I love my Yixing teapots.
Mind you, I only have a few (seven at last count). These teapots don’t come cheap, and I live on a modest budget. Yet for many types of tea, there is simply nothing better than Yixing brewing. The hot, seasoned clay can produces a rich flavor that I’ve not been able to duplicate with other brewing vessels.
These teapots are made from unglazed clay. The lack of glazing allows both the inside and the outside of the teapot to absorb the tea. The outside eventually takes on a lovely patina while the inside becomes seasoned with the tea. This is why Yixing teapots should only be used with one type of tea: The seasoning of the teapot contributes to the flavor of the tea brewed within.
Mind you, not all types of tea are suitable for Yixing brewing. According to the proprietor of my favorite Chinese teashop, green and white teas shouldn’t be brewed in Yixing because these teas require cooler water, and the thick clay of Yixing holds in heat all too well. Most black teas, on the other hand, brew up superbly in Yixing, as does pu’erh. I’ve also been known to brew up a beautiful Ti Kuan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) in Bizzy, my teapot dedicated to that wonderful oolong.
In case you are wondering: No, I don’t name all of my teaware, just my Yixing pots. Because I need to remember which tea goes into which pot, most of my teapot names are mnemonic. For example, Bizzy is short for Bismuth, a heavy metal that is also relatively non-toxic. I picked the name because my friends often commented that “Iron Goddess of Mercy” sounded like a heavy metal band.
(Bismuth=Heavy Metal get it?)
Not all of the teapot names are associated with their corresponding teas, however. My most costly teapot, for example, is shaped like a pig. I naturally named him bacon, though his primary job is to brew Yunnan golds, and I prefer to drink Yunnan teas with chorizo.
(Bacon goes better with Keemun.)
I hope to build my collection of Yixing teapots over time so that I can enjoy even more of my favorite teas in these marvelous little vessels. Do you own any Yixing teaware? I’d love to hear about it!
Don’t miss Lainie’s tea tastings on her blog Lainie Sips!
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