How to choose a yi xing teapot 1

18 Jul
ceramic teapotLet’s go on to talk about teapot, let me just say that most seasoned tea drinkers have at least 3 or 4 yi xing teapotsof different shapes and sizes. I am not saying you need a few teapots to be a serious tea drinker. It’s just that in order to make the best out of your tea leaves in different settings, you need to use different teapots.
Getting back to the topic, let’s first talk about size. Teapots come in sizes/volume from 1 gongfu teacup to about 1 liter. The ones used to make

small yixing teapot

Chinese tea typically aren’t bigger than 500mL, like the ones used in Chinese restaurants. Big yi xing teapots of this size usually cannot make very good tea. (There are exceptions when steeping aged fermented tea like Pu’er). In gongfu tea, the right teapot size depends on the number of cups of tea to make in each steep. The yi xing teapot should be just big enough to make the number of cups needed. The reason here is that a teapot too small will not produce enough tea in one steep. A teapot too big will produce more tea than you need, which results in waste if you pour the excess away or you "destroy" your tea leaves by oversteeping if you leave the excess in the teapot. (In traditional gongfu tea we pour straight from the teapot to the cup, so there is no other pot to collect the tea from the teapot).
Another aspect here is that most tea expand when steeped and take up space, reducing the available water volume. How much the tea expands depends on the type of tea and the amount of tea leaves you use. Tea like Gunpowder and Tie Guan Yin expand more, while dragon well and Pu’erh don’t expand much. If you like to make strong tea, you also need a slightly larger teapot because the more tea you use, the less room there is for water in the teapot. Okay I need some tea now. I’ll be back for Part 2.

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