Yixing teapots – a must-have for the gourmet teas connoisseur

Yixing Teapots – A Must-Have for the Gourmet Teas Connoisseur

Yixing teapots are a traditional style of tea pot ideal for anyone who enjoys drinking black, oolong, green, pu-erh, and white gourmet teas.  Yixing teapots come from the Yixing region of Jiangsu province, China.  Yixing teapots are made out of zisha clay, which is unique clay only found in the Yixing region.  The first Yixing teapot was created by a monk during the Song Dynasty (10th century).  Yixing teas are beautiful adornments that come in a variety of styles but what is it that makes them so special?

The Unique Characteristics of Yixing Teapots:

Many tea connoisseurs consider Yixing teapots to be superior to any other kind of teapot.  It is said that after brewing tea in your Yixing teapot for many of years, you can brew tea simply by pouring boiling water into the empty pot.  This is because the porous clay used to make these pots, known as zisha clay, absorbs the flavor of   gourmet Tea.after each use.  Yixing teapots are handmade.  Potters keep them unglazed in order to allow the clay’s beautiful color to shine through.  Additionally, unglazed pots make better-tasting tea.  You can find Yixing pots in three characteristic colors: purplish brown, cinnamon red, and light buff.  Mineral pigments are sometimes added to alter the color of zisha clay and sometimes the three colors of clay are blended to create new hues. Yixing clay contains mica, iron, and quartz.  The depth of the clay’s color depends on the amount of iron it contains.

Traditional Yixing teapots were very small and meant for individual use.  They were used with tiny cups.  Nowadays you can find Yixing teapots in all shapes and sizes.  These teapots feature close-fitting lids that prevent oxidation, allowing your gourmet teas to maintain better flavor when brewed.  In order to evaluate the quality of a teapots in general, you have to check the color of the tea and measure the levels of caffeine, tea phenol, and aminophylline.  In all of these categories, Yixing teapots outperform all other styles of teapots out there.  In addition, Yixing teapots are very beautiful works of art that can serve as unique adornments in your home.

Yixing teapots are meant for use with oolong, aged pu-erh, and black gourmet teas.  However, you can brew green and white teas in Yixing teapots by cooling the water to 85 degrees Celsius prior to pouring it into the pot.  Zisha clay has a 4% water absorption rate and over prolonged use, the Yixing teapot retains the flavor and color of the tea.  As such, one should avoid washing a Yixing teapot with soap and water and instead rinse it out with water and let it air-dry.

Drinking tea brewed in Yixing teapots is healthy because it contributes to your trace mineral intake.  Trace minerals are an important component of a healthy diet.  Another benefit of using Yixing teapots is their durability in comparison to other types of teapots.  Fully controlled temperatures are used when a Yixing teapot is fired, creating a strong molecular bond.  This makes Yixing teapots very durable as a result.

Tips for Maintaing a Yixing Teapot

Avoid keeping gourmet teas in your Yixing teapot overnight hoping that perhaps the teapot will absorb more flavors.  Mold can grow in your pot if you do this and any acidic or otherwise unpleasant taste or smell will be absorbed by the zisha clay.  Wash your Yixing teapot with hot water but never use soap.  And don’t just admire your Yixing teapot from a distance.  It is believed that Yixing tea pots that are shown love by being touched and rubbed are more beautiful because the zisha clay develops a glow as a result.

Prices of Yixing Teapots

Prices of Yixing teapots are all over the map and can range from a few dollars to thousands of dollars.  Contemporary pots are priced based on the artist who made them, the style, the quality of the clay, and the production method.  For the more expensive Yixing teapots, artisans use wooden and bamboo tools to manipulate the clay.  Cheaper pots are made using predetermined moulds.

How to Judge the Quality of Your Yixing Teapot

In order to judge the quality of Yixing teapots, tap it lightly against another Yixing teapot of the same variety.  If the ceramic makes a metallic sound when tapped, you can be sure that you are dealing with authentic Yixing teapots.  The fit of the teapot’s lid should be seamless.  When you fill the pot with water, put the lid on, and pour the tea out, it should poor smoothly.  To determine whether or not the lid is well-fitted, place your finger over the hole on the lid and tip the pot over.  If the lid is well-fitted, the flow of water will be halted.

Yixing teapots have been popular in China for many years because of their unique qualities and simple yet beautiful design.  Although Yixing teapots are relatively unknown in the US, they are becoming more and more common as drinking gourmet teas becomes an increasingly popular practice there.  There is no better way to enjoy your tea than in a Yixing teapot.  For the best results, drink only one type of tea in your Yixing teapot because it will absorb the flavor of that tea only.  After many years, you will be able to brew your favorite cup of tea without having to add a single tea leaf!

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