen as a means of attracting fortune and blessings to safeguard the home.

Correct placement involves positioning its head towards an opening, such as a door or window.


Pig Tea Pet

A symbol of good fortune and wealth, the pig tea pet should face a door or window to attract wealth. Its placement, like the lucky frog, depends on whether it's adorned with coins.


Tiger Tea Pet

Associated with strength and courage, the tiger tea pet's placement on the tea table depends on the desired outcome—either for courage and willpower or for protection facing the door. 



Monkey Tea Pet

Different monkey tea pet configurations convey messages of promotion, good luck for generations, or the avoidance of evil. There's no specific placement etiquette.


Turtle Tea Pet

Symbolizing longevity, the turtle tea pet should face the owner. When grandparents visit, ensuring the pet faces them is considered respectful.


Carp Tea Pet

As a symbol of good luck and opportunity, the carp tea pet aligns with the traditional significance of carp in Chinese and Japanese cultures. While there's no specific placement etiquette, having two together is preferable.


Dragon Tea pet

The Chinese dragon tea pet holds rich and varied symbolic meanings in Chinese culture, including:

  • Authority and Prestige: Symbolizing imperial power, the dragon is a representation of authority exclusively used by emperors.
  • Auspiciousness and Happiness: Celebrated through dragon dances and fireworks during festive occasions, the dragon is considered a mascot of good fortune and happiness.
  • Wealth and Prosperity: Linked to water elements, the dragon is associated with wealth and prosperity. In contemporary business, the character "龙" (lóng) phonetically resembles "隆" (lóng), signifying prosperity and success in business.


Cat Tea Pet

In ancient China, cats, believed to possess nine lives, represented immense wealth and vitality. Black cats were thought to ward off evil spirits, deter monsters, and bring good fortune. In contemporary society, cats are commonly associated with gentleness and companionship.


Cow/Buffalo tea pet

In Chinese culture, the cow symbolizes qualities such as diligence, endurance, and honesty. Its strength serves as a metaphor for persistently overcoming obstacles. Having a cow tea pet encourages a commitment to hard work, resilience in the face of challenges, and perseverance on the journey to success. Additionally, it signifies the capacity to make positive changes and enhance one's circumstances.



Throughout history, rabbits have been treasured as symbols of longevity in Chinese culture. Their gentle nature, playful hopping, and adorable charm make them beloved tea pets, symbolizing well-being and a joyful spirit. Rabbits encourage embracing each day fully and maintaining a youthful perspective as life unfolds.



A fish tea pet holds significant auspicious symbolism. In traditional culture, fish is linked to the propitious notion of "abundance year after year," signifying continuous reproduction and growth due to the numerous eggs they lay.

Employing a fish as a tea pet not only attracts good luck but also embodies the perpetual flow of blessings.



@moychaynl Do you know what teapets are? 🐱 #teapets #chinesetea #tea #amsterdamteaclub ♬ fish in the pool・花屋敷 - ヘクとパスカル


Written by Anna Leona
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