Yixing pottery has been dated as far back as 4,500 years ago! The first teapot was invented in the early 16th century during China’s Ming dynasty. A monk at a nearby temple created the first teapot, then a potter, Gong Chun (known as the father of the Yixing teapot) further perfected it. The detailed process for making these exquisite teapots begins with creating the perfect clay.
The clay is first dug from an ancient site in Yixing, China. Next, it is dried and pounded into a fine powder, then sifted through bamboo to remove any impurities. The clay powder is mixed with pure water and worked back into a solid clay, then it is left in the sun to dry. The purified clay is cut into blocks and sold to the potters. The potters mix the clay with more water and pound it with heavy wooden mallets until it reaches the perfect smooth, dense consistency. Finally, the clay is ready for the artistic inspiration of the potter. The clay is masterfully shaped by hand into a pot and then fired. Yixing clay teapots are not only exquisite works of art, they are considered, by the Chinese, to be the best for brewing their finest whole leaf teas. Each teapot is the perfect embodiment of beauty and function. Every time tea is infused in the pot, the essential oils from the tea leaves impart their essence into the porous clay. This gives a beautiful sheen to the outside of the pot, while enhancing the flavors inside of it. With each infusion, the exquisite patina increases, and your teapot becomes more valuable!
How To Care For Your Yixing Clay
Because the clay is porous, never wash your pot with soap, you may not be able to rinse the soap out!
You can clean your pot by removing the tea leaves and rinsing your pot with hot water. Thoroughly, air dry the pot…Do not put it away damp or it could develop a musty aroma. To increase the patina and even out the residue buildup, rub the pot with a soft microfiber cloth that has been dipped into tea.
How To Brew Tea In Your Yixing Pot
1. Use fresh water… Spring water is best, filtered water is ok. Distilled water is devoid of minerals and will generally leave the tea
tasting flat. Tap water is best avoided, as the chemicals used to treat it can leave unpleasant residues on your teaware.
2.Heat the water…
For the delicate loose leaf White and Green teas, use 160-175 degree water;
For Pouchong and Light Oolongs, use 175-185 degree water;
For Dark Oolongs and Black teas, use 185-200 degree water; and
For Pu-erh, heat the water to a full rolling boil.
We recommend using only one type of tea per Yixing pot.
3. Rinse the teapot and cups with the hot water to clean, warm, and purify them.
4. Add the tea leaves to the pot…Use approximately 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon per cup of water.
5. Give the leaves a quick rinse with the hot water to rinse off any dust or impurities…
Breathe in the lovely aroma to prepare your palate for the tea.
6. Add the water to the tea leaves and infuse for 30-60 seconds….
This is a nice time to infuse your tea with a blessing.
7. Pour the tea into cups or a holding vessel… Inhale the tea’s aroma and enjoy the first infusion… Savor its unique flavor and after taste.
8. Add water to the same tea leaves and increase the infusion time by 15 to 30 seconds for each infusion… If the tea is bitter, it was steeped too long (or you used too much); if it is too weak, steep it longer…
Keep the leaves moist between steepings, don’t let them dry out.
The number of steepings you can get from the leaves will depend on the quality and type of the tea.
9. Enjoy, and taste the subtle difference in the taste as the tea leaves unfurl.
As you gain experience, you will develop a feel for brewing the perfect tea!