Yixing HuntTuesday, March 20th, 2012
Sarah and I drink a lot of roasted oolong tea, and we're starting to think we should find a yixing clay teapot to devote to the category. Tea wisdom suggests that brewing the same kind of tea in a clay pot time after time will help bring out aspects of the tea that you don't get brewing in a gaiwan (our preferred method at home). These pots are an investment: they are expensive, and need to be seasoned — a well-used pot is far better than a new pot. Some yixing pots are generations old. Some are Chinese national treasures.
The real difficulty is finding the right one. Shiuwen at Floating Leaves Tea tells us that different pots are suited to different teas. This is due to the shape and size of the pot, and the type of clay used to make it. Furthermore, whenever you devote time to something, you get pickier about everything associated with it. For us, tea is an important part of our lives — most our coffee table is occupied by a lovely tea tray my parents brought back from China as a wedding present. It is not a trivial decision.
We have been looking at pots, and compiling in our heads a list of requirements. The handle should be fairly normal. It shouldn't have undue ornamentation. It shouldn't be too squat. It should be either a classic red, or a dull green-tan color. The spout should be just so. Either we'll find a teapot that meets our standards, or we'll get tired of waiting and get something close.