How to Season an Yixing Teapot

Yixing Teapots are extremely rewarding. Treat them well and they will give back the best tea possible, as well as grow in luster and depth of color. High quality hand-crafted teapots are investment objects, and increase greatly in value if they are used properly. Here is a quick reference guide to using your yixing:

1. Prepare a very clean pot and boil water in it. If you have hard water, filter it or use bottled water, or the sediment will get into the tea pot.

2. Using a slotted spoon with no smells or stains, lower the tea pot, and separately, the lid into the boiling water. Allow the yixing to rest on the spoon, and not the bottom of the pot, otherwise it vibrates too much with the bubbles.

3. Boil for 3-5 minutes. Remove pot and lid and allow to dry completely.

4. Choose a tea whose flavor you want the pot to absorb. Steep tea in the pot, pouring each 10-15 second steeping into a larger bowl until the bowl is full.

5. Remove tea leaves and let pot soak in the bowl of tea with lid soaking separately.

6. Remove when tea has cooled completely and let pot dry.

7. Pot is ready to use. The first few steepings will still be light because good clay keeps absorbing for a while. After 3 sessions or so, you will notice the flavors getting more complex, and the tea pot becoming more lustrous.

Other info: Never use anything but water to clean an yixing pot. Soap will be absorbed and create a permanent soapy flavor in the tea you steep. Always allow your yixing pot to dry completely between uses, and before replacing the lid and storing. A teapot stored wet with the lid on will mold. If your teapot molds, reboil for 10-15 minutes and re-season. Take a picture of your pot when you start using it so that you can compare in a year to see how it has grown. Have fun!

Teas Relevant To This Article

Published on by David Duckler

Never use anything but water to clean an yixing pot....

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Antique Yixing TeapotAntique Yixing Teapot

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Posted Comments

  1. Joely (Azzrian) Smith

    Thank you! I just used this to season my first yixing pot!

  2. sean

    Hi, I’m in Xiamen and I am a tea addict. I found your site and love it!
    I have many Yixing pots now and I want to know if you have learned any secrets on how to get them to become dark and beautiful. Thanks! S

    • David Duckler

      How fun! I really want to visit Xiamen soon. I have lots of friends there who tell me that it is the best place on earth. As for yixing, the best method is to use every pot, every day. Be sure to pour tea over the pot with each steeping, and then let a final steeping sit in the pot for 20 minutes or so before pouring out and over the pot. Clean the pot out at the end of each day with hot water, and rub with clean hands and a cloth. Allow it to dry completely between each use. The speed and nature of the changes will also depend on the quality and color of the clay, the quality of the teas used, and the kind of tea you devote to the pot. Better tea seems to age pots more quickly, perhaps it has a more potent concentration of tea oils? Just venturing a guess to explain my observations. Have fun!

  3. Drew

    I just bought one of these for shu puerh!!! So excited to start using it

  4. Lena

    Thank you for this article, very helpful! I am seasoning my Yixing teapot for the Dancong Oolong as I type this!

  5. Robert

    Is there any way to re-season a Yixing teapot? I started using a Yixing (5 times) for brewing pu-erh teas and now i would like to re-season for brewing Oolongs…how would I do this??

    • Lily Duckler

      Hi Robert,

      It sounds like you haven’t used your pot too many times, so you should be able to re-season it. Simply re-boil your pot, just as you would do if you had a brand new pot. You may need to boil the pot for a little bit longer (between 30 min and an hour), depending on how much your tea pot has already taken on from your previous seasoning.

      Check after boiling and cooling by steeping hot water in the pot. Compare the taste of water simply boiled and water “steeped” in your pot. If there’s still a distinct taste of pu’er, you’ll need to boil the pot again. If not, you pot is ready to re-season, as outlined above.

  6. Peter

    Hello, I just boiled my new pot for about 30 minutes. The water color turned a light translucent color of the pot, but the pot itself didn’t fade. I heard the color of the water shouldn’t change, so I’m concerned I got something artificial or unhealthy. The pot was bought in China for 180 rmb . The craftsmanship is quite good and it looks and feels real based on what I’ve learned, but the water changing color has me concerned. Could you offer any comments or suggestions about my situation. Thanks!

    • Lily Duckler

      The most likely scenario is that coloring agents were used in the clay or that the pot was sealed / cured to look nicer on the shelf.

      Thorough boiling will reduce the presence of these if they are indeed there. However, if dyes or other chemicals were used, there’s no guarantee that some trace amount won’t steep into your tea.

      If you like the pot, do a second round of boiling. If the water comes out clear the next time, you know that most of the residue has been removed. If you do not feel comfortable steeping tea in your pot but you still like the pot itself and want to use it, you can always use your tea pot as a pitcher or as a tea animal.

      • Peter

        Hi Lily, I found the problem was actually the cloth that I placed on the bottom of the boiler to avoid rattling. I boiled the cloth and teapot both separately and the pot water was clear while the cloth water turned the same color as the very first boiling together. I’m guessing the high temperature released the dyes in the cloth. Not sure how a blue cloth gives off a brown color but that’s what happened.

        Anyway, thanks for your response. It was still informative.

  7. Averia

    I’ve been told to boil the tapot wrapped in a towel to prevent cracking but something terrible happened: the towel released the laundry detergent and the teapot now smells of it! I did not think about it and now I feel really stupid. I’m desperate: I wanted to do the seasoning with so much care and instead I made a disaster! I am about to cry… If there is something to do to repair the damage please let me know, I’m so sad.