Zi Sha Teapots - YiXing Teapot Preparation & Care
Zi Sha teapots require some basic preparation and attention to get the best from them. Cared for, zi sha will become ever more alluring and reward regular use with impressive results. Wan Ling Tea House hopes to offer a few basic points and tips that we hope make zi sha teapot ownership more enjoyable. This is by no means an experts guide nor an exhaustive list. You will find many who have different perspectives and preferred methods of seasoning, however we hope that this offers a solid starting point. If you have any suggestions please do get in contact.
For those preparing white and green tea, it is highly recommended that you follow the above but with plain boiling water. Boiling white and green tea will cause the liquor to become bitter and stain (see our FAQ on tea types and water temperature).
Note: you can use leaf that you have used previously infused a few times if you prefer, rather than wasting your new tea.
If you are not comfortable using this method, fill the new tea pot with boiling water, replace the lid and pour boiling water over the tea pot then leave to stand for 5-10 minutes; repeat 2 to 3 times. Use spent leaves of your chosen tea type to brew an infusion in the pot, leave to stand for 10 minutes, decant the liquid and repeat. Pour the previously prepared tea liquor over the tea pot. Rinse and you are ready.
It is important, especially if you live somewhere hot and/or humid or you do not frequently use your tea pot that it is completely dry, failure to do this may leave your tea pot with a musty smell - this is not pleasant and can take time to get rid of.
More involved methods, especially for those who'd like to accelerate the seasoning process include;
Leaving the tea pot full with water and leaves. This a good way to 'soak' the tea pot. We personally recommend that you do not leave the tea leaves in the pot longer than 1 day.
Rubbing the tea pot with wet tea leaves. Can be a method to season the colour of the tea quickly. This method is most suited to large leaf teas such as Tie Guan Yin, Pu Er and Green tea. If you do this it is important to rinse the outside of the pot once you are finished and rub with a cloth. You should be careful not to do this too often or to stain the tea pot.
Standing in a 'tea bath'. Very similar to 'Leaving the tea pot full' method, however here you can prepare a bowl with your tea leaves and tea liquor in which to submerge your tea pot. For this then the notes of the above two methods are important i.e. ideally no more than 1 day, then rinse with boiling water and rub clean with a soft tea cloth.
General notes for YiXing teapot care include, ensuring stains from the teas are removed as quickly as possible once you have finished. This is easy to do with hot water and your tea towel. Pay close attention to places where the tea may sit, e.g. lid rim, on the neck of the spout and the underside of the tea pot. This is especially important when preparing black and pu er teas or light coloured clays such as Duan Ni white clay. Regular shining with your cloth will bring forth the colour and lustre.