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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.
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.