Yixing Teapots: What You Need to Know

Yixing teapots are considered by serious tea drinkers to be among the best teapots in the world. This is no accident as in China they have been made according to traditional practices since the fifteenth century.

yixing teapots

A beautiful Yixing teapot with two cups of tea.

About Yixing Teapots

A traditional Yixing teapot is made from particular clay that is found only in the mountains around the Yixing region of China. This special clay is formed into a teapot and left unglazed. Every time it is used, the tea is absorbed into the vessel, making the tea taste better each time. After years of use, the tea, especially if it is good quality, becomes incomparable. The teapot also develops a beautiful sheen from use. Although traditional Yixing teapots were most often simple and plain, they now come in different shapes and designs.

Yixing teapots are smaller than most western teapots because the  oolong, red or puer-eh tea that tea that is usually brewed in them is more concentrated than western tea. Also, the leaves in one pot are usued over and over throughout the day.

Generally, Yixing teapots are usually dedicated to a specific type of tea. Green, yellow and white teas are not the best because the teapot retains too much heat for these teas to perform well. The tea may become bitter.  However, oolong, red and pu-erh work very well. Tea afficianados will only brew one type of tea in one pot so the flavor of the pot will never become confusing.

If you are fortunate enough to possess a Yixing teapot, it is important to look after it properly. For example, it should never be cleaned in a dishwasher or washed with soap. Also, it needs to be rinsed out with water after the last brew of the day. After rinsing, the lid should be kept off until it has thoroughly dried. This is to prevent the formation of mold.

How to Care For a Yixing Teapot

Yixing teapots were once difficult to obtain in the west. Now, however, they are available through specialty store and by mail via sites such as Amazon. Because they are beautiful and because they make wonderful tea, a Yixing teapot can be well worth the price. Do, however, make sure that the teapot you purchase is authentic.

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