How To Season an Yixing Teapot: The Ultimate Step by Step Guide
For real tea fans an Yixing teapot (Also known as zisha teapot) is proven to be a great investment. When ‘raised’ properly it will enhance the taste, aroma and color of tea and also become more valuable over time.
The mistake that first time Yixing buyers often make is that they believe it can be used directly as steeping equipment. In fact, you have to season an Yixing teapot to make them ready to use. In this practical guide, you’re going to learn how to properly do this and increase the potential of your clay pot.
Clean your Zisha Teapot
The very first step in seasoning your zisha teapot is by rinsing the inside and outside it carefully using cold water. Afterwards, use your fingers to check dislodge any stray bits of clay that are left on the inside of the pot and the lid. Then rinse again, and see if the water flows out freely from the sprout to make sure the inside is clear.
Important: don’t use soap! Zisha clay is very absorbent and you want it to absorb tea, not soap.
Cook your Clay Teapot
The second step in seasoning your clay teapot is to cook it in a large pan. This might sound strange, but cooking zisha teaware is an important step to remove the taste of clay and any impurities. Follow the below steps:
- Place the teapot and lid separately in the middle of the pan.
- Fill the pan with enough water so that the pot and lid are fully covered with water.
- Let it simmer for 1 hour. Important: don’t let it boil as the teapot may get damaged as it moves too much inside the pan. Just let it simmer.
- After cooking, let the teaware sit in the cooking pan, and let it gradually cool down first, before you take it out.
Besides the above steps, you may consider adding either tea or tofu (not both) inside the pan while seasoning the teapot.
You may consider adding your preferred tea in the pan and also fill the inside of the pot, while simmering. Not all tea drinkers agree that this step is necessary though. Some argue that it’s better to just let your Yixing slowly absorb tea during regular use. Others believe that simmering the tea together with the pot for 1 hour, will allow your Yixing teapot to be a great steeping tool faster.
If you feel that the smell of the teapot is off, or if there's a strong odor coming from it, you can fill up the teapot with tofu and also add some to the pan while simmering. Tofu is known to be very effective to remove odors.
Important: avoid tofu with any artificial flavoring. For natural, unflavored tofu, try to get it from a local Chinese supermarket.
Rinse, clean and dry
Once the water in the cooking pan is cooled, you can take out the zisha clay pot and lid. Rinse it clean with warm water then dry it properly with a cloth.
Optional: let the teapot and lid dry separately for another 2-3 days.
You’re Yixing teapot is ready to use! You might not notice the added value of the Yixing clay teapot directly, but after about 3-5 sessions, you will discover how amazing such steeping equipment truly is! Now you know how to season an Yixing teapot read the final tips below:
- Take a picture of your zisha teapot on a monthly basis, so that you can compare the appearance over time. You will notice that it will become more shiny when used regularly.
- Always clean your Yixing teapot only with water. Stay away from soap! We just can’t emphasize this enough.
- Steep the same tea also in a gaiwan or glass teaware, so you can compare the taste, aroma and color with the results you get from your zisha teapot.
- Only dedicate your Yixing teapot to one specific type of tea. Read more about it in this article: Dedicate your Yixing teapot to a specific kind of tea.