Yixing and Tetsubin Teaware: Use and Care

Cycle of Life Yixing Tea Set

Yixing Pottery

Yixing pottery is a special type of artisan teaware that comes from China. It is made from zisha (“purple clay”), a special material that can only be found in Jiangsu Province.

The most special attribute of yixing pottery is that over time the porous clay will absorb the flavors of what is brewed inside, allowing it to “season”, which will cause the color of the teapot to darken and the flavor of the tea to improve. Traditionally, one would brew only one type of tea (usually green or oolong) in each yixing teapot.

To care for yixing teaware, you must be careful never to wash it with any type of soap or cleaning solution. The clay will absorb the flavor and affect the tea you brew inside. Simply rinse out the teapot or mug and set it upside-down to dry.

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Colorful Tetsubin Teapots

Cast Iron Tetsubins

A tetsubin is a type of cast iron Japanese teaware. The teapots were once kettles, but are now used for brewing tea. In addition to their simple, understated elegance and design, tetsubin teapots retain heat very well and last for a long time. Continual use of the tetsubin will season it, which will improve the taste of the tea brewed inside.

Caring for a tetsubin teapot is very simple. Before using it, you will want to first fill it with boiling hot water a few times to remove its metallic odor. Tetsubin teaware should not be washed with soap or any type of cleaning solution; simply rinse it out with water after each use and wipe dry with a clean cloth. This should prevent the exterior from becoming rusty.

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