Do you remember that feeling when you got your first bicycle or your first Barbie as a kid? That smile on your face, that joy in your heart, that feeling of gratitude that left you content for days! Well, that’s how I felt when I got my first Yixing teapot! Funny, isn’t it?
The truth is, inside, we’re all children. I’ve always been a shopaholic but tea has changed me in a number of ways. Now I look for quality over quantity. Be it tea or teaware, I always make sure whatever I purchase is of high quality. This not only enhances my shopping experience, but also makes it worth the investment.
Tea is a sacred ritual for me, a meditative routine, and hence everything around it has to be respected. The tea I’m using needs to be of good quality, the teapots and teacups need to be clean and well taken care of and there should be dedicated space and time in the day for the tea routine to be performed.
Now I know all of this sounds too complicated to you right now, but trust me, it’s actually quite simple. In fact, being in a full time job, my tea ritual happens at my desk, beside my laptop, where I take out 10-15 minutes every day to make my tea, but even that gives me the much desired meditative effect I’m looking for.
Now that you know how much all of this means to me, you would understand why I felt like a happy child when I got my first Yixing teapot!
This teapot was sent to me (gifted for review) by Umiteasets based in China. I’m so grateful to them! I will be sharing the review in a bit but first it’s time to know more about Yixing teapots!
(Jump to review HERE)
Where did Yixing teapots originate?
Yixing teapots originated from Yixing, (a city just west of Shanghai) situated to the west of Taihu, the Great Lake in Jiangsu Province. The hills to the southeast of the county are rich in clay deposits, and the region of Dingshuzhen is known as the center of pottery-making.
What are Yixing teapots made of?
These are handmade unglazed teapots made from clay sourced from the Yixing region. Special mixtures of rock are mined from designated regions within Yixing and crushed into a fine powder. This powder is mixed with water and allowed to sit and rest. The water and rock form a clay mixture that is also known as “Purple Clay” or “Purple Sand”.
How to choose a Yixing teapot?
- There are many fake machine made replicas in the market now. So be very careful in choosing your first Yixing teapot. Be wary of super cheap ones. Based on my research I observed that a quality teapot starts at around $60 and the price can balloon to up to thousands of dollars.
- The teapot that was sent to me by Umiteasets is being sold for around $30. Now, to be honest, this confused me a little as I wasn’t sure if this was truly handmade or not. I checked with them and they confirmed it was and I want to trust them. However, when you make a purchase, make sure you do it from a trusted source and you should also receive a certificate which is proof of authenticity. Mine did not come with a certificate. But thankfully my experience with the teapot has been great so far.
- The next factor that you need to pay attention to while buying a Yixing teapot is the shape. What kind of tea would you like to brew in your teapot? If you want to brew something like a Tie Guan Yin, then a teapot with a medium size opening would work, however, if you want to brew a tea for which the dry leaves are quite big, you would need a teapot with a bigger opening. Yixing teapots come in various shapes and sizes, hence you can choose the one which is convenient for you.
- Choose a darker color Yixing teapot as a beginner if you’re not used to taking good care of your teapots.
- Pay attention to how the water stream flows out of the spout. Is it a smooth flow & a crisp stop?
What kind of tea should you brew in Yixing teapots?
Yixing teapots are able to withstand a higher temperature than glazed porcelains, making them the ideal choice for teas that demand a higher steeping temperature, such as oolong teas or black teas. It is better not to use Yixing teapots for green, yellow or young white teas as these have delicate flavors and refreshing, light aromas which might be greatly affected by the porous material of these teapots.
What is so unique about a Yixing teapot?
Yixing teapots are said to absorb the natural oils and aromas of teas over time. It sort of works like a give and take relationship. A teapot used for many years will impart flavor and texture to hot water, even without tea leaves. Every time you brew a tea in Yixing, the porous nature of the clay absorbs some of the volatile aromatic oils and dissolved solids in the tea as it steeps. Some of these oils and solids are released into the new tea from previous brewing sessions, while others absorb into the clay. These teapots also tend to gain more shine and luster over time.
Should we dedicate a Yixing teapot to one type of tea?
As these teapots tend to absorb the oils and aromas from the teas, it is suggested that a Yixing teapot be dedicated to just one tea. Seasoning is the process of familiarizing your teapot with (or dedicating your teapot to) a single type of tea. Once you’ve decided on a tea that tastes great when brewed in your new pot, it is usually recommended that you give the seasoning process a jump start with a tea bath which is a safer way. Some sources propose boiling the pot. That is another way to season the teapot. However, I wouldn’t recommend subjecting your teapot to a rigorous seasoning process as there might be a risk of breaking the teapot.
If you do not want to dedicate your teapot to a single tea, then you can use your teapot for a group of teas with similar characteristics.
Also, if you’re not using your teapot too frequently, you can choose to use it for different teas. If you cannot afford to own multiple teapots, you don’t have to worry about dedicating the teapot to just one tea. It’s your teapot after all. Enjoy it the way you want to!
Caring for your Yixing teapot
It is actually quite easy to care for a Yixing teapot. There is no need to clean it with any soap or detergent. In fact it is advisable not to as the material tends to absorb aromas quickly. Remove the used tea leaves and clean with water. Leave the lid off the pot until it completely dries, and wipe away any drip marks with a damp cloth between uses. Store it as though it were a piece of sculpture.
Review on Umiteasets Yixing Teapot
I felt elated when I received my first Yixing teapot sent by Umiteasets. I wanted to own one since forever and they made it possible. Now, I do have my doubts when it comes to the authenticity of the teapot since I did not get a certificate, however, I will share an honest review based on my user experience so far, giving the brand the benefit of the doubt.
- The teapot has a beautiful unglazed look and smooth finish.
- The lid fits perfectly. It is comfortable to hold as well.
- The flow of the water stream from the spout is smooth and drip-free.
- The handle is quite comfortable to hold.
- There is an artist’s seal at the bottom of the teapot even if I didn’t get the certificate. This gives me hope that this is truly handmade and authentic.
I cannot think of any negative reviews as of now. If you want to purchase this teapot, you can do it HERE.
Link to buy other Yixing teapots from Umiteasets: https://www.umiteasets.com/teapots/yixing-teapots.html
I hope you enjoyed reading this. I will see you in my next blog. Bye!