Yi Xing or ceramic: a fair contest?

October 4, 2011
comments comment comments

Put simply, a teapot with a large enough volume (350 to 500 ml) is good enough for any variety of tea. Next we have the choice of material. Perhaps- a porous brewing vessel (Yi Xing clay), or a more neutral (ceramic). Each has pros and cons:

Yi Xing teapots:

Originally from Yi Xing in China, these teapots are produced from various clays and renowned for their porosity and iron oxide concentration. Yi Xing teapots are not glazed, allowing an interaction between the water and clay and diffusion of some minerals during the infusion, bringing a richer texture to the liquor. Many legends also tell of the slow absorption of aromatic oils into the walls of the teapot; increasingly improving it with successive infusions, enhancing flavors and aromas. For a long time, this type of teapot was recommended almost exclusively for Wulong tea, Pu Er and some black teas, because of the generosity of these tea families to re-infuse and the pervasiveness of their aromas. Yet in a recent tasting with colleagues, we were able to experience the effect of this type of clay on a Chinese green tea and we were all surprised to taste a really excellent result.

To benefit from the effects of the improvement in taste, it is essential to devote this kind of teapot to only one family of tea. It is also necessary to take special care not to forget tea leaves in the teapot for days, mildew can easily seep into the walls, leaving a bitter taste. Soap should naturally be avoided for the same reason.

Now let's look at the other side of the table.

Ceramic teapots:
Ceramic teapots are not porous and do not improve over time, which makes them ideal for infusing all types of tea in the same pot. The neutrality of these teapots is appropriate for more “clinical' tasting, allowing more precise detection of subtle differences of fragrance between two very similar teas.

Both vessels demonstrated their strengths and weaknesses, now it's your turn to decide according to your needs and your approach in the universe of tea. It is definitely worth testing both types of pot to compare the changes produced in the liquor - as much for the texture as the flavor. Everyone's palate is different, only yours can guide you to the drink that will fully satisfy you.

Manuel Legault Roy

Add a comment