Saturday, March 24, 2007

Yixing Teapots

Sweetheart emailed me a link to this site and their wonderful article on Yixing Teapots. I first discovered these beautiful teapots while living in China. They have so many wonderful shapes and designs and each is made by hand.

I tried to visit Yixing while I was there to see the teapots being made, but I couldn't figure the train schedule to make it work when I was in the area. I did, however, manage to backpack a set across the country and bring a second set of mini teapots home all in one piece!

Note: The typos/grammatical errors are direct from the site. Occasionally, Chinglish is difficult to understand. Here's some of the article:

How to use Yixing Teapot for tea?

Every zisha teapot has a strainer at end of spout, so you do not need to put the loose tea leaves inside a strainer. This prevent any kind of impurity introduced by the strainer. At end of day, after you finish drinking the last tea of the day, throw away the loose leaves, rinse off the teapot under clean water. Before you put in any loose tea leaves in the morning, always rinse the teapot with hot boiling water to warm up the teapot. Then add (1-2 tea spoon of) leaves to teapot. Infuse with hot water. The first two cups of tea has the most caffeiine (still only 10-25% of caffeine compare to coffee). Leave the leaves in the teapot. Whnever you want to drink more tea in the same day, just add hot water to the teapot. Do as often as you want. By end of the day, after a few repeated infusions, the tea already become naturally de-caffeinated. The most healthy way of drinking!

After you used the teapot, you will never need to wash with soap again. Just rinse off the tea leaves in the pot every time you use it.

What's Zisha Yixing Teapot?

  • What's Purple Clay -- as westerners translates what Chinese referred to as: Purple Sand?

zisha_rock.jpg (55501 bytes)

Is it a clay? Is it a sandy mud? It's not clay and it's not sandy mud. It's a special kind of rock which is mostly mineral deposits found under the ground near Yixing city. Nowadays the rock after it's mined are grounded by the machine with water, then it's filtered. The paste (just like the bean paste) is then used to make the teapots. This paste is called Zisha Sand, because it contains very fine sandy particles. It's all because of this special format of mineral paste that made Zisha Yixing teapot so famous and fine craftsmen's teapot are sold easily and well over 10,000 yuan in China.

  • Why Yixing teapot makes the best tea?

zmake08.jpg (40119 bytes)

1) Because the special zisha paste contains sandy particles. the teapot after it's fired has tiny tiny porous surface, the tea in the pot can breath. Tea left in the pot on hot days out of the refrigerator can be kept three days and still fresh.

2) When the teapot is being used everyday, the tea taste and tea oil soak into the teapot. This enhances the tea your are drinking. People believe Yixing teapot can make fine taste tea without any tea leaves, because the tea taste contained in the pot can just turn hot water into tea after the pot has been used long enough.

2) Zisha paste has no lead, unlike clay. Statistics in China shows the mineral deposits are very healthy for people who has high blood pressure, high cholesterol. It promotes longevity.

3) Zisha paste do not glaze under fire. So new teapots do not shine. But it's rich contents of minerals makes these teapot very unique and becomes one of the hottest ornamental collector's items for scholars. This is because the more the teapot is being used, the more beautiful the teapot becomes. The daily touching, rubbing, and making tea, makes the pot shinier and shinier everyday. Old teapot has very beautiful and fascinating patinas after used for some time.

zmake02.jpg (70681 bytes)

  • How to take care of a Yixing Teapot?

When you get a new Yixing teapot, most of the time, it did not touched any water yet. Because the maker or the seller usually want you to be able to tap out the crisp metallic sound. So you need to wash out or rinse thoroughly the Zisha bits in the teapot. If makes you feel better, you can wash with soap. If you will use the teapot to drink green tea, put a lot not so good green tea in the pot, add a lot of hot water and let it soak for a few hours. This will season the pot a little bit. I like to season the pot for hours by letting it sit on the stove for some time with low heat on.

After you used the teapot, you will never need to wash with soap again. Just rinse off the tea leaves in the pot every time you use it.

There are more pictures on the site, as well as more information, if you are interested. Now, go make yourself a cup of tea!


Jodi said...

Kimberly - I read this in bloglines when you posted it. I found this fascinating; I had never heard of this before. Thank you for posting! :o)

Kimberly said...

They are a very unique style of teapot and very sturdy! I have a large one and a set of mini ones that I brought home from China. I seemed to display them more than use them, but that's mostly due to the size.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin