The Tea Detective
Uncovering and Exploring the Facts About Tea
How to Clean and Season Your New
Yixing Teapot
Chosen for their beauty, practicality, and endurance, Yixing teapots have been
the choice of tea connoisseurs for centuries.  The zisha or purple clay used to
make Yixing teapots is very porous and the fired clay contains tiny air pockets
that provide insulation to help keep the
brewed tea hot.  The inside of the pot
is not glazed and with regular use it will develop a rich patina and seasoning,
further enhancing the full flavor and aroma of a fine quality tea.
Before you can enjoy brewing your favorite
tea in your new
Yixing teapot, you will need
to clean the fine layer of wax that is
sometimes applied during manufacturing,
and then season it with the
type of tea you
intend to brew in it. (Remember: it's impor-
tant to use only one type of tea in your
Yixing tea-
pot, such as
black, green, oolong, etc., and
never brew
flavored teas, scented, or
blended teas in it).

You will find that after brewing the same
kind of tea in your pot for many years you
will eventually be able to add only water to
your Yixing teapot and the flavor, aroma,
and taste of your chosen tea will come
through without adding any tea leaves.
Follow these easy steps to clean, sterilize, and season your new Yixing
teapot.

1.  Place a terry cloth or linen dish towel in the bottom of a large, heavy pan, and put the teapot
on one side and the lid on the other (be sure they aren't touching).  Cover both teapot
and lid completely with cold water.

2.  Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to
medium-low and continue to simmer for about
30 minutes.  This step removes any wax and
also sterilizes the teapot.

3.  Carefully remove the pot and lid from the
water and let them cool completely.

4.  Next you will season your Yixing teapot
with the type of tea you intend to brew in it.
Brew a strong pot of tea by placing either
four
tea bags or four teaspoons of loose tea
leaves in pot.  Fill the teapot with boiling
water.  Put lid on teapot and let steep until
tea and pot are cool.

          5.  Empty the teapot, discard tea bags or tea leaves, rinse with water and repeat step 4
          again, steeping tea until pot and tea are once again cool, then discard tea and tea
          leaves or tea bags.  (If you hate the idea of wasting all that brewed tea and leaves you
          can feed both to your plants:)                            

                                             6.  Rinse pot with cool water and allow to completely air dry with-
                                             out the lid after every use.  If the pot isn't completely dry and the
                                             lid is replaced too soon, mold may begin to form inside the
teapot.

                                             You should never use dish soap to clean your Yixing teapot or
                                             place it in the dishwasher - just rinse with warm or cool water and
                                             let air dry completely.

                                             Most handmade Yixing teapots are rubbed with a piece of water
                                             buffalo horn to smooth and burnish the inner and outer surface,
                                             and with daily use your teapot will eventually get a fine patina.

          By following these few simple steps and with careful use and handling, your Yixing
          teapot can last a lifetime.  
Enjoy.
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