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The size of a Yixing teapot is often joked about in western culture. What some people don’t understand is that there are certain reasons why these particular teapots are so small. If you’ve ever brewed your tea in one, you’d know that the small size gives you a lot of flavor.
Why Are Yixing Teapots so Small?
Some Yixing teapots can easily fit in the palm of your hand, while other sizes are even smaller than this. So, why are these teapots made so small? There are 6 reasons why Yixing teapots are small:
- They are made to brew one type of tea. The small design is purposely made for one kind of tea. That’s why you might see people have many of these “tiny teapots.” Each pot they have is for a different flavor of tea.
- Travel size. The size of Yixings are convenient. Some teapots are small enough to fit in pockets and purses. This was great for older generations, and some people in this era still use them for this reason.
- Stronger taste. Because these teapots only hold around a cup of water, you don’t need too much tea to have a strong taste.
- Reusing tea leaves. The small water quantity won’t take the full flavor out of the tea. This allows you to reuse your tea leaves by just adding more boiled water to your pot.
- Cools down quicker. A smaller quantity of hot water cools down in a shorter amount of time. You won’t have to wait so long to drink your tea.
- Decorative. You can’t deny that a Yixing teapot is pleasing to look at. They add so much tradition and beauty to the atmosphere.
Maybe you’ll be able to appreciate the size of a Yixing teapot now that you’ve learned the reasons why it’s so small.
How Big Should a Yixing Teapot be?
The size of a Yixing teapot should only hold between 3 to 13 ounces of water. This means that these teapots are about the size of a regular cup; some being much smaller. It’s hard to imagine that people would want to brew such a small amount of tea, but making them any bigger would change the method of how these pots brew tea.
If Yixing teapots were any bigger, the tea would have a bitter taste. The reason behind this is that the small amount of water allows the tea leaves to infuse quickly. This lets the taste of the tea become strong but not bitter.
Leaving your tea leaves to brew too long will add bitterness to the taste. When you have a larger amount of water, you have to brew it longer. Letting your tea brew for a long time allows the tea leaves to release all their flavor. This includes the bitter taste that most tea leaves have.
With smaller teapots, you only need to leave the water in for about 1 minute and then serve immediately. This will give your tea a strong and sweet taste, as opposed to a strong and bitter taste.
What are the Sizes of Yixing Teapots?
Yixing teapot sizes range from:
- 1-5 inches in height
- 3-10 inches in length
- 100-400 milliliters in capacity
What are some Disadvantages of a Small Yixing Teapot?
If you’re not familiar with Yixing teapots, you might initially see a disadvantage in the small amount of tea being served from them. The size of these pots is more about quality than quantity. Getting better flavor is more desired than getting more tea when using a Yixing teapot.
The other disadvantage is that with such a small capacity of water, you have quicker heat loss. This means that you have to drink your tea as soon as it’s brewed. This is also one of the reasons why a Yixing is small to begin with, so many people don’t really see this as a drawback.
The only real disadvantage is if you want to serve multiple people at once. Because of the size, it is really meant for an individual person. The solution to this would be to have a collection of Yixings. That way you can prepare several cups of tea at the same time.
If you’re asking the question of why Yixing teapots are so small, remember that to others, these teapots are normal sized. Their small size can help brew better flavored tea and they are perfect for individual servings.
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.