Yixing: The Teapot That Has Been Absorbing Your Tea All OolongNov.19.2014
The Yixing teapot is the preferred teapot for many Chinese teas – in particular, the more fully fermented oolong. A match made in heaven. The Yixing teapot is the refined choice of the aficionado seeking the exquisite expression of semi-fermented oolong teas. The yixing came to be in the 1500s, under the rule of the Ming Dynasty. The Ming belief that “tea should be drunk often but in small quantities” led to the creation of the small, delicate Yixing teapots and thimble-sized Yixing cups. They prove the adage: good things come in small packages!
· A POSITIVELY POROUS POT ·
Yixings are made from the famous purple clay, ‘zhi sha’ from China’s Yixing region in Jiangsu province. Because the purple clay is so porous, the pot absorbs a little of the flavour and character of the tea with each infusion. In this manner, your yixing will become seasoned over time. Not only are you drinking your tea, your teapot is -in a way- stealing some of it, too! Rumour has it that if one uses a Yixing pot for many years, the teapot will be so seasoned that one can make tea by merely filling it with hot water. So really, a Yixing teapot could end up paying off in more ways than you could imagine! Kind of like a tax return!
Keep in mind that since Yixings are porous, they should never be washed with soap as the clay would absorb the chemical residue. This would taint the taste of your future teas! Instead, they should be cleaned by rinsing with plain water. It’s also best to reserve a different Yixing for each varietal of oolong, white, or green tea in order to produce a singular reinforcing flavor from each teapot’s absorbent clay. Enjoy each oolong in all of its intended glory!
· ART AND BEAUTY OF THE YIXING ·
Yixing teapots were first adopted by Buddhist monks. They felt that the simple lines and minimal decoration embodied the classic Chinese concept of harmony and beauty, and thus the true spirit of tea. Throughout the years, Yixings evolved into beautiful, artistic expressions incorporating symbols of daily life.
With such dedication, Yixings have been valued as family treasures and are often passed from father to son, mother to daughter and are used in the traditional Chinese ceremony of Gong Fu Cha, the ritual of preparing and enjoying tea with great appreciation.