Sunday, April 22, 2018
If you are using a Yixing teapot for brewing your Chinese tea, I am sure you felt that your tea tasted better brewing with a Yixing teapot than a porcelain gaiwan or teapot.
There are a few reasons why the tea seem to taste better
- frequent using of a clay teapot will have a coating of tea patina inside the pot. It is like a layer of tea being brushed on the inside of the teapot every time the teapot is used in a tea session. Somehow, the patina will affect and improve the taste of your tea.
- it is possible that Yixing clay retains heat better than other material (like porcelain or glass) and the difference in taste and aroma of the tea could be due to the warmer or hotter tea.
- there are many other possible reasons and it could be even a combination of factors that could explain the improvement of your tea.
But.....you have to maintain your teapot to continue having similar good tasting tea. Another important reason is that your teapot would look nice and shiny and 'seasoned' over time. Some of the factors listed below may be already practised by you. Others may be unheard of and even eye opening. I had collated and listed below a few of these 'practices' from observing how my teapot friends maintain their teapots.
1. Dedicate a teapot to a type of tea. Use a teapot for pu erh and and another for oolong. Some teapots might have retained the aroma or flavour for the tea from a previous tea session. Chinese tea drinking purists think that the appreciation of a tea, say oolong, would be more accurate and precise. Many of my Chinese teapot user friends even dedicate teapots exclusively for raw or shou pu erh, heavy and light roast oolong, floral Taiwanese oolong, Liu Bao and Liu An tea. For me, my pu erh teapots are used for both raw or ripe pu erh and my oolong teapots are for types of oolongs (light or heavy roast).
2. Wiping down your teapot after use. Do this method only to the exterior of the teapot. The teapot on the right of pix.....I wipe down the teapot after every tea session. I would wash the teapot for a minute under a running tap and take a cloth to wipe and dry the exterior of a teapot for another minute. I would than place the teapot (upside down) and on dish drainer and keeping away the teapot the next day. Teapot users believe that wiping down a teapot would give an even sheen to the exterior of the teapot. The teapot on the left of pix, was not wipe down at all after the teapot was washed. This teapot was originally more 'light yellow' in colour but has now, as you had noticed, changed to a more dark amber look to the teapot. I have used the teapot on the right for more than 500 tea sessions while the teapot on the left of pix went through about 250 tea sessions.
3. I believe that your teapot must be dry and clean before using it for a tea session. If the teapot is still damp and not dried out completely from a previous tea session, the tea may taste and smell different. One Malaysian tea friend dries his teapot using the following method; he washed the teapot after use, but then filled the teapot with hot boiling water and leaving it for 1 minute before emptying out the hot water. I do noticed that the 'heated' teapot will help dry out the inside of the teapot much faster.
4. A Guangzhou teapot user, utilised a toothbrush to lightly brush the exterior of the teapot after use. He claimed there are certain areas of a teapot that will be more 'stained' and brushing these areas would even out the staining and make the teapot more pretty.
5. Another common practice I observed was using the 1st or 2nd rinse of the tea and pouring this rinse over the teapot. Many users believed this 'help' make the exterior of the teapot more seasoned in its appearance.
There are many methods teapot users employ to maintain their teapot or to seasoned their teapot. Do you use any interesting technique on your teapots? Do share. Thank you.