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!
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