Ancient Cookware

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Home CUPS AND PITCHERS Black Clay, La Chamba Pre-Colombian Style Tea Pot

Black Clay, La Chamba Pre-Colombian Style Tea Pot

Pre-Colombian Style Tea Pot
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Black Clay, La Chamba Pre-Colombian Style Tea Pot
1.5 qt
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Pre-Colombian Style Tea Pot
Pre-Colombian Style Tea Pot
Pre-Colombian Style Tea Pot
Pre-Colombian Style Tea Pot
Pre-Colombian Style Tea Pot

  • About the piece

  • Care and Use

  • Curing

  • Recipes

Similar to the pots used by Meso-American People, our Pre-Columbian Style Tea Pot, or Alcarraza, is a beautiful addition to any La Chamba collection. Originally these pots were actually used to keep liquids cool. Their design caused the liquids to slowly seep through the clay and slowly evaporated when they were hung in cool drafty shaded spots. The evaporation would actually lower the temperature of the Alcarraza and therefore its contents.

Today, it can be used not only to serve cools liquids, but also for making or serving coffee or tea, and makes an impressive presentation.

Item Number: COL-7039-08
Dimensions (inches):  
Length: 8.5
Width: 7.75
Height: 10
Capacity: 1.5 qt
How we measure


About Black Clay, La Chamba, Cookware

Black Clay, La Chamba Cookware, is well-known and used throughout Colombia in restaurants and homes for preparing and serving traditional dishes such as Ajiaco. Its origins can be traced back at least 700 years to vases and pitchers found in pre-Columbian archaeological sites. It is still made in the traditional manner, by families in a small village on the banks of the Magdalena River in Central Colombia. The pieces heat very evenly and retain heat for a long period and can be used in the oven, the microwave or on a gas or electric stovetop. They can go directly to the table for a sophisticated presentation.

Because the pieces are unglazed, they are completely natural and safe and contain no toxins or lead. The porous nature of the unglazed clay allows the slow evaporation of steam resulting in using less liquids and fats while cooking which that produces food that is healthier and tastier!


Black Clay Cookware is not only beautiful, but it is also quite sturdy and will last many years with proper use and care. Serving pieces like these can even be used to cook in for such applications as heating a dish, or serving au gratin dishes. They can be used in the oven, the microwave or a stovetop, and can go directly to the table for a sophisticated presentation. The pieces can be used directly on a gas or electric range, however, it is recommended to use a heat diffuser to prevent discoloration from the heat (sold separately).

The pieces must not be submitted to drastic changes in temperature. The pieces should be allowed to adjust slowly to heat, letting them slowly heat up until they are hot, either on the stove or in the oven. Likewise, you should also allow the pieces to adjust to room temperature before washing or storing them, and never sit a hot pot on a cold surface such as granite or tile.

The pieces retain heat for a long period of time, so be careful in handling a hot plate or other item. The video to the right shows a pot which has been brought to the table, yet keeps bubbling for quite some time without any heat source.

For cleaning, avoid using the dishwasher, hand washing is recommended. After each use, fill with warm, soapy water, allowing to soak briefly if heavily soiled, then scrubbing lightly with a sponge or soft cloth.

Do not use metal or abrasive pads as they may scratch the surface and avoid strongly scented soaps which can flavor the clay. Use wooden utensils with the pieces as metal utensils can scratch and damage the inside.


As with most handmade products by artisans around the world, the pieces may have slight imperfections in the form or finish of the materials. Sometimes sizes of same model pieces may also vary slightly, however, these imperfection do not compromise the aesthetics or functionality of the pieces and are considered normal and to be expected. Likewise, although lids are made individually to match each pot, they do not always fit perfectly as the two parts may shrink differently during the firing process.

If subjected to direct heat, you may observe that your pieces may change in color on the bottom where there is direct contact with heat. Although this is normal and does not affect the pieces in any way. it is better to avoid direct heat to prevent the discoloration on serving pieces.

Normally before a La Chamba Piece is used for cooking the first time; it should be “cured” to seal the pores. The sealing process really only needs to be done on cooking pots and not on plates, bowls, and other serveware, but for your information, below is the process used to cure a La Chamba piece.

Every culture has different methods of sealing and curing their clay cookware. The video to the right shows the most traditional method used in Colombia which is to warm the clay piece slightly, then thoroughly rub the inside with a ripe plantain (a regular banana will do), leaving a thick coating on the clay. After drying for a bit, the piece can then be lightly washed to remove the residue.

The sealing can also be done with almost any oil, or even as easily as filling the piece with a mixture of milk and water and boiling it for a few minutes. During the boiling, some seepage may occur which is quite normal, however, the boiling action will eventually seal the pores.

You can also cure the piece by sautéing some onions or garlic in the oil of your choice, making sure to wipe the oil up the sides of the piece with a paper towel using tongs.

Colombian Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate is quite traditional in Colombia, especially in the colder mountain regions. Traditionally, the chocolate is made according to each family’s recipe and beaten with a wooden molinillo until it is frothy.


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Home CUPS AND PITCHERS Black Clay, La Chamba Pre-Colombian Style Tea Pot