Seasoning Your Yixing | Tea For Me Please: Seasoning Your Yixing

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Seasoning Your Yixing

My first yixing, dedicated to Dancong
There comes a time in every tea lover’s life when they are faced with a dilemma. How do you season an yixing teapot? There are several different ways to do it and it’s hard to know which one is right for you and your teaware. Good quality yixing teapots can be a very expensive investment and many people are afraid of damaging their beautiful new acquisition.

The first step is deciding which tea to dedicate your pot too. I believe that you don’t need to be super specific but you should stick to a particular family (i.e. green oolongs, cooked puerh). My own personal pots are dedicated to specific teas that I have a special affinity for: Dangcong Oolong, green rolled oolongs (mostly Taiwanese) and raw puerh. Green and white teas are generally not something you should use in a yixing pot. The clay absorbs too much heat and will negatively affect the taste of your tea.

When I purchased my first yixing, many of the websites I found advised boiling it in a pot of  water with the chosen tea. This struck me as possibly dangerous for a delicate pot. Some versions recommended resting it on a slotted spoon but I still did not feel comfortable. While my pot wasn’t very expensive, I was fond of it and did not want to take any unnecessary risks. I finally found a method that works for me on the website for Seven Cups, a retailer based in Arizona.

Here are the steps as prescribed by them:

  1. Let temperature water sit inside for 4-5 hours
  2. Remove room temperature water and fill with boiling water. Let the pot sit until it reaches room temperature
  3. Empty the pot and place the leaves of the tea you would like to season the pot with inside. Fill with boiling water and let cool to room temperature again
  4. Repeat last step using the same leaves. Discard both tea and water once the pot is room temperature
  5. Your pot is officially ready to be used.

I have used this method for all of my yixing teapots and have not experienced any problems. All of pots seasoned up fairly quickly and they still produce wonderful tasting tea. How do you season your yixing? I’d love to hear about any other methods you might use.