In response to my question about seasoning techniques for Yixing Teapots, I was pleasantly surprised by a comment left by one of my readers. In an earlier blog post entitled “Seasoning Your Yixing“, I listed several techniques found via Internet research. Since that time, I received various responses that have been helpful and full of insight.
Jo, the proprietor of YaYa House of Excellent Teas, provided another seasoning technique as well as some additional tips. I hope these posts are useful resources for other Yixing Teaware newbies like myself.
“On a basic level, all of the mentioned methods (in my prior post – Seasoning Your Yixing) do the same:
- rinse teapot to remove dust
- fill with tea and let sit for a while (or submerge the whole pot in tea)
- rinse and let dry
The main difference is in time and whether to submerge the whole teapot or only season the inside.
I’ve seasoned quite a few yixing pots over the years and believe, the pot should definitely be submerged in tea for a longish (1 hour to overnight) time. When people speak about seasoning and patina, not only the inside but also the outside of the teapot is important. I’d also recommend to use an old toothbrush to clean out dust particles from the inside.
My steps usually are:
- Place new yixing pot into a pot of cold water ((take lid off the pot and place in pot separately).
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove yixing pot and lid from pot, rinse with warm water and scrub with toothbrush.
- Place teapot plus lid in a pot of fresh cold water and bring to a boil.
- Remove yixing pot from water.
- Add a decent amount of tea leaves into pot and put back in hot water (some of them will float out, most will stay in pot).
- Simmer for about 1 hour.
- Let yixing sit in pot over night.
- Remove all tea leaves (you might need to rinse with the tea from the big pot) and let the open yixing dry out of direct sunlight (note that I DON’T rinse the pot with water!)
At the end, most of the patina comes from frequent use. There’s different approaches to creating an even patina, but I usually don’t use just water on my teapots except to preheat before brewing tea. After a gong fu session, I brew an extra infusion that I use to clean the teapot with. I pour this infusion off into a faircup, then remove all leaves I can and rinse the inside of the yixing with some of the infusion to remove the rest of the leaves. If I want to build up a patina quickly, I rinse the outside of the teapot with the rest of the infusion, rubbing it in my hands to spread the tea over the whole surface of the teapot. This way, you can create a nice patina in about 2 month time for teapots you use 3-4 times a week.
Keep in mind, there’s no science to this. As long as you clean your teapot and give it an initial seasoning with tea (whichever way you chose to use), you should be on your way.”
Thanks again Jo, for sharing your knowledge.