on Thursday, August 11, 2011 9:02:00 PM
Last month we introduced you to the gaiwan, a simple porcelain cup
that is a great tool for brewing loose leaf tea. This month we will talk
briefly about another ancient teapot, the yixing teapot. Originating
from Yixing, Jiangsu, this teapot was developed during the Song Dynasty
(960-1279) and is made of clay called zisha.
zisha is one of the best materials to brew darker teas such as oolong
and red (black) teas because the clay maintains a high temperature
throughout the brewing process. This is due to the high mineral content
of the clay, including high levels of iron. In addition, zisha and
yixing teapots are known for their porous nature, and since they are
unglazed, they tend to capture the flavor of the tea over time leading
to more flavorful and nuanced steepings as the teapot ages.
are going to use a yixing teapot, you will typically pick one type of
tea from one region to brew in the teapot. This ensures that the teapot
takes on only the flavor of that one type of tea, rather than mixed
flavors. Over time, you will need less tea leaves to produce the same
taste, since the teapot will have acquired the scent of the tea.
teapots come in a whole range of different styles from very simplistic
to very intricate. Yixing teapots often come designed as animals,
natural objects, symbols, and many other designs. In addition yixing
teapots will come in a variety of colors due to the different types of
zisha used in the production process. The most common color of zisha
used is purple, but you can also find red and less commonly green zisha
One warning however before you go running off to purchase
a yixing teapot, you have to be really careful to ensure that the clay
used is free of lead, a very difficult task these days. Be sure to deal
with only reputable companies who have detailed how they test for lead
in the clay.