Care and Use of Yixing Ware Teapots
Classic Ming Teapot, ceramic (1994); height 10cm, width 9.5cm
With use, Yixing teapots develop a rich patina enhancing the taste, color, and aroma of fine tea. The more you use your teapot, the better it gets. The teapot’s appearance will change with age and use; its surface will become more glossy and the color will intensify.
pot should never be used for more than one type of tea, lest the flavor be compromised. A new teapot, since it is unglazed, is considered raw. To prepare your teapot for use, first inspect the pot’s interior bottom for any remaining sandy residue that may not have been removed after manufacture, and rinse it out. Second, the cleaned pot must be cured prior to using it for preparing tea. The classic curing method requires many extended infusions of the same type of tea that is destined for use in the pot. Brew at least three or four separate pots of tea, allowing the curing infusion to remain in the pot for no more than one-half hour before discarding the infusion. This process removes the clay taste from the new pot. Oils from the tea leaves fill in the pores of the fired clay. If the pot has been selected for a particularly high quality grade of tea, it is important to avoid curing it with a lower grade. The surface of a new pot quickly absorbs flavor characteristics, and a low quality tea may permanently affect the pot’s performance.
To ensure a progressive increase in the flavor and fragrance of future infusions of your favorite tea, never scour the inside of the pot. The clay surface absorbs the taste and aroma of tea over time and amplifies it with subsequent use. Over time a layer of tea sediment forms, and with subsequent use one is brewing tea within tea. Following each use, the pot should be emptied of leaves, flushed with cold water and placed in an inverted position to drain until dry. Soaps, cleansers, or other substances should never come into contact with the pot, nor should the pot’s interior or exterior surfaces be toweled.
To pre-heat the pot for tea drinking, first fill with hot water and drain. Place one teaspoon of loose tea (enough for two or three refills) into the pre-heated pot, then fill with boiling water. Let it steep for about one minute and enjoy. The quality of your tea infusions and the beauty of your teapot will only increase with use.