Thursday, May 31, 2012

YiXing Teapots aka Clay teapots

YiXing (pronounced ee-shing) teapots have long been known in China for their simple beauty and unique tea brewing qualities.   These handmade Clay teapots have been praised for the way in which they "drive away the smell of boiled water but do not rob the tea of its aroma".

Archaeological excavations reveal that as early as the Song Dynasty (10th century) potters near Yixing, a small town located a little way inland from Shanghai, were using local zisha clay to make utensils that could have functioned as teapots.   Zisha or "purple sand" refers to the locally occurring clay, which fires to a variety of rich brown colours.

Yixing teapots are meant for use with black and oolong teas, as well as aged Puerh tea. They can also be used for green or white tea, but the water must be allowed to cool to around 85 degrees Celsius before pouring the water into the pot. Yixing teapots absorb a tiny amount of tea into the pot during brewing. After prolonged use, the pot will develop a coating that retains the flavor and color of the tea. It is for this reason that soap should not be used to clean Yixing teapots. Instead, it should be rinsed with fresh water and allowed to air-dry. A studious tea connoisseur will only steep one type of tea in a particular pot, so as not to corrupt the flavor that has been absorbed.

Chinese Yixing Teapots are considered by some connoisseurs as the best possible way to steep tea.  We love our little clay teapots and just wanted to share a little of their beauty and mystery with the world x

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