Lovers of authentic Chinese tea will want to brew their tea in Yixing teapots. These pots are made from special red clay called Zisha, which is only found in China’s Yixing area. The pots are not glazed allowing them to absorb the rich flavors of the tea as they are used.
For the best flavor, each teapot should be used for only one type of tea. According to tradition, it is possible to brew tea in one of these pots after many years without the addition of any more tea leaves.
While the clay used is reddish in color, the teapots may be found in a wide variety of colors, ranging from grey to red-brown to light brown. Pots are crafted by individual artists who add their chop or signature to the bottom of the pot before firing. While the pots make a beautiful display, they are mainly made for their functions as a teapot – brewing teas.
Owners of Yixing teapots that want to use the pot will first need to season it. The traditional method takes a couple of days, but an easier method, presented first here allows the pot to begin the seasoning process in only twenty minutes.
The 20 minute method: Allow the teapot that has been filled with boiling water to stand for 10 minutes. Drain the water and add a teaspoon of the tea that the pot will be used to brew. Fill again with boiling water and allow sitting for 10 minutes before draining. The pot is now ready to use.
The traditional method: Immerse the pot and lid in a large pan filled with water. Add tea leaves and slowly heat to a boil. Avoid rapid boiling as this could crack the teapot. Allow to boil slowly for an hour. Remove the larger vessel from the heat ad leave the parts of the teapot in the liquid for a full twenty-four hours. Remove and rinse the teapot. Return to the larger pot and boil for and additional hour. Remove from heat and leave for another twenty-four hours. After rinsing, the pot is ready for use.