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Back to Beijing

April 10, 2009

So, here am I back in Beijng after a wonderful time in Huang Shan! I had the pleasure to visit the teafields of theis fabulous region and to assist at the processing of making the famous Huang Shan Mao Feng. This was an unforgettable experience and I’m happy to have taken the opportunity to bring some of the new spring tea back home!

So the last few days I spent were “just” for teaware. This is also a complete world and I have had the chance to meet some of the artists of Yixing teapots who explained the art of making these teapots and the reasons of their quality differences. It’s very difficult to select a Yixing Teapot because prices vary between 10 and 1000 Euro. Usually, the price of most contemporary Yixing teapots are dependant on such factors such as age, clay, artist, style and production methods. There are some teapots that are even more expensive but these ones are so precious that they are put in special area of the shop or under seal and are only shown to connoisseurs. I’ve decided to enquire a little more about good quality Yixing Teapots that I’m intending to offer on Fudao. But for the moment, I’ve bgeen learning a lot about this fascinating culture which although has something to do with tea is not necessary going hand in hand. There are some people collecting Yixing Teapots having no clue about tea and also the other way around. On my hand, I’m just starting to learn about it and it’s probgably the beginning of a long process.

So what I learned about Yixing clay teapots is that first of all they are made from Yixing clay from the region of the town of Yixing and is dating back to the 15th century.

Secondly, when judging the quality of Yíxīng teapots the following can be done:

1. Tap the pots lightly together: the ceramic should make a distinctly metallic sound.
2. Look at the fit of the lid into the pot, it should be flush and appear seamless.
3. Fill the pot with water, place the lid on, and begin pouring the water. it should pour smoothly
4. While pouring, place your finger over the hole on the lid, this action should stop the flow of water immediately and completely if the lid is well fitted.

Yixing teapots are meant for use with black and oolong teas, as well as aged pǔ’ěr tea. They can also be used for green or white tea, but the water must be allowed to cool to around 85 degrees Celsius before pouring the water into the pot. With “Zisha” (a purple-sand clay found only in Yixing) teapots, a tiny amount of tea is absorbed into the pot during brewing. After prolonged use, the pot will develop a coating that retains the flavor and color of the tea. It is for this reason that soap should not be used to clean Yixing teapots. Instead, it should be rinsed with fresh water and allowed to air-dry.

These fine teapots are small by Western standards (about 100ml.) because they are generally designed for a single drinker. Originally, the Chinese would pour the tea from the spout directly into their mouths. It was not until the teapots were exported to the West that people started to use them in conjunction with a teacup.

So I hope that gave you a clear intruduction of Yixing Teapot and look forward to your comments and suggestions.

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