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Last Updated on July 28, 2022 by Scott
Yixing teapots are known for their beautiful designs and small size. The durable clay, or zisha, used to make them contain tiny pores, much like our skin. These pores soak up the flavor of the tea with every use. Because of this unique design, you must be mindful in how you clean your Yixing teapot.
How Do You Clean a Yixing Teapot?
Before brewing tea in your Yixing teapot, there are a few steps you must follow to clean and sanitize it. If your teapot is brand new, the pores will most likely be filled with dust. There may also be a small amount of left over clay or wax in the spout that needs to be removed.
Apply these 7 steps to clean and ensure your Yixing teapot is ready for use:
- Rinse your teapot, inside and out, in cold water. Make sure to let water flow through the spout. Rinse the lid as well.
- With the soft side of a wet sponge, wipe the entire teapot and lid. Use a soft toothbrush to lightly scrub the inside of the spout.
- Rinse one more time under cold water to remove excess.
- Get a large pot and place your teapot and lid inside. Fill the pot with pure or filtered water, completely immersing your teapot.
- Put your pot on the stove under medium heat. Allow to slowly boil for 10 minutes. You don’t need to cover your pot, as this will make the water boil rapidly.
- Turn off the stove and remove your teapot and lid with tongs or a large spoon.
- Drain the water from your teapot and set it upside down to dry. Do not rinse with water.
When cleaning your teapot, never use any soap or cleaning products. The pores in the clay can soak up the soap and leave a bad taste when brewing tea. If you can, try to use a new sponge and toothbrush and keep them exclusively for cleaning your teapot.
How do You Season a Yixing Teapot?
You might be wondering about the connection between cleaning and seasoning your Yixing teapot. To properly season your teapot, it is crucial that you are cleaning it properly. Similar to a cast iron pan, if you take the time to properly season your teapot, it can be used for years and passed on for generations.
When seasoning your Yixing teapot, you need to understand that it is best to brew only one kind of tea. This is the reason you may see people with several teapots; they have one for each different type of tea they prefer.
Use these steps to season your Yixing teapot so you can get the most flavor out of your tea.
- After you’ve correctly sanitized your teapot, add four tea bags or four teaspoons of tea leaves inside of it.
- In a separate pot or kettle, bring one cup of water to a boil. Never place your Yixing on the stove or fire. It is solely for brewing tea.
- Once the water has boiled, pour it into your teapot over your tea. Put the lid on your teapot and leave it until the water cools down.
- Drain the water from your teapot through the spout. Rinse and repeat these steps once more.
- When you’ve completed the steps twice, rinse with only water and place your teapot upside down on a dry towel. Place the lid beside it.
Always allow your teapot to completely dry before putting the lid on it and storing it away. Leaving any moisture inside will cause it to grow mold.
How do You Care for a Yixing Teapot?
Caring for your Yixing teapot is very important. There is more than just cleaning and seasoning when it comes to care. Be gentle with your teapot as you would with something you cherish, and it will become more beautiful with each use.
Using a tea brush is one way to keep your teapot exterior smooth and shiny. Whenever you have left over tea, pour it over the outside of your pot. You can either use a tea brush or soft wash cloth to spread it all over the surface. This will keep your Yixing clean and looking new.
If you happen to get oil drops on your teapot, be gentle when cleaning them off. Oil marks can ruin the exterior and leave it looking dirty. To clean oil drops, use a soft rag and wipe them off immediately.
One more thing to keep in mind is to always let your Yixing teapot rest. If you’re constantly using it, store it away for a few days. This will allow it to absorb more tea the next time you use it.
Bonus: This article outlines how to tell if your Yixing teapot is real
Do You Need To Clean Your Teapot After Every Use?
Most people are used to washing their cooking utensils after every use, and this includes teapots, so your instincts might be to submerge your teapot in soapy water when you’ve finished with it. We have already explained why that’s not a good idea, because the soap will get into the pores. However, that might leave you wondering how you should clean it for day to day use.
In general, the best method involves pouring some warm water into the pot and using this to rinse the tea leaves out. Turn the pot upside down to dry. The remaining water will run out of the top and spout, and any tiny droplets will evaporate.
You don’t need to worry about rubbing the inside or wiping it clean. Simply let it dry completely before you store it, and it will be ready for the next use.
What Happens If The Teapot Goes Moldy?
As long as you are thoroughly drying your teapot after each use, it will not go moldy. However, accidents can happen to everyone, and if your teapot smells of mold, you need to clean it before you use it.
To do this, you should:
- Rinse the pot out with clean water to remove any leftover leaves.
- Fill the pot with hot (not boiling) water and shake it thoroughly to get the water into the pores.
- Pour the pot out and rinse it with cold water.
- Check if you can still smell mold. If you can, repeat the process until the smell disappears.
Frequently Asked Questions About Yixing Teapots
Q: How long does it take to season a Yixing teapot?
A: This varies enormously from pot to pot, so unfortunately, it’s not possible to tell how long it will take to season any particular pot. The porosity of the clay, the frequency with which it is used, how strong your tea is, and the kind of tea you choose will all affect how long it takes to season one of these teapots.
It’s important not to rush the process, however. It will often take many months before your pot has really taken on the flavors that you want it to hold, and some people find that their pots take years to be sufficiently seasoned.
Q: How do I know when my Yixing teapot is seasoned?
A: Seasoning is a gradual process, so you probably won’t notice a fixed point at which you decide the pot is sufficiently seasoned. You will just notice that your tea takes on better and richer flavors all the time, and that this builds with use.
Q: Can I make my Yixing teapot season more quickly?
A: Using your pot more frequently will somewhat speed up the seasoning process, but you really do have to be patient. You can’t rush this process and get good results; you have to let the tea soak into the pores of the pot, and this will take time.
Q: Should I wipe my teapot out?
A: Since you won’t be washing your teapot the traditional way, you might be wondering whether you should use a clean towel to wipe the inside out. However, this will generally not be necessary and could result in debris getting left inside the teapot. It’s better to simply use a rinse as described above.
Cleaning and caring for your Yixing teapot requires time and patience. Following care instructions will keep your teapot looking new for a long time.
Scott is the founder of TeaMinded. He enjoys tasting and discovering teas from across the globe, with green teas and ceremonial matcha from Japan being among his favorites. He’s grateful to be immersed in the tea community, always learning and sharing along the journey.