TEAPOT SEASONING

Teapot seasoning is a term that the tea connoisseurs have concocted to describe the process of a dull and coarse teapot being transformed into a refined and polished teapot. The element that brings forth the transformation is frequent tea infusions. When a clay teapot is used to infuse tea, the teapot's body becomes seasoned; in other words, the teapot acquires the taste of that specific tea in its clay body. Each time you infuse tea, the teapot receives its own facial treatment.

Although the term is generally referred to clay teapots made from Yixing and Taiwan regions, it is possible to season other teapots as well as long as the body material is porous. By seasoning a teapot, the body of the teapot will absorb and accumulate the flavors of the tea. Since a used teapot has absorbed the liquor of the tea over long periods of usages, the pores have become adapted to that specific tea's flavors. An aged teapot can bring out the optimal characteristics of the tea's flavors to the fullest extent. For this reason, used teapots are desirable to teapot collectors.

   

 

Since a seasoned teapot can bring out the best flavors of a tea, many avid tea drinkers season their teapots diligently. There are many seasoning methods available but all teapot owners agree on one thing: designate your collection of teapots for specific teas. Do not use the same clay teapot for brewing puerh teas to brew oolong teas. Crossing teas of vastly different tastes are strongly discouraged because the flavors will clash.

We prefer the most natural way of teapot seasoning. When a new teapot is brought home, rinse it with warm water first. Make sure you never use detergent to clean porous teapots. After that, you may empty the water and pour hot water into the teapot and over the teapot. Empty. Then pour cold water into the teapot and over the teapot. Repeat the steps by alternating the pouring of hot and cold water. Then use it to brew tea. After the tea making process is completed, take out the infused leaf. While the teapot is still warm and its pores are opened, pour warm tea liquor over the teapot. Take a dry and clean cotton towel (or brush) and gently buff the wet surface. If the smell of the new clay is so strong that it interferes with the tea's flavors, then use it as a tea pitcher for a while. Frequent usage will get rid of the new clay smell.

Another method is to place the new teapot in a large pot and simmer it with just water. Bring it to a low boil for some time (like half hour). Let it cool down and then remove. Change water and simmer it again with tea water. Again bring it to a low boil. Let it cool down. Then remove. We are not strong advocate of this method. If the teapot is extremely delicate and thinned-wall, then subjecting it to boiling water in a pot is risking breakage. We find this method is only good for getting rid of the clay smell inside the teapot. The surface will not acquire sheen solely from soaking in the tea liquor. The teapot needs to absorb tea liquor and air dry. Buffing the surface will accelerate the rate of absorption and make sure that all areas are covered.

   

 

We do not like to use harsh brush on our teapots either. If dirt and dust are stuck to the inside walls, then it is acceptable to scrub it clean. But do it gently. Many aged teapots have tea deposits on the inside and that can be the key to identify its age. Cleaning out the residues is against the logic of buying a used teapot. Why not buy a new one instead?

We have heard the following methods. Please do not follow these "shortcuts":

  1. Use rice water to rinse the teapot (We have heard the benefits of using rice water to wash face, but why teapots?)
  2. Simmer teapots in soup stocks (Unless you want the tea to taste meaty)

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