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Seasoning of Yixing teapots

30 August 2009

at 9:01 by Seb

Yixing teapots

Unlike teapots of porcelain and glazed ceramics, glass, cast iron or stainless steel, Yixing clay teapots are the only ones which are seasoned, which will “remember” the aromas and flavors of teas they have infused. We therefore reserve one family of tea for each of these tea pots, or even one tea for the purists. Limiting maybe? Perhaps, especially if you have not found your favorite, or your favorite types, of tea. Though, if this use has the disadvantage of not providing the possibility to vary the teas brewed, its great, and significant, advantage is that our tool of infusion will make a valuable improvement with time and repeated infusions. A unique relationship forms between us and our teapot, growing along with our discoveries in the world of tea …

Signs of a seasoned Yixing teapot

Signs of a seasoned Yixing teapot

The clay is particularly porous, that is why they have the ability to season. But that’s not all: they are also rich in iron, giving them the capacity to maintain a high temperature during and after the infusion. Pu Er and black oolong teas (which require a high temperature infusion – close to boiling point) will particularly benefit from teapots made in Yixing clay. They are available in different forms, capacities and colors (depending on the pigments of the clay), prices in our stores range between $ 30 and $ 200 (some of these teapots on the market – made by famous potters, or seasoned by recognized masters – sell for tens of thousands of dollars; truly collectible ‘objets d’art). To begin with it is recommended to make an infusion of the chosen tea which we will not drink (this choice determines the “orientation” of our new brewing partner! ) and to leave this in the pot for several hours as it cools. The clay will be “baptized” by the highly concentrated brew. After this step, and after each following infusion simply scald the pot with boiling water and leave to dry. Remember that, as with all teapots and brewing equipment, soap is not used. Only hot water is used.

I highly recommend the Yixing teapots anyone who particularly likes one family of tea and brews it frequently. I personally have several of these teapots, one for each type of oolong and Pu Er. As for beginners, those who are starting to discover the different families of tea, I suggest starting with a versatile, non-porous tea pot , such as porcelain, ceramic or cast iron … and one day you will know when it comes time to move on to a tea pot “which remembers”!

Yixing teapot - closeup

 
 

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